Where are you Africa?
270 Pages
English
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Where are you Africa?

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Learn more
270 Pages
English

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This is an original and innovative study of mobile phones in Africa from a theological perspective. The First and the Second Special Assemblies for Africa of the Synod of Bishops, held in Rome in 1994 and 2009 respectively, made an urgent appeal to the Church in Africa to employ various media forms of social communications for evangelization and the promotion of justice and peace. Evidently, electronic media are now increasingly used for evangelization across Africa. The proliferation of the mobile phone in Africa is a most welcome development to this end. On the basis of a thorough review of the growing literature on the mobile phone and the cultures it inspires, Goliama highlights the ambivalent nature of mobile cultures for the Roman Catholic Church�s evangelization mission in Africa. He argues not only for the continued merits of face-to-face communication for the Church�s pastoral approach in the African context. He points to how this could be enriched by a creative appropriation of the mobile phone as a tool for theological engagement, in its capacity to shape cultures in ways amenable to the construction of a Cell phone Ecclesiology. Such emergent mobile cultural values include the tendency of mobile users to transcend social divides, to promote social interconnectedness, and to privilege the question �where are you?�. This informed and well articulated exploration of Cell phone Ecclesiology is thus envisaged to aid the Church in Africa to wrestle more effectively with challenges that diminish human life and promote instead qualities that are life-affirming to all categories of people in the Church and society.

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Published 01 December 2010
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EAN13 9789956579037
Language English
Document size 2 MB

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Exrait

Where are you Africa?
Castor M. Goliama
Church and Society in the Mobile Phone Age
“This is a well-written and well-documented study that will help the church to respond
better to its prophetic mission and to be more relevant to the current African milieu.”
Dr Piet Konings, Sociologist of Development,
African Studies Centre, Leiden, The Netherlands
“The author is to be commended for an illuminating discussion of the role of the mobile
phone and the Christian tradition in Africa today. The text captures the uses of the
cell phone and its problems in a remarkable manner, pointing out the interrelationship Africa?between the user, the state, and the religious community.”
Professor Elias Bongmba, Rice University, USA
“This book examines a very important subject that deserves intellectual, academic and
research-based exploration.”
Dr Levi Obijiofor, senior lecturer, School of Journalism and
Communication, University of Queensland, Australia
This is an original and innovative study of mobile phones in Africa from a theological
perspective. The First and the Second Special Assemblies for Africa of the Synod
of Bishops, held in Rome in 1994 and 2009 respectively, made an urgent appeal to
the Church in Africa to employ various media forms of social communications for
evangelization and the promotion of justice and peace. Evidently, electronic media
are now increasingly used for evangelization across Africa. The proliferation of
the mobile phone in Africa is a most welcome development to this end. On the
basis of a thorough review of the growing literature on the mobile phone and the
cultures it inspires, Goliama highlights the ambivalent nature of mobile cultures for
the Roman Catholic Church’s evangelization mission in Africa. He argues not only
for the continued merits of face-to-face communication for the Church’s pastoral
approach in the African context. He points to how this could be enriched by a
creative appropriation of the mobile phone as a tool for theological engagement,
in its capacity to shape cultures in ways amenable to the construction of a Cell
phone Ecclesiology. This informed and well articulated exploration of Cell phone
Ecclesiology is thus envisaged to aid the Church in Africa to wrestle more effectively
with challenges that diminish human life and promote instead qualities that are
lifeaffirming to all categories of people in the Church and society.
Castor Goliama is a diocesan priest of Songea, Tanzania. Currently he pursues
his doctoral studies in Pastoral Theology at the University of Vienna, Austria.
Langaa Research and Publishing
Common Initiative Group
PO Box 902 Mankon
Bamenda
North West Region Castor M. GoliamaCameroon

WHERE ARE YOU AFRICA?
Church and Society in the Mobile Phone Age









Castor M. Goliama
















Langaa Research & Publishing CIG
Mankon, BamendaPublisher:
Langaa RPCIG
Langaa Research & Publishing Common Initiative Group
P.O. Box 902 Mankon
Bamenda
North West Region
Cameroon
Langaagrp@gmail.com
www.langaa-rpcig.net



Distributed outside N. America by African Books Collective
orders@africanbookscollective.com
www.africanbookcollective.com




Distributed in N. America by Michigan State University Press
msupress@msu.edu
www.msupress.msu.edu


ISBN: 9956-578-45-2

© Castor M. Goliama 2011









DISCLAIMER
All views expressed in this publication are those of the author and do
not necessarily reflect the views of Langaa RPCIG.








