Documentary Video: The Earth Our Home – conservation for integrity of creation


Documentary Video LaunchBy Romaric Bationo, M.Afr

FENZA organised and hosted the launch of the documentary video “The Earth Our Home: conservation for integrity of creation” by Fr Venerato Babaine, the Provincial Delegate of the Missionaries of Africa in Zambia. The event was held at FENZA multipurpose hall on 28th October 2017 from 14:00 to 16:30.

The launch was attended by dozens of people, including Missionaries of Africa, some religious, friends of FENZA and people who heard of the event. Considering the publicity that preceded the launch, and the invitations that were extended to various people and organisations, the attendance was rather below expectation. Among the distinguished guests there were Fr Thomas Banda, the Diocesan Pastoral Coordinator of Lusaka Archdiocese, and Fr Felix Phiri, the Provincial of the Missionaries of Africa in Southern Africa, who was also a keynote speaker.

In his opening speech, Fr Babaine spoke of the events that inspired him to embark in the production of the video. He disclosed that it is a combination of his childhood experience in Uganda, his missionary journeys in many countries of Africa and Europe, and the “cry of the Earth” that led him to the making of the documentary. He also said that he drew inspiration from the recent encyclical of Pope Francis, “Laudato Si”. In his speech, Fr. Babaine explained the purpose of the documentary. He said that the purpose of the video is to show the beauty of nature in Zambia, and to alert people on the devastation of this beautiful countryside due to human activity and lack of care. He said that the exciting thing about the documentary is that it exposed the exemplary efforts of conservation that are undertaken by many people and organisations in parts of Zambia.

Fr Felix Phiri in his address expanded on the place of creation in the Christian faith teaching and tradition. He explained how the integrity of creation has gained attention in the Church’s mission in the last decades and that it cannot be overlooked anymore today. He cited examples of concerns for the earth and creation from other religions. He concluded by commending Fr Babaine for producing the documentary, which he said is timely and would be another contribution to the care of the earth.

The producer of the video, the Catholic Media Services (CMS), was also given an opportunity to address the audience. Speaking on behalf of the director of CMS, Mr Mwamainda said that the CMS was delighted to produce yet another documentary for the Catholic pastoral work. Helping the Catholic Church, and pastoral workers to evangelise through the media, he said, is their vocation; and they are looking forward to being called upon for more such endeavours.

After these speeches, the video was ceremoniously launched; and the audience could view the documentary. This was followed by a short discussion. Most contributors welcomed the video and recommended it to be used in gatherings, schools and various forums as a tool to promote the care for creation. One intervener suggested that the content of the video to be put on other media such as YouTube for a wider reach.

It was another interesting event at FENZA, attended by concerned and supportive friends of the earth. “The Earth Our Home” is a short and easy-to-watch movie which combines a show of the beautiful nature in Zambia, a public education on the environment and a presentation of laudable works of conservation, which aims to inspire people to care for the earth, our home.

The DVD is available for purchase at FENZA and at the Missionaries of Africa Provincial House, for K50.

Venerato Babaine, M.Afr, DVD Producer – November 01, 2017.

Learning a New Language


thierry-jawiyambe-uyirwoth-2016_jpegBy Thierry Uyirwoth, Stagiaire at St. Lawrence, Lusaka

I struggled to improve my English and learn few words in Chibemba at my novitiate in Kasama last year. Now, I have just completed ten weeks of Chichewa or Chinyanja, as it is called in Zambia. I am very happy as I am building a foundation for my future missionary life. As Frank Smith said: “the limits of my language are the limits of my world”. Ludwig Wittgenstein also said: “A different language is a different vision of life.” By learning new languages, I feel that I am opening myself to the world. It is really a special gift that I am receiving from the Society of the Missionary of Africa.

In return, I do my best in learning new languages. As a group, we started after a session offered by FENZA called “Welcome to Zambia” which gives a general view of Zambia. It took me some courage and conviction but I am able now to speak some basic Chichewa/Chinyanja.

