Preprint / Version 1

The Challenge of Interculturality and Contextualisation in Theologising in Africa

Reflections on Missed Opportunities


  • Peter Kanyandago Uganda Martyrs University



Christian theology, Africa, contextualisation, inculturation, interculturality, Evangelii Nuntiandi, Ad Gentes


Conclusion: As a conclusion, we can say that while there are official documents allowing African Churches to contextualise in different areas, there have been few successful implementations of this because of the following reasons. Firstly, despite its openness to contextualisation, the official Church still expresses unease with regard to authentic inculturation. Secondly, the African Church leaders and theologians manifest some fear in assuming their responsibilities. This could be due to the hurts that they have experienced in their cultural identity. It is difficult for somebody who has been hurt in his/her cultural identity to create and be innovative. Thirdly, in Africa Church leaders have not worked together with the theologians and Christians at the grassroots level, as this happened in Latin America, to develop a theology that is relevant. Despite all this and the opportunities that have been missed, the African Church still has a chance to inculturate the gospel.

Author Biography

Peter Kanyandago, Uganda Martyrs University

For more articles by Peter Kanyandago please see IxTheo.


Paul Bekye, “African Traditional Religion in Church Documents”, on

Benedict XV, Maximum Illud, of 30 November 1919

The Code of Canon Law, London: Collins, pp. xi-xv.

James A. Coriden et al., eds., The Code of Canon Law. A text and Commentary, Commissioned by the Canon Law Society of America, New York: Paulist Press, 1885, pp. 370.

Peter Kanyandago, “Competence of Episcopal Conferences in Church Law”, n. d.

Peter Kanyandago, “Ordained and Non-Ordained Ministry in the Local Church”, in Agatha Radoli, ed., How Local Is the Local Church: Small Christian Communities and Church in Eastern Africa, Eldoret: AMECEA Gaba Publications, Spearhead 126-128, 1993, pp. 139-162

Peter Kanyandago, “Un droit particulier pour les Eglises d’Afrique: rêve ou réalité?” (A particular law for the Churches in Africa: a dream or reality) in F. Malolo, A. Ramazani, M. Moerschbacher and L. Santedi, (eds.), Pour une institution des laïcs dans l’Eglise: Africains et Européens en quête de renouveau conciliaire, (For an institution of the laity in the Church: Africans and Europeans in search of conciliar renewal), Paris: L’Harmattan, 2004, pp. 135-159.

Luke G. Millo and Nathanaël Y. Soédé, eds., Doing Theology and Philosophy in the African Context, Frankfurt

am Main: IKO, 2003.

Chris Nwaka Egbulem, “An African Interpretation of Liturgical Inculturation: The Rite Zairois in Michael Downey and Richard Fragomeni, eds., A Promise of Presence, Washington, D.C.: The Pastoral Press, 1992.

Chukwudum Barnabas Okolo, “The African Experience on Christian Values: Dimensions of the Problematic”, on

Paul VI, Evangelii Nuntiandi, in Austin Flannery, ed., Vatican II: More Post Conciliar Documents, Vatican Collection, vol. II, Leominster, Herefords: Fowler Wright Books Ltd., 1982, no. 20.

Pius XII, Evangelii Praecones, of 2 June 1951.

Vatican II, Decree on the Church’s Missionary Activity (Ad Gentes), 7 December 1965, in Austin Flannery, ed., Vatican Council II: The Conciliar and Post Conciliar Documents, Dublin: Dominican Publications, 1977, no. 22.