To my parents Michael (1925-2008) and Dafrosa Goliama Table of Contents

List of Abbreviations...................................................................... ix

Introduction................................................................................ xi
The Mobile Phone and its Emergent Cultures........................... xii
Quest for Mobile Phone Theology in Africa............................. xii
Mobile Cultures, Corruption and the Church in Africa............................. xvi
Chapter Outline........................................................................... xvii

Chapter One
Media or Social Communication in Pre-Mobile Africa....................................... 1
Oral Media............................................................................... 1
Visits........................................................................................ 3
Meetings and Marketplaces...................................................... 4
Talking Drums............................................................................. 5
Print and Electronic Media.......................................................... 6
Ecumenical and Interreligious Dialogue per Radio-call................................ 7
Gospel Music........................................................................... 12
Political Manipulation of Gospel Music........................................ 15
Gospel Music and HIV/AIDS.................................................... 16
African Films with Religious Themes...................................... 18
Hallelujah Films and Ecumenical /
Interreligious Dialogue............................................................... 19

Concluding Remarks....................................................................... 21

Chapter Two
Is the Mobile Phone Liberating Africa?......................................... 23
The Mobile Phone as a Transformative Factor............................................. 23
Mobile Phones and Africa’s Communication ‘Revolution’............................. 25
Mobile Communication “Revolution” and the “Wealth Paradox”................. 27
Mobile Phones and Poverty Alleviation....................................... 30
Optimistic Signs.......................................................................... 31
Mobile Phones as Globalisation: Have the Rules Changed?........................ 34
Sacrifices of the Poor at the Altar of Modernity.............................................. 36
Mobile Phone Mania.............................................................................................. 39
Polarisation between the Rich and the Poor.......................................................... 41
iiiOnline Beggars and Dependency Syndrome.................................................... 42
Feminisation of the Mobile Phone and African Women................................. 44
Amplifying the Voices of Women..................................................................... 45
Which Mobiles are Suitable for African Women?........................................... 47
Engaging Mobiles in Health Issues.................................................................. 48
Globalisation of African Traditional Healers.................................................... 50
Mobiles and Democratisation of Africa........................................................... 51
“Paparazzi-boom” and Empowerment of Whistleblowers......................... 55
Spiritual Undertones of Mobile Communications............................................. 57
Will the Rosary Survive?....................................................................................... 60
The Mobile Phone and the Idolatry of Work..................................................... 60
Faith Communities and Negotiation of Mobile Technologies....................... 61
Negotiation with Telephone by Amish Church.............................................. 62
The ‘Kosher’ Cell-phone in Israel........................................................................ 63

Concluding Remarks......................................................................... 65

Chapter Three
Mobile Cultures and Ubuntu Paradigm of Solidarity...................... 71
Anatomy of Mobile Cultures.................................................... 71
Ubuntu Philosophy of Life....................................................... 73
Ubuntu-enhancing Mobile Cultures............................................ 73
Solidarity in Sharing Mobile Handsets....................................... 74
Crossing Social Divides and Interconnectedness.............................................. 75
The Mobile Question “Where are you.?”............................................... 78
Virtual versus Face-to-face Communication.............................. 80
Youth-empowering Mobile Cultures........................................... 83
Subversion of Women Traditional Gender Roles.......................................... 85
Mobile Reinforcement of Social Integrity.................................. 86
Mutual Empowerment of Migrants and Home Folks.................................. 87
Anti-Ubuntu Mobile Cultures.................................................. 88
When “Absent presence” Overshadows Neighbour........................................ 89
Intrusion of Public Order........................................................ 89
Serving Two Masters at a Time.................................................... 91
Youth now “hanging out” Digitally............................................. 92
African Women: Digitally confined to the “Kitchen”..................................... 94
Mobile Gossip and Intrusion of Private Life.................................................. 95
ivMobile Addiction Tendencies..................................................... 96
Mobile Alibis and Denialist Attitude of African Leaders................................. 96
Uncritical Consumption of Mobile-mediated Products..................................... 99
Utilitarian Mobile Working Cultures............................................. 100
Mobile Cultures and the Millstone of Migration................................................ 102
“Absent Presence” and the Culture of Blame............................. 104
Fragility of Ubuntu Solidarity in Current Africa.......................... 106

Concluding Remarks......................................................................... 108

