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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

Who is invited?:speakers represent 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, are to act as moderators in discussion groups; it seems appropriate to extend invitations 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 will be invited to take part.

The Apostolic Nuncio and the Archbishop of Nairobi have already pledged their "full support" ( to quote Archbishop Ndingi Mwana'a Nzeki).

Structure of the Symposium:

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

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

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

The CUEA has a very large hall - "Missio Hall" - which can hold up to 600 people, and various other rooms which can take groups of various sizes, and this is all on a campus which is rather pleasant and well equipped. Speakers invited from abroad will stay at the premises of the Dimesse Sisters; the CUEA restaurant will be available for visiting students, and a spacious dining room will be provided for "official" guests.

Aim:The lectures and discussions ought 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 this Christian Millennium comes to a close, Africa's Christians are challenged to discover what they have to offer the universal Church.