Jesuit Historical Institute in Africa (JHIA) - An institute dedicated to preserving memory and promoting historical knowledge in Africa and its adjacent islands

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Recent Publications by Jesuits in Africa

JHIA encourages Jesuit authors (especially those in or from Africa and Madagascar) to donate a copy of their publications to the Institute for preservation. The following books reached JHIA recently:

Ignatian Discernment

ignatiandiscernmentIgnatian Discernment: An African Perpective, by Melchior Marandu SJ (Nairobi: Paulines Publications Africa, 2013), 104 pages. ISBN 9966-08-766-4.

The author identifies two types of discernment within the Ignatian spiritual heritage: discernment of spirits, which seeks to determine the origins of inner movements within us, and discernment of God's will, which helps to determine the best among possible alternatives that lead to the glory of God. Drawing heavily from the Ignatian spirituality and its terminology, the book emphasizes the importance of discernment by portraying Jesus as a constant discerner, then introduces the reader into the basics of the exercise. The author goes beyond the foundational text of the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius of Loyola by putting an accent on communal discernment that might happen in a religious or basic community setting, providing ample theological reasoning on which the practice might be grounded. "Such an application is much needed in today's fragmented world," says Fr Terry Charlton, SJ, in his foreword to the book, adding that it "resonates well in the African context."

L'Apostolat des laics

lapostolatdeslaicsL'Apostolat des laics: Une experience africaine en RépubliqueDémocratique du Congo (Kwilu-Kwango), by Anicet N'Teba Mbengi SJ (Kinshasa: Editions Loyola, 2013), 234 pages, richly interspersed with pictures in color.

This is a seminal work in a much needed systematic study of the historical place of the laity in African Christianity. The author begins with the 16th century missions in the Kongo Kingdom and, gradually progressing to the present church in the Kwilu-Kwango region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, highlights the contributions lay people have made from that moment of Africa's primary evangelization to our own times. The laity supplied lands and provisions for the missionary, built mission stations, collaborated in translating Christian literature into local languages, and actively evangelized in their capacity as catechists at the helm of nascent Christian communities. "Some of our Bishops were baptized by the catechists,"Fr N'Teba Mbengi makes explicit. Such historical detail substantiates the Second Vatican Council's own teaching that the laity occupy a place that is specific to them and are, in fact, bearers of a particular charism (cf. Lumen gentium, nn. 30-38). The rest of the book describes the lay ministry as has been sanctioned by local bishops and practiced in Kwilu-Kwango. The study is concluded by moving testimonies by some who have been active in the ministry, who speak clearly about what has been their positive or negative experience over the years. The characteristically Congolese colorful portraits of lay ministers are a delight to the reading eye.

AIDS, 30 Years Down The Line

aids30yearsdownthelineAIDS, 30 Years Down The Line: Faith-based Reflections About The Epidemic in Africa, edited by Paterne A Mombé SJ, Agbonkhianmeghe E. Orobator SJ, and Danielle Vella (Nairobi: Paulines Publications Africa, 2013), 448 pages, including an index.

Besides a preface, a foreword, and an excellent introduction by the editors, this book contains twenty-nine essays, each approaching the challenge of HIV and AIDS in Africa in a multifaceted way and offering "a wide variety of materials: narrative and pastoral, socio-political and theological, scientific and professional."Theessays are grouped in five parts, namelysetting a framework of novel perspectives,social-economic and cultural viewpoints,human rights and ethical considerations,a burning issue: universal access, and the church in theory and practice. The authors, who are scholars and people with varying degrees of practical experience in dealing with the crisis of AIDS in the last thirty years, display great sensitivity to and a sense of solidarity with people living with HIV. "The authors and editors of this book have rendered a great service to all who are genuinely concerned about this pandemic, not only within, but also beyond the confines of the Catholic Church," says Archbishop John OlorunfemiOnaiyekan of Abuja, Nigeria, in his foreword, adding, "They have confirmed our hope that there is life after HIV."

