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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:

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.

Economic Behaviour As If Others Too Had Interests

economicbehaviourEconomic Behaviour As If Others Too Had Interests, by Raymond Chegedua Tangonyire SJ and Lawrence Kyaligonza Achal SJ (Bamenda, Cameroon: Langaa Research & Publishing, 2012), xii + 222 pages.

The authors argue for what they call "education for altruistic egoism", since we are going to remain egoists anyway. This, they say, is the vaccine against the kind of selfishness that allows those able to dominate the competition to go about their activities as if others (humans and non-humans alike) did not matter or did not have interests. They indicate that, instead of decreasing, this malignant selfishness worsens as one moves from elementary to modern economic systems, which unavoidably leads to collapse. "Despite all the achievements in science and technology, there are still poor people in the world and environmental cataclysms have become daily occurrences. This is because the would-be agents of development, such as Multinational Corporations and states, are largely motivated by selfishness. Unfortunately, poor economies pursue development using borrowed models formulated for selfish reasons" (from the back cover). Commenting on the book, Dr Piet Konings of the African Studies Centre, Leiden, says: "The complicated link between human economic behaviour and ethics is compellingly and accessibly illustrated." Prof Aloysius Ajab Amin of the College of Social Sciences, KIMEP, Kazakhstan, says that "the authors demonstrate the motivation of human behaviour responsible for our current problems, and send the mind hunting for novel solutions."

Comme l'Or Qu'on Affine

CommelOrQuonAffineComme l'Or Qu'on Affine: Florilèges et Perspectives à l'Occasion du Jubilee d'Or de la Province d'Afrique Centrale de la Compagnie de Jésus, edited by Anicet N'Teba Mbengi SJ, Paulin Manwelo SJ, and Jan Evers SJ (Kinshasa, DRC: Editions Loyola, 2012), 400 pages, richly illustrated in colour.

A thick volume of contributions from several people, published to mark the 50th anniversary of the Jesuit Province of Central Africa (currently covering the Democratic Republic of the Congo [DRC] and Angola). In various segments, the volume traces the historical presence of Jesuits in Angola, DRC, Rwanda and Burundi. It also details the various works currently performed by Jesuits and their collaborators in the Province. The last part contains testimonies from some people who have known the Jesuits of Central Africa over the years as well as profiles of prominent persons in the history of the Province. Commending this publication initiative, Fr Adolfo Nicholás SJ, Superior General of the Jesuits, says the book demonstrates that, "the multiplicity and variety of works and other apostolic initiatives undertaken during these 50 years are signs of a visible and palpable Jesuit presence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo" (p. 9, our translation).

Understanding the Catholic Faith

understanding catholic faithUnderstanding the Catholic Faith: A Handbook for Students, by Ugo Nweke SJ (Abuja: Max Media Ltd., 2012), 200 pages, with pictures and illustrations in colour.

This book is a completely new way of presenting the Catholic faith to young people. It is, literally, "a relevant text for peer ministers of secondary school age" who "wish to share their faith with their fellow students." Presenting in a clear outline what the Church teaches and does, and touching on the Creed, the liturgy, the sacraments, personal and social responsibility as well as on the practice of prayer, the book finds a dignified place in the long "catechism" tradition of the Church where Jesuits have always played a prominent role. More importantly, Fr Nweke has presented the text in a manner that will certainly capture his intended audience. He has accompanied it with colourful pictures whose message is so naturally obvious that he could have left out the captions without losing a detail. "This book will make a great positive impact on the spiritual formation of our young students," said John Cardinal Onaiyekan, the Archbishop of Abuja, Nigeria.

On the Journey to Priesthood

onthejourneytopriesthoodOn the Journey to Priesthood: The Quest of a Young Man for Priesthood and the Sincere Responses of a Priest He Confides in on His Journey, by Sister Carol Reed MMS and Joseph Thomas Mboya SJ (Addis Abbaba: ECS Printing, 2012), 109 pages.

This book kills two birds with one stone, says Abba Musie' Ghebreghiorghis, the Eparch of Emdibir, Ethiopia. It is a manual designed to help Ethiopian aspirants to the priesthood and religious life deepen their reflection on their vocation at the same time as they improve their mastery of the English language. Written to address a specific need in a specific context, the book is largely enriched by the fact that one author is an expert English teacher and the other is himself a candidate to the priesthood. They present their material in the form of letters exchanged between Endale, an aspirant, and Abba Michael, his parish priest. The questions raised by the hypothetical seminarian are actually real, and the responses of the constructed parish priest are serious attempts to answer real life questions raised today by young people in the context of their vocations. Abba TsegayeKenini, who comments on the book, thinks that "the content itself is going to be a good help for young Ethiopian priests."


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