Chapter Four
Mobile Cultures and Social Justice................................................... 111
Media as “Gifts of God”................................................................. 111
The Concept of Social Justice..................................................... 113
Mobile Cultures and the Demands of Contributive Justice......................... 114
“Digital Divides” and the Demands of Distributive Justice......................... 115
Mobile Work Ethic and Commutative Justice................................................ 116
Demands of Social Justice in Mobile Popular Narratives............................. 118
Fighting Graft by Mobile Theological Discourses in Tanzania.................. 119
Social Justice as Basic Key to True Peace................................ 124
“Domestic Justice” in African Church:
Charity does not begin Abroad................................................. 126

Concluding Remarks...................................................................... 127

Chapter Five
Reimagining Church Community in the Mobile Age...................... 131
The Mobile Phone and the Blurring of Religious Frontiers................................... 131
Virtual Communications vis-à-vis Ecclesial Community...................................... 132
“Do it yourself” Spirituality............................................................... 133
“Yes” to Jesus, “No” to the Church............................................... 135
Virtual Internet Christian Communities......................................... 135
High-tech Remote Participation in Worship.................................... 136
Virtual /Face-to-face Communication and Church as God’s Family................ 138
Face-to-face Interaction in Ecclesial Communities............................................... 141
vFace-to-face Ecclesial Communities and Christian Witness......................... 142
Face-to-face Ecclesial Communities
versus Dangers of Private Religion.......................................... 143
Church Pastors and the Quest for the Apostolate of Presence..................... 143
Mobile Cultures and Border-transcending Churches...................................... 144
The Gospel of Prosperity and Church-going in Africa............. 146
Quest for Solid Church Structures in Africa............................ 147
Envisioning Church-less African Christianity.......................... 149
Concluding Remarks................................................................. 150

Chapter Six
Mobile Cultures and Pilgrim Status of the Church.......................... 155
Mobile Cultures and Pastoral Care of Migrants........................ 155
Face-to-face Ecclesial Communities and Integration of Migrants............... 158
Endorsement of Migration and Reverse Flow of Mission............................ 160
Migrants as Embodiment of the Pilgrim Church........................ 161
Concluding Remarks................................................................... 163

Chapter Seven
Biblical and Theological Insights into Mobile Cultures.................... 167
Biblical Insights into Mobile Culture........................................ 168
A “Beep” to the Righteous Heavenly Father........................... 168
Psalmists versus African Victims of Corruption...................... 170
The Passion Narrative of Jesus and Post-independence Africa................... 172
Mountains for Mobile Technologies versus the
Mountain of the Lord.......................................................................................... 174
Mountains as Symbol of Radical Transformation in Jesus Christ................. 176
Quest for “Perpetual Contact” with God.................................... 178
Theological Insights into Mobile Cultures................................... 180
What has Christianity to do with the Mobile Phone?................ 180
The Holy Trinity as Paradigm of Human Relationships............ 182
‘Imago Dei’ as Paradigm for Crossing Divides in Society............................. 183
The Incarnation and the Crossing of the Divine-Human Divide............... 187
The Incarnate Jesus Christ as the Border-crosser par Excellence.................. 188
The Incarnation and Social Mobility......................................... 190
The Incarnation and the Quest for Integrative
Church Communities............................................................................................ 190
The “Visio Dei”: Overcoming Parochialism and Provincialism................. 191
vi
Concluding Remarks....................................................................... 193

Chapter Eight
“Where Are You?” The Mobile Question and
Its Implications in Africa............................................................................................... 195
“Where are you?” as God’s First Question to Humanity........................... 195
“Where are your?” as Challenge to Respect Human Dignity..................... 196
“Where are you?” as a Call to Conversion....................................................... 197
“Where are you?” as Mandate for Environmental Stewardship................ 198
“Where are you Africa?” and Africa’s Enigmatic Christianity.................... 200
Against Compromising the Prophetic Voice............................ 202

Chapter Nine
Looking towards the Future............................................................ 207
Need for Meaningful Church-State Dialogue........................... 211
Dulles’ Model of Dialogue with Christian Politicians................. 213
Quest for Listening Leaders..................................................... 214

Selected Bibliography..................................................................... 221





viiviiiList of Abbreviations

EIA Ecclesia in Africa
GS Gaudium et Spes
AMECEA Association of Member Episcopal Conferences of Eastern
Africa
Et al. Et alii, et aliae, et alia, and others
HIV Human Immunodeficiency Virus
ITC International Theological Commission
AIDS Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome
SCC Small Christian Community
CSDC Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church
TBS Tanzania Bureau of Standards
ICT Information and Communication Technologies
EN Evangelii Nuntiandi

ixx