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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:

Swahili Language and Culture Intensive Course

Swahili Language_CultureSwahili Language and Culture Intensive Course, written by Teguh Ariwibowo SS, and edited by James J. Spillane SJ (Gejayan: Sanata Dharma University Press, 2015), pages 128, ISBN: 978-602-9187-89-2. 

This book is hoped to be the first step in the process of making a preliminary but intensive Swahili course for foreigners available at the St Augustine University of Tanzania (SAUT). At the global level, Swahili has grown fast, and today estimates show that it is spoken by some 120 – 150 million people. In response to the rapid spread of the language over vast territories, top world institutions have adopted Swahili as a major communication channel, with leading world broadcasters having programmes in the language. Hence this course is a good stepping stone for students who want to pursue a professional career in Africa. (Adapted from the preface)

Theological Reimagination

Theological ReimaginationTheological Reimagination: Conversations on Church, Religion, and Society in Africa, edited by Agbonkhianmeghe E. Orobator SJ (Nairobi: Paulines Publications Africa, 2014), 304 pages, ISBN: 9966-08-862-8.

Focusing on church, religion, and society in Africa, this project gathers African theologians in conversation about issues that shape all three institutions. As the title indicates, their conversations pivot on “reimagination,” and the choice is not arbitrary. Imagination relates to the power the mind to undo the confines of the status quo and scale seemingly insurmountable boundaries with boundless creativity and audacity. Applied to theology, reimagination creates alternative worlds of meaning and purpose that embody God’s self-revelation in innovative and creative ways. Theological reimagination depicts the central task of this research project and the commitment of each participant and author. (From the back cover; see also The Church We Want: Foundations, Theology and Mission of the Church in Africa: Conversations on Ecclesiology [Nairobi: Paulines Publications Africa, 2015])

Lexique Terminologique des Sciences de l’Information et de la Communication

Lexique-TerminologiqueLexique Terminologique des Sciences de l’Information et de la Communication, by Fulgence Ratsimbazafy SJ, Roger Bruno Rebenilaina, Jean Claude Andrianaivo, Henri Rahaingoson, Jean Claude Rakotomanana, Jean de Dieu Randrianasolo, and Pierrette Rasoamanandray (Antananarivo: SAMIS-ESIC, 2015), 72 pages.

This book is the result of a collaborative effort by the teaching staff at SAMIS-ESIC (School of Information and Communication Sciences—St. Michel, Antananarivo). Since its inception in 2001, the School has emphasized the use of the Malagasy language in teaching without neglecting the importance of French, which is still the official language of teaching and administration. In 2006, the change of university system into bachelor-master-doctoral programs prompted the school to encourage students to write their dissertations in Malagasy for the bachelor’s degree, and to choose between Malagasy and French for the master’s. A group of teachers and students began to collect and make a list of “terms” (not “words”) in French that are used in the area of information and communication. The work of the authors of this book began in 2012. The book itself consists of French terms used in the world of information and communication, which are translated into the Malagasy language. According to Fulgence Ratsimbazafy SJ, this work is but a beginning, which must be continued, and there is a lot that could be improved upon. As it is, however, the book will be useful not only for the teaching of information and communication, but also for the progress of the Malagasy language and culture. (Reviewed by Dr Jocelyn Rabeson SJ, Chief Librarian, Hekima University College)

Les beatitudes

Okambawa Les beatitudesLes beatitudes: Le medicament pour le bonheurby Wilfrid Kolorunko Okambawa SJ (Dakar: Lux Africæ, 2014), pages 165, ISBN: 979-10-933302-01-0.

Wilfrid Kolorunko Okambawa is not new in the subject of peace and reconciliation. In this book, he presents the beatitudes as “medicine” that is capable of bringing happiness. This image of the beatitudes allows him to highlight the importance of their proper understanding. In the logic of pharmacology, he says, medicine can kill if it is administered badly, but it can also bring relief or complete healing if it is administered properly. It is therefore important to begin with a proper understanding of happiness, noting the paradox of multiple conceptions of the subject even in the New Testament. Moreover, Okambawa reveals the paradoxical nature of happiness according Jesus, which manifests itself in the synthesis of cross and joy. Was it not Jesus himself who, in the beatitudes, linked “happiness” and poverty of spirit or the act of mourning? This book is both Okambawa’s argument that the wisdom of the beatitudes is not readily available to common sense and his contribution to a proper understanding of the “medicine” that we need in order to attain “happiness”, especially in an Africa that thirsts for joy, healing and development. However, this is not just about Africa. Citing Engelbert Mveng’s L’Afrique dans l’Eglise, Okambawa sees the African church, in its poverty and humility (or, was it humiliation?), as having the task of reminding all others the importance—indeed “the challenge”—of the beatitudes. (Reviewed by Dr Festo Mkenda SJ)

Building Social Conscience Through the Continuing Formation of the Laity

Chikwekwete-and-Opongo Building-Social-ConscienceBuilding Social Conscience Through the Continuing Formation of the Laity: Focus on Catholic Professionals, edited by Dadirai Miriam Chikwekwete and Elias Omondi Opongo, S.J. (Harare: African Forum for Catholic Social Teaching, 2015), 123 pages. 

This booklet is based on material presented at conferences that were successively held in Malawi, Kenya, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Most of the articles inform the reader about the history, the form and the level of development of Catholic professional groups in the countries of eastern and southern Africa where the African Forum for Social Teaching (AFRCAST) operates. A few others get into some preliminary discussions about the nature of Catholic Social Teaching and how it can lead practitioners towards making a contribution to social transformation. While it acknowledges with appreciation the role and contribution of some individual Catholic professionals in Church and society, the booklet admits that a lot more could be done by this particularly well-positioned group and even begins to show how this could happen.

Pélérinage Ambohibemasoandro

Ranaivoarson-Chemin-de-Croix-du-Saint-Jacques-BerthieuPélérinage Ambohibemasoandro – Ambiatibe: Le Chemin de Croix du Saint Jacques Berthieu, by Pierre André Ranaivoarson, S.J. (no publication details, c. 2015), 35 pages. 

A small devotional book, printed ad experimentum and designed for pilgrims following the route from Ambolhibemasoandro to Ambiatibe (Madagascar), about twelve kilometres, which Saint Jacques Berthieu passed in the last moments before he was martyred on June 8, 1896. The book is thus aptly sub-titled The Way of the Cross of Saint Jacques Berthieu. The author is the current provincial superior of the Jesuits in Madagascar. He marks fourteen stations along the way, from the saint’s capture at Rasamoelina to his brutal murder at Ambiatibe, and adds a fifteenth station to celebrate the beatification and canonization of Jacques Berthieu. The centre of prayer and reflection at every station is Jesus. A gospel passage is proposed to focus attention on an aspect of Jesus’ own passion, and only at the very end of a station is provided a brief text to indicate how Jacques Berthieu’s own suffering was a concrete way of bearing witness to the love and the consequent passion of Christ.  

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