I am overwhelmed with joy when I interact with people. They are happy to see that I am putting efforts to learn their language with enthusiasm. I feel challenged when I see people like me who have learnt and speak a foreign language. Soon, I will be fluent in Chichewa/Chinyanja.

learning-a-new-language-03We had a nice group of students. We were united in the struggle and work together. We found means of supporting each other. As a Chichewa/Chinyanja proverb says, “Mutu umodzi susenza denga”, meaning “one head does not carry a roof”. Hence, we were motivated to work together. This spirit of togetherness helped me a lot to go ahead. We were really a family though coming from different countries such as the USA, DRCongo, Kenya, South Korea, India, Ireland and Togo.

Of course, it has not been always easy. At times, I was discouraged as I could not see much progress. Perseverance is the key. As we were saying, “pang’ono pang’ono ndi mtolo”. This proverb was for us a motto. Literally, it means; ‘a bundle of firewood grows gradually.’ In other words: ‘gradual and persistent attempts reach their objective’. That proverb helped me by concentrating my efforts.

Most missionaries I have encountered have been telling me that knowing languages is the key for a fruitful mission. Therefore, I am putting all my efforts in view of enjoying the mission. Today, I can agree with them, when you know the language, you find yourself part of the people to whom you are sent. It is really a nice experience. After learning the structure and grammar of Chichewa/Chinyanja, we now have to go into the field and practice. May God help us always to give our best in the mission which we have been entrusted.

Thanks be to God for giving us this opportunity through the Society of Missionary of Africa. A special word of thanks to FENZA community for their hospitality, to the teachers, all the students, especially my fellow stagiaires; Chandan Nayak, Emile Baguma and Emmanuel Kopke with whom we had a good time.

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Link: 10th Year of Cinyanja/Cicewa – Cibemba Class in FENZA

10th Year of Cinyanja/Cicewa – Cibemba Class in FENZA


p1140903bToday marks the 10th Graduation ceremony at FENZA. From August 15th till this day, two students spent their efforts learning Cibemba together with ten others who learn Cinyanja/Cichewa. They are from nine different countries; Burkina Faso, Canada, Democratic Republic of Congo, India, Ireland, Kenya, South Korea, Togo and the United States of America.

Songs, plays, dances, power-point presentations, speeches, certificate presentation and food made this 10th Graduation ceremony a great event.

Thanks to all of them and in a special way our stagiaires Emile Baguma, Emmanuel Kokpe, Chandan Nayak and Thierry Levinas. We wish you to improve even more your knowledge of languages and feel at home in your new country Zambia.

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Christianity in the Luangwa Valley, by Bernhard Udelhoven


A Luangwa-cover-JPEGChristianity in the Luangwa Valley, by Bernhard Udelhoven

Where faith and culture meet of don’t meet.

What does the Christian faith offer to people in the remote Luangwa Valley of Zambia? How does it link up, of not link up, with their values, life-experience and knowledge of God and the unseen world?

The first Catholic missionaries opened a mission station in the Luangwa Valley in 1904, but they left the valley barely seven months later. They had found greener pastures elsewhere. Within the next 100 years of evangelisation, the valley had witnessed periods of renewed impetus, but the social, cultural and religious coordinates of people in the valley found only few considerations in the pastoral plans of the established Church. For many pastoral workers, the valley was conceived as a difficult place, backwards, and left behind.

Now people of the valley are themselves asking questions to the Church. The answers given to their questions should be significant for the approach to Christian evangelisation far beyond the valley.

This study into the significant social and religious coordinates of people in the valley was commissioned by the Catholic Diocese of Chipata in search for a contextualised pastoral approach.

FENZA Publications, 252 pages, 2015. (First publication in 2007)

Ifishilano ku Kabende na kwa Sokontwe, by Bernhard Udelhoven


A Ifishilano-cover jpeg

By Bernhard Udelhoven. An history of the Bemba Kabende and Batwa people of Zambia, narrated by elders, chiefs, headwomen and headmen in the Bemba language.

Ukwisa kwa bantu ku Kabende. Ulwendo lwakwa Shichimbanama na Milanshi Chiba. Ubufuma kwa cina Ngulube. Ubufumu bwakwa Kasoma Bangweulu, Kalasa Mukoso, Mulakwa na Mushili Mufway Ku Mimana Ubufumu bwakwa Sokontwe Makumba Ukwisa kwa ma church.

FENZA Publications, 205 pages, 2015. (First publication printed and distributed in 2004)

Ifishilano ku Kabende na kwa Sokontwe, by Bernhard Udelhoven webeStore: https://www.createspace.com/5648786