Where are you Africa?
Church and Society in the Mobile Phone Age
This is an original and innovative study of mobile phones in Africa from a theological perspective. The First and the Second Special Assemblies for Africa of the Synod of Bishops, held in Rome in 1994 and 2009 respectively, made an urgent appeal to the Church in Africa to employ various media forms of social communications for evangelization and the promotion of justice and peace. Evidently, electronic media are now increasingly used for evangelization across Africa. The proliferation of the mobile phone in Africa is a most welcome development to this end. On the basis of a thorough review of the growing literature on the mobile phone and the cultures it inspires, Goliama highlights the ambivalent nature of mobile cultures for the Roman Catholic Church's evangelization mission in Africa. He argues not only for the continued merits of face-to-face communication for the Church's pastoral approach in the African context. He points to how this could be enriched by a creative appropriation of the mobile phone as a tool for theological engagement, in its capacity to shape cultures in ways amenable to the construction of a Cell phone Ecclesiology. Such emergent mobile cultural values include the tendency of mobile users to transcend social divides, to promote social interconnectedness, and to privilege the question 'where are you?'.
This informed and well articulated exploration of Cell phone Ecclesiology is thus envisaged to aid the Church in Africa to wrestle more effectively with challenges that diminish human life and promote instead qualities that are life-affirming to all categories of people in the Church and society.
ISBN 9789956578450 | 268 pages | 229 mm x 152mm | 2010 | Langaa RPCIG, Cameroon | Paperback
“This is a well-written and well-documented study that will help the church to respond better to its prophetic mission and to be more relevant to the current African milieu.”
- Dr Piet Konings, Sociologist of Development, African Studies Centre, Leiden
“The author is to be commended for an illuminating discussion of the role of the mobile phone and the Christian tradition in Africa today. The text captures the uses of the cell phone and its problems in a remarkable manner, pointing out the interrelationship between the user, the state, and the religious community. In navigating these relationships, the author places the cell phone in a wider conversation that includes the quest for justice and respect for human dignity in a global context.”
- Professor Elias Bongmba, Rice University, USA
“This book examines a very important subject that deserves intellectual, academic and research-based exploration. The book is unique because, while there is a plethora of books and articles on the impact of mobile phones on African communities, there is little or nothing on how mobile phones are impacting religious practices in Africa.”
- Dr Levi Obijiofor, School of Journalism and Communication, University of Queensland, Australia