Archives For Africa


In honor of Black History Month, here are the stories of 10 African Saints. North American Christians know too little about the history of Christianity in Africa, so these stories are a great place for us to start learning!

If these saints were alive today, would they have dark skin and be recognized as black people? Perhaps, perhaps not. (See Was St. Augustine Black?)  But regardless these saints were all born in Africa, and played a vital role in the church on this continent.

Here are brief introductions to ten African saints (I use this term loosely to include other prominent women of faith, not just those who have been canonized by the Roman Catholic church) that you should be familiar with. 

The Ugandan Martyrs


Continue Reading…


[easyazon_image align=”left” height=”333″ identifier=”1631491172″ locale=”US” src=”” tag=”douloschristo-20″ width=”218″]TODAY marks the 100th anniversary of Nelson Mandela’s birth…
This new collection of his prison letters has just been released for the occasion…

The Prison Letters
of Nelson Mandela

Compiled and Edited by
Sahm Venter

Hardback: Liveright, 2018
Buy Now:
[ [easyazon_link identifier=”1631491172″ locale=”US” tag=”douloschristo-20″]Amazon[/easyazon_link] ] [ [easyazon_link identifier=”B073HHPZ29″ locale=”US” tag=”douloschristo-20″]Kindle[/easyazon_link] ]  [ [easyazon_link identifier=”B07BGF8NL7″ locale=”US” tag=”douloschristo-20″]Audible[/easyazon_link] ]


NPR interviewed the editor of this collection.

Continue Reading…


[easyazon_image align=”left” height=”333″ identifier=”0802874347″ locale=”US” src=”” tag=”douloschristo-20″ width=”222″]A Unique Gift to World Christianity
A Feature Review of 

Born from Lament:
The Theology and Politics of Hope in Africa

Emmanuel Katongole

Paperback: Eerdmans, 2017
Buy Now:  [ [easyazon_link identifier=”0802874347″ locale=”US” tag=”douloschristo-20″]Amazon[/easyazon_link] ]  
Reviewed by James Matichuk
I first encountered the work of Fr. Emmanuel Katongole in [easyazon_link identifier=”0830834516″ locale=”US” tag=”douloschristo-20″]Reconciling All Things[/easyazon_link] (IVP 2009), a book he co-authored with Chris Rice. That book was a user-friendly guide, discussing the Christian resources for reconciliation, and included an excellent chapter on lament.  This, alongside several other reflections, convinced me of the power and place of lament in Christian Spirituality. Since then, Katongole has written several books reflecting theologically on politics and violence in Africa and ethics.

Continue Reading…


[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”B00MEMMTD8″ cloaking=”default” height=”333″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”” tag=”douloschristo-20″ width=”215″]A Tale of Lost Promise

A Feature Review of 

The Fishermen: A Novel
Chigozie Obioma

Hardback: Little. Brown, 2015
Buy now : [ [easyazon_link asin=”0316338370″ locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”douloschristo-20″ add_to_cart=”default” cloaking=”default” localization=”default” popups=”default”]Amazon[/easyazon_link] ] [ [easyazon_link asin=”B00MEMMTD8″ locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”douloschristo-20″ add_to_cart=”default” cloaking=”default” localization=”default” popups=”default”]Kindle[/easyazon_link] ]
Reviewed by Kristin Williams

I love a book that transports me to another place and that causes me to stretch outside the bounds of my own personal experience.   Chigozie Obioma’s haunting debut, The Fishermen, features characters and experiences that provide a stark contrast with my own life while highlighting the similarities of the human experience. With lyrical language and Biblical imagery, Obioma uses the experiences of one family to weave a story of tragedy and redemption that holds universally applicable truths while also providing specific parallels for his home country of Nigeria.

Continue Reading…


[easyazon_image add_to_cart=”default” align=”left” asin=”1609383281″ cloaking=”default” height=”333″ localization=”default” locale=”US” nofollow=”default” new_window=”default” src=”” tag=”douloschristo-20″ width=”208″]Meeting a Missionary for the First Time
A Review of

Running to the Fire:
An American Missionary Comes of Age in Ethiopia

Tim Bascom

Paperback: U of Iowa Press, 2015
Buy now: [ [easyazon_link asin=”1609383281″ locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”douloschristo-20″ add_to_cart=”default” cloaking=”default” localization=”default” popups=”default”]Amazon[/easyazon_link] ]  [ [easyazon_link asin=”B00UAOBZJ6″ locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”douloschristo-20″ add_to_cart=”default” cloaking=”default” localization=”default” popups=”default”]Kindle[/easyazon_link] ]
Reviewed by Sarah Lyons


I have grown up in an evangelical church. When I tell you this, it will automatically bring to mind a hundred different ideas of what I am like or what I have experienced, even though I have not told you how old I am or what denomination church I attend. Still, a lot of your assumptions will not necessarily be wrong.
For instance, there certainly was a great number of missionaries who passed in and out of my church’s doors. It was common for the sermon to open with a prayer over the next traveling family, often a young mother holding a baby while the father’s hand rested authoritatively on the shoulder of an older brother. I had casual knowledge of at least a dozen families who would later put their feet in places like Thailand or India. And yet, saying this implies that I actually knew a missionary, or at least had a conversation with one—which I didn’t.

