(Apostolic Vicar of Windhoek, South Africa)
I am going to speak on inculturation as mentioned in the Instrumentum Laboris, no. 49 and no. 50, and I am going to speak in my own name as coming from the Church in Namibia.
Africans are grateful for the Gospel of Jesus Christ that has been brought to Africa by missionaries from Europe. Our people embraced Christ and his Gospel, but this Christ has been presented to our people in a way that alienated them from their culture. Now they want the Christ who helps them to discover their own African personality. Today "contextual theology" plays a very important role in the life of christians. cOntextual theology speaks about Christ in a way that the people feel themselves that their problems are addressed. A true contextual theology must of necessity be an incultured one.
Yes, our Namibian African people have accepted Christ. But this Christ walks too much among them in a European garment. People have made some progress in Africanising the liturgy in certain places and parishes. But this kind of inculturation must be carried deeper than just music, drums and clapping of hands. It must be based on a sound foundation of an inculturated theology - African theology -, a theology which will take into account the religious African people.
I firmly believe that the commandment of Jesus Christ which says: Love one another as I have loved you (Jn. 13,34) can be lived in an African way, that is:
- the way Africans perceive family
Based on this African heritage, inculturated theology will bring to the fore the African pastoral theology. So inculturation should be taken very seriously if the Church is to continue to exist in my country.
Ancestor Veneration or Cult or Honour
The question of ancestor cult should be taken very seriously. Ancestor cult plays a very important role in the life of my people. Everything in life is connected with the ancestors. Birth or a child, sickness, luck, fortune, wealth, marriage, recreation, etc. In all these the intervention of the ancestors is invoked.
African Christians should be allowed to venerate their ancestors freely and openly, as part of their Christianlife, so that they may be authentically Christian and authentically African.