Oblates from France first landed in South Africa on March 19, 1852 after a rough sea travel of four months. Today, 150 years later, Oblates have established and thriving missions in many countries of Africa, serving as Parish priests, administering schools, health clinics, hospitals, orphanages and working in prison ministry.
Missionary Oblates in Sub Saharan Africa are organized in provinces and mission centers. Oblates in Southern Africa work in South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Botswana. In West Africa Oblates have missions in Nigeria, Cameroon and Chad. The Oblates also have a significant presence in Democratic Republic of Congo, Angola and Kenya.
Oblates have had a major presence in South Africa from the beginning. During the Apartheid period, Oblates stood with the people against an unjust system. Denis Hurley OMI, Archbishop emeritus of Durban in South Africa was noted for his efforts to rally Catholics against apartheid.
Oblates in Africa work for social justice – in parishes and through retreat houses. Some Oblates are engaged in primary and tertiary education; others work as chaplains and in media. Oblates promote conflict resolution especially in nations emerging from violent conflicts. The urgency of the HIV/AIDS pandemic has led many Oblate units in Africa to develop programs responding to the crisis. Today, Sub-Saharan Africa is one the fastest growing regions for Oblate membership.
Oblate involvement in Justice & Peace issues is particularly prominent in:
Informational resources about this region include:
Get Your Hands Dirty for Africa is a toolkit developed with the intention of providing leaders with a myriad of possible avenues for educating and mobilizing the Christian community to respond to current needs in Africa. You’ll find sections on Debt and Trade, Child Soldiers, HIV/AIDS and Water with suggestions for activities, prayer and advocacy. (PDF)
Walking With the Peoples of Africa, produced by The Catholic Task Force on Africa, of which AFJN is a long-time member, offers a resource packet that provides information and action suggestions on issues of major importance to Africa today. It accompanies the U.S. Catholic Bishops’ Statement, “A Call to Solidarity with Africa,” and is designed for parishes, social justice groups, high schools, colleges and all those who wish to engage themselves more directly in advocacy for Africa. (PDF)