WOMAN AS MOTHER AND WIFE IN AFRICA
from: joachim omolo ouko
News Dispatch with Father Omolo Beste
TUESDAY, JULY 8, 2014
Woman as Mother and Wife in the African Context of the Family in the Light of John Paul II’s Anthropological and Theological Foundation: The Case reflected within the Bantu and Nilotic Tribes of Kenya is a book written by Rev Fr Joseph Okech Adhunga, a member of the Apostles of Jesus Missionaries.
This study examines the theological and anthropological foundations of the understanding of the dignity and vocation of woman as a mother and wife, gifts given by God that expresses the riches of the African concept of family.
There are two approaches to inculturation theology in Africa, namely, that which attempts to construct African theology by starting from the biblical ecclesial teachings and find from them what features of African culture are relevant to the Christian theological and anthropological values, and the other one which takes the African cultural background as the point of departure.
The first section examines the cultural concept of woman as a mother and wife in the African context of the family, focusing mainly on the Bantu and Nilotic tribes of Kenya. This presentation examines African creation myths, oral stories, some key concepts, namely life, family, clan and community, the views of African theologians and bishops, focusing mainly on the “the Church as Family.”
The second section examines the theological anthropology of John Paul II focusing mainly on his Theology of the Body and Mulieris Dignitatem. The third section presents the theology of inculturation, examines the African theological anthropological values and compares the Pope’s teachings in understanding the woman as mother and wife within the African family and draws a conclusion and a synthesis.
According to John Paul II, the dignity and vocation of woman is “something more universal, based on the very fact of her being a woman within all the interpersonal relationships, which, in the most varied ways, shape society and structure the interaction between all persons,” (Mulieris Dignitatem no. 29).
This “concerns each and every woman, independent of the cultural context in which she lives and independently of her spiritual, psychological and physical characteristics, as for example, age, education, health, work, and whether she is married or single,” (Mulieris Dignitatem, no. 29).
The theology of inculturation as presented in this dissertation opens the way for the integration of the theological anthropological teachings of John Paul II in understanding African woman as mother and wife.
The book can be bought online at $51.80
EQUAL DIGNITY OF WIVES AND HUSBANDS IN AFRICA
From: joachim omolo ouko
News Dispatch with Father Omolo Beste
TUESDAY, JULY 8, 2014
Clare from Nairobi writes: “Fr Beste it looks this book by Fr Joseph Okech Adhunga is a nice piece to read. Is there anyway it will reach bookshops in Kenya very soon because many of us in the villages do not understand buying a book online.
Secondly, can you compare this book with the new document signed November 19, 2011 by Pope Benedict XVI during a visit to Benin on the equal dignity of women with men? I also read the piece written by Dr Margaret Ogolla and found it nice too.”
Thank you for the question Clare. I am not sure whether Fr Okech’s book will reach Kenya bookshops any soon. Here is his email you can write to him directly to answer the question- firstname.lastname@example.org I have also not read the book other than abstract so I can’t say whether it captures Pope Benedict’s document.
Pope Benedict’s equal dignity of women with men new document was signed November 19, 2011 during his visit to West African nation of Benin and I managed to run the story on my news blog shortly he signed it.
The Pope emphasized the fact that recognition of the God-given dignity of both women and men in Africa ought to influence the lives of married couples and their families in important ways, urging husbands in today’s Africa to express love and respect for their wives.
The Pope wants men to realize that their witness to the “dignity of every human person will serve as an effective antidote to traditional practices that are contrary to the Gospel and oppressive to women in particular.”
Husbands he says in the document should not be afraid “to demonstrate tangibly that there is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for those one loves, that is to say, first and foremost, for one’s wife and children.
The new document acknowledges the progress made in some African nations “toward the advancement of women and their education.” But “it remains the case,” Pope Benedict writes, “that overall, women’s dignity and rights, as well as their essential contribution to the family and to society, have not been fully acknowledged or appreciated.”
This papal document, known as an apostolic exhortation, is titled “The Commitment of Africa.” It presents the pope’s reflections on the recommendations made to him by the Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops held in Rome during October 2009.
Due to the wide range of concerns addressed in the synod recommendations, the apostolic exhortation’s scope is necessarily broad. It devotes attention to matters as diverse as governmental neglect and violence, education, poverty and social justice, the necessity of interreligious dialogue, the plight of migrants, abuses of the environment and the church’s sacramental life.
The 2009 synod condemned “all acts of violence against women,” such as “the battering of wives, the disinheritance of daughters, the oppression of widows in the name of tradition, forced marriages, female genital mutilation, trafficking in women” and “other abuses such as sex slavery and sex tourism.”
Women’s contributions, “not only in the home as wife and mother, but also in the social sphere, should be more generally acknowledged and promoted and also giving women opportunities to make their voice heard and to express their talents through initiatives that reinforce their worth, their self-esteem and their uniqueness would enable them to occupy a place in society equal to that of men — without confusing or conflating the specific character of each — since both men and women are the ‘image’ of the Creator.”
I also managed to read Dr Margaret Ogola’s piece on dignity of the African woman as well. This actually is not a book but her keynote address to women empowerment symposium in Beijing for the Fourth World Women’s Conference.
Her emphasis was based on the fact that the woman is the heart of the family, and the family is the corner stone of society. Conflict between men and women is therefore unnecessary because a woman brings an equal and powerful complementarity to the common human condition.
Equality she said must not be seen to deny anyone of their rightful due. Indeed equality would be self defeating if it were based on injustice. Injustice cannot be corrected by another injustice. This is particularly on widows.
In Africa, parenting challenges are still facing widows. Widows bringing up a baby have to play the role of both mother and father. In such a situation, the personalities of the individuals and also the circumstances in which the child is being brought up affect the upbringing and also the smooth functioning of the house.
Most of the time, a widowed mother not only has to deal with the challenge of raising a child all on her own, but also has to cope with the loss of a spouse. There is always someone to turn to in a two-parent family but for widowed mothers, this option does not exist.
Dealing with the loneliness is one the most challenging problems faced by widowed mothers. There is always the prospect of the mother finding someone new to share her life with but this happens only rarely. The inheritances are there only to exploit the women, mainly for cheap sex. They don’t even take care of the children they produce with these poor women.
Fr Joachim Omolo Ouko, AJ
Tel +254 7350 14559/+254 722 623 578