Pioneer African Theologian Eulogized As a “man who took God seriously, gift to the Church”

A poster announcing the November 28 webinar.

Fr. Bénézet Bujo, one of the pioneer figures of African Theology, who was laid to rest on November 25 has been eulogized as a “man who took God seriously, legend, gift to the Church.”

The native of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and professor emeritus of the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, died on November 9 at the Friborg Cantonal Hospital of the Central European country, where he had been receiving treatment.

In a Tuesday, November 28 webinar, which Paulines Publications Africa, an apostolic ministry of the Pious Society of the Daughters of St. Paul (FSP) in Nairobi, Kenya and the Pan-African Catholic Theology and Pastoral Network (PACTPAN) organized in honor of the late Theologian, various speakers paid glowing tributes to the Congolese Priest.

“Fr. Bujo’s life has been very productive and impactful. With his death, Africa has lost a luminary, a guiding star, a sure guide in this world where it is often very challenging to be both African and Christian,” Fr. Paulinus Odozor said.

Fr. Odozor added, “Professor Bujo was very vast in African traditional realities and very vast in traditional Catholic theology. He spent a good deal of his life trying to make both traditions talk to each other.”


The member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit under the protection of the Immaculate Heart of Mary (Spiritans/Holy Ghost Fathers/CSSp.) further said, “To know Bénézet Bujo is to know a man who took God seriously. For this man to do theology is really to engage in the quest for God and in the quest for God's presence in the world.”

“For him, the principal task of the theologian is to find out what God has said of himself in the various contexts of Africa and to help our people with this knowledge for salvation in this world and in the world to come,” the  Professor of Theology and African Studies at the University of Notre Dame said.

He continued, “A lot will continue to be written about Father Bujo as one of the pioneers of African theological inculturation. Let it never be forgotten that for Bujo, inculturation is a celebration of faith in the God who never leaves any people without gifts.”

“In my brief encounters with Bujo as a person, I was struck especially by his humanity, his kindness, his thoughtfulness, and his caring. These are qualities that are apparent in his many writings as well,” Fr. Odozor said.

The Nigerian Catholic Priest went on to say that the qualities he had highlighted show that for Fr. Bujo, “theology is a vocation which must permeate the life of the one who seeks God.”

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Fr. Bujo, he added, “was one of the most consequential ambassadors for Africa and for what is good about Africa. He was an example of the fidelity of the theologian to the Church. He always had some serious concerns about the trajectory of African theology.”

Fr. Odozor implored, “May God give him a voice in the endless conversations in heaven. And may his soul rest in eternal peace through Christ our Lord.”

Born in 1940 in the province of Ituri in the Northwest of DRC, the late Fr. Bujo was ordained a Priest for the Catholic Diocese of Bunia.

Speaking during the November 28 virtual event, Sr. Millicent Omondi who serves as the Editor of the Nairobi-based Paulines Publications Africa said Fr. Bujo was “a professor, a mentor, a model and a compassionate man.”

“He was always an encouragement to the young African Sisters who are coming up. And his wish was that one day we would grow so well and be able to do the work that our elder Sisters from Europe were doing,” Sr. Omondi said.


The Kenyan-born FSP member continued, “Fr. Bujo said to be passionate for an African man means nothing unless one is passionate for God.”

“I will forever remain with the memories of Bujo in my heart, as a person who loved, who mentored me, who wanted that I really grow up to be the daughter of St. Paul,” she said.

On her part, Sr. Olga Massango who heads the marketing department of Paulines Publications Africa (PPA) said Fr. Bujo was a passionate Priest for God and for African men and women.

“As a theologian, his methodological approach is inspired by St Thomas and is fundamentally biblical and in the form of dial,” The FSP member further said, and added, “For Fr. Bujo, African theology was a theology of encounters that must speak first to the Africans while also being in dialogue with the rest of the world.”

Also Speaking during the November 28 webinar, Sr. Roselyn Wambani said, “Fr. Bujo is and will still remain a blessing, an African legend, and a gift to the African Church.”

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“I remember Fr. Bujo as a man of courage, great humility, simple in his ways. You would sometimes think he's a child or a small boy and he had such an unwavering faith and conviction in his Priestly vocation,” Sr. Wambani said.

The Nairobi-based FSP member added, “In the face of contradictions … amidst betrayals, Fr. Bujo emerged as a no-nonsense figure, resolute in upholding the values he believed in. He embraced the complexities of life, navigating the odds with a courage that inspired all who knew him.”

She further said that Fr. Bujo defended the theology of Africa with a “relentlessness that earned him respect and admiration.”

“He indeed was a true friend and a collaborator in the noble mission of the Daughters of St. Paul, a father in spirit to those who sought his guidance while fostering a sense of community and camaraderie among those he worked with,” the Kenyan Nun said.

Jude Atemanke is a Cameroonian journalist with a passion for Catholic Church communication. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the University of Buea in Cameroon. Currently, Jude serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.