Practicing Reconciliation, Doing Justice, Building Peace

practicing reconciliationPracticing Reconciliation, Doing Justice, Building Peace: Conversations on Catholic Theological Ethics in Africa, edited by Agbonkhianmeghe E. Orobator, SJ (Nairobi: Paulines Publications Africa, 2013), 135 pages.

A collection of eighteen short essays by scholars and church leaders in Africa, each responding to the question: How must we live as human beings in the world? Each of the contributors attempts an answer from his or her specific location, deepening and expanding the theme and inspiration of the 2009 Second African Synod on Reconciliation, Justice, and Peace. Dr. Laurenti Magesa of Hekima College, Nairobi, describes the book as "a goldmine for practical action towards that goal. It is a useful companion for every politician in contemporary Africa, regardless of ideology or creed. It is especially necessary for all Christian faithful, especially leaders and pastoral workers" (from the back cover).

Jackson Otto Mosha SJ

jacksonottomoshaJackson Otto Mosha SJ: A Life of Love, Hope and Faith, by Raymond Ngaiza SJ and Gustave Lobunda SJ (Nairobi: Paulines Publications Africa, 2013), 294 pages, with several illustrations in black and white.

A biography of a Jesuit scholastic from the province of Eastern Africa, who died of cancer in 2009 at the tender age of twenty-six. It is a moving story of a young man who strove courageously to seek and fulfil God's will in love. Highly gifted intellectually, Jackson also impressed his contemporaries by his radical simplicity, which was expressed in unlimited love. "He believed that the most profound experience in his prayer life was that God is Love and that God was calling him to love." This faith was contagious, charming everyone who encountered Jackson, even in his last moments on earth. Besides testimonies from those who knew him, the book contains a number of Jackson's inspirational poems and excerpts from his spiritual dairy. "I chose humility, prayed for it, liked it, thinking of how humble I can become. But Love, Love is the end; humility is the means. I chose the means, prayed for it, thinking of how I can become the means. I had to choose first Love, then choose the means, humility" (from Jackson's spiritual diary). While facing death, Jackson asked: "If I hate and I do not accept sickness, how can I love my brother and more specifically love and accept the brother who loves me?" Carlos Mureithi, who reviewed the book in a Nairobi daily, asked: "As for the words 'the good die young', they could be true, couldn't they?"

Constitutional Power-Sharing Democracy in Africa

constitutionalpowersharingConstitutional Power-Sharing Democracy in Africa: The Concept of Power-Sharing in the Emergence of Coalition Governments in Africa—A Critical Analysis of Kenya's Case, by Joseph Thomas MboyaOburu SJ (Saarbücken: LAMBERT Academic Publishing, 2012), 134 pages.

A timely book,coming out in a critical transitional moment in Kenya's political history. The author's main thesis is that, in the multi-ethnic nation-states of Africa, power-sharing could be "a step towards debunking the perception that political positions are a gateway to wealth, but rather a platform for development of all regions in a state". He goes on to indicate that, for power-sharing to deliver as he suggests, it would have to be enshrined in credible constitutions and supported by a sense of constitutionalism that can be trusted. Thus, the creation of political grand-coalitions will no longer become a mere gentleman's and gentlewoman's agreement between disgruntled élites who are bent on causing havoc unless they are appeased by a share of the proverbial "national cake". Moreover, the author argues, constitutionally instituted coalitions would come close to traditional African consensual democracy, and even closer to Arend Lijphart's consociational democracy. They will reverse the ills of "winner-takes-all" majoritarian democracy, especially its tendency to reduce losers to a resentful, empty-handed minority whose "turn to eat" has been unfairly pushed forward yet again. The book draws from and directly speaks to the Kenyan political context, although an attempt is made at the end to apply its conclusions to the broader topic of Pan-Africanism.








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