The Gospel as Good News for African Cultures.

A symposium on the Dialogue between Faith and Culture
in the English and Portuguese speaking Countries of Africa.

Date:16 - 18 February 1998

Place: Catholic University of Eastern Africa, Nairobi, Kenya

The meeting was attended by speakers from the Bishops' Conferences of the member countries of the AECAWA, AMECEA ed IMBISA Regional Episcopal Conferences (i.e: Angola and São Tomé, Eritrea and Ethiopia, Gambia, Liberia and Sierra Leone, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe).

A number of academics and ecclesiastical experts from the Nairobi area, as well as others from Tanzania and Uganda, acted as moderators in discussion groups; invitations were extended to involve not only the many Catholic religious formation communities in the area, but also other Christian communities and the secular universities.

Several representatives of the Kenyan government were invited to take part.

Structure of the Symposium:

- Monday 16 February:after the opening ceremonies and greetings from the various authorities present, His Eminence Cardinal Poupard introduced the Symposium. The keynote speech followed on the theme: The Gospel as Good News for Africa Today. In the afternoon a lecture on the theme: Good News for Africa's Cultural and Religious Traditions. This was followed by a prepared response, and then discussion in smaller groups.

- Tuesday 17 February: in the morning the theme How can the Gospel be heard in the secular culture of Africa's cities?. The afternoon theme What hope does the Church offer the young people of Africa?. After the lectures came the prepared responses and group discussions. Young students performed a dramatized presentation on the enormous cultural changes which surround them.

- Wednesday 18 February:the final theme for discussion during the morning: The Gospel: Good News for All People and for Every People. Following the established pattern, this was followed by a prepared response and discussion in groups. In the afternoon, a "round table discussion" entitled: African Art Expresses Christian Faith, after which a brief opportunity for groups to report to a plenary session about the content of their discussions. The Symposium ended with a Thanksgiving Eucharist.

Aim: The lectures and discussions set out to give rise to further dialogue between African Christians and their cultures, to enable them to affirm with ever growing conviction that it is possible at one and the same time to be 100% Christian and 100% African. As the Second Christian Millennium came to a close, Africa's Christians were challenged to discover what they have to offer the universal Church.