He taught at St. Paul’s Kipalapala Senior Seminary in Tanzania before moving to Nairobi, Kenya in 1983 to teach at the then Catholic Higher Institute of Eastern Africa (CHIEA), now CUEA. He served at the institution till June 2018 when “CUEA fraternity” bid him farewell.
One of his many former students, Fr. Richard Rwiza, remembers the late Prof. Nyamiti as a “magisterium.”
“As students, we referred to him as magisterium meaning teaching of the Church,” Fr. Rwiza who is at the helm of CUEA Press told ACI Africa, explaining that “you could not be taught by Nyamiti and fail to understand the teaching of the Church.”
Fr. Rwiza also remembered him as “a humble, committed and dedicated man with a passion for scholarly work.”
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“He was totally committed to the extent that if you met him, you had to be careful because he would randomly ask about Church documents,” Fr. Rwiza recalls, adding that though Prof. Nyamiti has died, he has trained others who can move on with his teachings.
“On one side, we are saying we are missing him but he has given us inspiration on the way of doing Theology,” says Fr. Rwiza and adds, “There should be a continuation of what he did. If we are committed and dedicated in doing African Theology, then we will be promoting and remembering him.”
For the Kenyan-born Professor of Dogmatic Theology at CUEA, Fr. Peter Gichure, Prof. Nyamiti was a “good Catholic who was a bit conservative in his theology.” He was also a great musician and very loyal to the Church.
“He was respected by his students and was a bit strict with them but he always wanted the best out of everybody,” Fr. Gichure says, adding that the late Professor loved to interact with his students.
“Despite his age, he loved being with his students. Whenever we used to go out to department parties to welcome new students he would insist that he must come even if it’s at night; he would take the opportunity to talk to the students about the exploitation and the seriousness in their theological endeavors and to be loyal to the Church,” Fr. Gichure who heads the School of graduate studies in CUEA adds.
Fr. Gichure recognized the late Prof. Nyamiti’s ability to connect all the ministries of theology and bring synergy into them, showing that they are all related.
“Apart from that he was very sick and he struggled to walk, he was very sharp. He was hospitalized but he still remained very strong and he never complained about his sickness,” Fr. Gichure recalls.
“He used to say that I don’t know when the Lord would come for me, but I am ready. He didn’t have any worry about his death,” Fr. Gichure recounts.
“We nicknamed him the ancestor and now he has become a true ancestor,” says Fr. Gichure.
The late Prof. Nyamiti is to be laid to rest at the Priests’ cemetery in his native Archdiocese of Tabora in Tanzania on Thursday, May 21.
Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.