Continue Reading…


[easyazon-image align=”left” asin=”0801039940″ locale=”us” height=”333″ src=”” width=”216″ alt=”Susan VanZanten” ]A Call to Christian Cosmopolitanism

A Feature Review of

Reading a Different Story: A Christian Scholar’s Journey from America to Africa

Susan VanZanten

Paperback: Baker Academic, 2013
Buy now: [ [easyazon-link asin=”0801039940″ locale=”us”]Amazon[/easyazon-link] ]  [ [easyazon-link asin=”B00HAJWSDQ” locale=”us”]Kindle[/easyazon-link] ]


Reviewed by Tim Høiland


There has been much talk in recent decades about the shift in the center of gravity in global Christianity from the west and the north to the south and the east, and books like The Next Christendom by Baylor historian Philip Jenkins have brought the conversation to a popular level. Indeed, the numbers are indisputable. While churches in much of Europe and North America have seen declining and stagnating attendance levels, respectively, the pattern does not hold elsewhere in the world. Rather, throughout Africa, Asia, and Latin America there has been a remarkable degree of Christian dynamism and numerical growth, especially in Pentecostal and charismatic churches.

Continue Reading…


Mahi Binebine - Welcome to Paradise: A NovelLook Across Jordan:
The Longing and Dreams of the Least of These

A Review of

Welcome to Paradise: A Novel

Mahi Binebine.

Paperback: Tin House, 2011
Buy now: [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]

Review by Emily Zimbrick-Rogers

Welcome to Paradise, by Moroccan author Mahi Binebine, resembles an African-American slave spiritual—brief, evocative, laden with longing for freedom. Like the singers of “I am a Poor Wayfaring Stranger,” the characters in Welcome to Paradise believe “there’s no sickness, toil nor danger/in that bright world to which [they] go.” Waiting on the Moroccan shore, seven Africans look across the Strait of Gibraltar, a modern-day Jordan, hoping to escape horrors of poverty and violence.

The novel’s present action is simple: six men, a woman and a baby wait for a trafficker to take them across the dozen miles to freedom in a small boat. Like African-American slaves before them, desperation forces them to depend entirely on traffickers for a crossing, which endangers their lives and rips them from everything and everyone they know.

Continue Reading…


A Brief Review of

One Day I Will Write About This Place: A Memoir.
Binyavanga Wainaina.
Hardback: Graywolf Press, 2011.
Buy now:
[ Amazon – Hardback ]
[ Amazon – Kindle ]

Reviewed by Rebecca Henderson.

The author bio for Binyavanga Wainaina relates his numerous accomplishments recommending him as a preeminent African writer of our time: founding editor of the African literary magazine Kwani?, winner of the 2002 Caine Prize for African Writing, director of the Chinua Achebe Center for African Writers and Artists at Bard College. It only takes a few pages of reading his new memoir, One Day I Will Write About This Place, to see why literary critics love him and why he has become a leader among writers in his region. Wainaina’s skill with words is obvious — he puts them together imaginatively to form intense images of his family memories, to produce the sounds of regional dialects, to paint scenes of Kenya, South Africa, Uganda, and Rwanda that vividly portray the years of his childhood and youth.


A Brief Review of

This Our Exile:
A Spiritual Journey with the
Refugees of East Africa
by James Martin, S.J.
New Paperback edition: Orbis, 2011.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]

Reviewed by Laretta Benjamin.

How high and long and wide and deep is the Kingdom of God!  Most of us need to be reminded of that from time to time, especially those of us within Western culture.  This book is not only a powerful reminder of all the ways God is at work in God’s world, but it is also a reminder of our connectedness with brothers and sisters in so many places.  This is a wonderful, easy-to-read, “don’t want to put it down” kind of book.  The author is a great storyteller and quickly draws us in to the places and lives he is sharing with us.

James Martin, the author and a Jesuit Priest, was sent to Kenya to spend two years (1992 – 1994) working with East African refugees as part of the Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS), a Catholic Relief organization.  His focus was to help the refugees begin small businesses in order to help provide a way for them to make a living and enable them to at least have a start at putting their lives back together.  This two-year experience was to be part of his training as a Jesuit.  This book is a wonderfully written story of those years – the building of relationships and the sharing of life with people in a reality very different from our own.  In the author’s own words:

Continue Reading…


A Review of

The Sacrifice of Africa:
A Political Theology for Africa
Emmanuel Katongole.
Paperback: Eerdmans, 2011.
Buy now: [ Amazon ]

Reviewed by Chris Smith.

One of my most memorable experiences of the last year was the opportunity I had to spend a week at the Summer Institute at Duke Divinity School, hosted by the Center for Reconciliation there.  Some of my best memories from that week involve hearing stories of unfathomable faith and courage told by church leaders from the Great Lakes region of central Africa.  Emmanuel Katongole, professor of theology and world Christianity at Duke and Roman Catholic priest of the Kampala archdiocese in Uganda, was one of these African leaders, whose lecture was one of the highlights of the Institute.

I had been familiar with Katongole’s work for a couple years, particularly his narration of the genocide in Rwanda, Mirror to the Church, which I reviewed here in 2009.  I was therefore delighted to see that he recently published a new theological reflection on the African context, The Sacrifice of Africa, in which he probes the meaning of recent African stories of Christian faithfulness.  I can see that this book might easily be overlooked by readers who are unfamiliar or unconcerned with African Christianity.  However, to overlook this extraordinary book would be a grave error.  Following in the footsteps of his Duke Divinity School colleagues J. Kameron Carter (author of Race: A Theological Account) and Willie James Jennings (author of The Christian Imagination), Katongole’s work here serves to spur the church to imagine what faithfulness to the Gospel will look like in a post-Western world.  Katongole’s work is therefore of great significance because it reflects on the meaning of those who – in the poignant words of J. Kameron Carter – “have imagined and performed a way of being in the world beyond the pseudotheological containment of whiteness” (Race 378).

Continue Reading…