By Honore Onana Olah, SJ
“A library has just burned.” It is with these words full of sadness that Fr. Jean Luc Enyegué, SJ, Associate Director of the Jesuit Historical Institute in Africa (JHIA), expressed himself at the announcement of the death of the former Jesuit, famous writer, philosopher, Cameroonian historian, Fabien Eboussi Boulaga.
It is indeed last Saturday October 13, 2018, vigil of the canonization of Pope Paul VI and Oscar Romero by Pope Francis that returned to the House of the Father, the one who has just entered to the celestial pantheon of African writers. Fabien Ebousi Boulaga, whom he affectionately loved to introduce himself to the young Jesuits of the province of West Africa, was born on January 17, 1934 in Bafia around 130 km from Yaoundé the capital city of Cameroon. He was a Jesuit priest who belonged to the West Africa Province (AOC) until 1981 before his secularization. He has always loved the Society of Jesus and has written many articles and books. As he used to say, “He remained a Jesuit among the infidels.” The author of Christianity without fetishes and the Muntu in Crisis also had inspired particularly several Jesuits of AOC province on the academic level. The latter have indeed published several books, theses, articles… Many Jesuits will keep a very positive image of him.
A tribute to Prof. Fabien Eboussi Boulaga
Fr. Eugène Goussikindey, SJ, former provincial of AOC, in his book: The Christic Model of Eboussi Boulaga, a critical exhibition and evaluation of an African recapture of Christianity, (p.207) said that: “The mid-seventies had been a turning point in Eboussi’s life.” According to Fr. Peter Knox, SJ, Dean of the Faculty of theology at Hekima University College, “Eboussi was the one who helped him in his first steps during his research during his thesis in Canada”. Fr. Xavier Akono, SJ, had supported his PhD thesis in Paris from Eboussi on the theme: “De l’hétéronomie à l’autonomie. Reconstruction de la politique et institutions raisonnables. Une analyse à partir de Fabien Eboussi Boulaga et Éric Weil. ” For his part, Fr. Ludovic Lado, SJ, did not hesitate to assert that Eboussi was “an integrated man, an intellectual in the true sense of the term, a species that has become rare in He embodied rigour in thinking in consistency with his own life. The muntu went, long live the muntu”.
For Augustin N’Guessan Koffi, SJ, student in theology, who has met with him several times, Ebousssi has always been this “pilgrim constantly in discussion and in search of the truth”. Let us listen to his whole tribute (in French) to Prof. Fabien Eboussi Eboussi Boulaga, at the microphone of Honoré Onana Olah: