From December 2018 to January 2019, Doctoral Student Affiliate David Eliaona Lyimo (theology) traveled to Tanzania on a Kellogg Institute Graduate Research Grant to conduct research for his project, “The African Quest for Christ: Reimagining and Reconstructing African Christology.” Upon his return, he sent the following summary of his work.
Through a Kellogg Graduate Research Grant that I received on November 2018, I traveled to Tabora, Tanzania for a second visit to conduct my research on my dissertation, titled, “The African Quest for Christ: Reimagining and Reconstructing African Christology.” The grant enabled me to engage in graduate research from December 7, 2018 – January 27, 2019. This field research was a second of two visits that I planned, to get the information needed for the completion of my dissertation.
On this visit, I traveled between two rural Catholic Parishes in the Archdiocese of Tabora, Tanzania for purposes of ethnographic observation on operative social and cultural practices, the vantage points through which I evaluate contemporary social, political, religious and economic African worldviews. These areas are important in my Christological research because they do not just determine how Christians respond to their faith in Christ, but they are the actual basis/foundations in the making of the contemporary African Christology.
My visit focused first in observing different forms of catechetical teachings and training in parishes, ranging from weekdays and Sunday homilies, parish seminars, parish pastoral councils, catechism classes, charismatic meetings, and ecumenical programs. Secondly, I attended and observed several political and social development meetings as well as continuous development projects in the villages surrounding these two parishes, including school building projects, farming chores with families, as well as buying and selling at the market. The purpose of these encounters was to observe how all these structures help in forming social principles and personal behaviors for Christians self-knowledge and human development. My dissertation tries to argue that these principles are foundational for faith development and transformation, and they specifically are the determinant factors in constructing contemporary African Christology.
To a far greater extent, my time in both Ulyankulu and Ndala Parishes in Tabora turned out to be very successful, and I was able to get an incredible amount of information for the completion of my dissertation. Moreover, this visit helped me to raise further questions for future researches in this and other areas of religious and social development.