Mission Press


                                                                       THE DEMAND  grew greater and greater so that the founding fathers of the Press had to enlarge their range of publications to include books on social education, history and liturgy. One of the last publications catalogue (2006) shows a large spectrum of books in many categories. The main titles, of course, were in theology, including biblical, liturgical, pastoral, devotional and spiritual publications. The second field of publication covers medical, social and historical books.



  Later followed a section of children’s books, mostly fairy tales of African origin, and recreational works such as novels. A short summary of each of these categories may give a clearer picture. Our catechetical section was of great importance for religious education in primary schools throughout Tanzania. Fr. Alkuin Bundschuh OSB started a series of handbooks for catechetical instruction in primary schools. He was later joined by Fr. Leo Van Kessel CSSp and working together they edited a series of seven books for teachers and pupils: Watoto wa Mungu. These have remained the only basic textbooks for religious instruction in primary schools in Tanzania.



  Prior to this major project sponsored by the Tanzanian Episcopal Conference, Fr. Alkuin had introduced catechetical works from Europe which he translated into Swahili, for example, the Herder Catechism of 1954 (Katekisimu ya Kikristu). The 60s and 70s was a very fruitful time for spreading the Good News in primary schools all over Tanzania. Books 1-4 of the Watoto wa Mungu series were even translated into Kenyan vernacular languages like Ateso and Kalenjin. Another division in the theological area was the series Wananchi Wanachambua Teolojia  by African priests writers who explained pastoral themes and parts of canon law. Our zeal for biblical catechesis reached a certain climax in Fr. Alkuin’s dedication in translating the New Testament and the Psalms.



  The Psalms found their way into the Benedictine Breviary and the NT was honoured by being accepted into the new Biblia ya Kiafrika (2010) published by Paulines Publications Africa. After the translation of the NT, Fr. Sebald Hofbeck and other authors of NMP edited short explanations of each of the NT books under the title Tufikirie Enjili ya Marko, Yohane, Matendo ya Mitume na Barua Kwa Wakorinto 1 na 2. This is a work still in progress. Liturgical books include a translation of the pre-Vat II Roman Ritual that was wholeheartedly accepted by the Catholic community.



  A famous liturgical book with songs and several liturgies and rituals, Chuo cha Sala, is still published by NMP. Later under the guidance and editorship of Fr. Thomas Eriyo of the Diocese of Mtwara, two books of original songs were collected for the celebration of the Sunday Mass during the liturgical year: Nyimbo za Liturjia I and II. Our social section has published a lot of books for youth education (Msichana, je? Mvulana je?), the Billing Ovulation Method (BOM) of birth control, justice and peace, a compendium of social teaching of the church, leadership and psychology. In the historical area NMP publishes books on the traditional customs of different ethnic groups of Tanzania (Wamwera, Wazanaki, Wamakua, Wamakonde, Wahehe and others). A new endeavour was to collect the fairy tales of various ethnic groups. This section grew and grew until our funds were exhausted. Young writers could afford to get their books printed because the publishing department of Ndanda Mission Press could advance the printing costs.



In the late 90s this generosity dried up, as the population’s interest in reading was miscalculated. But one of the amazing results was that the University of Mainz in Germany appreciated the publication of the series of fairy tales and Prof. Uta Reuster-Jahn wrote an enthusiastic article entitled “Beyond the Language Issue. The Production, Mediation and Reception of Creative Writing in African languages” in Mainzer Beitraege zur Afrikaforschung, vol.19, 2004. Prof. Uta Reuster-Jahn had read and reviewed over 60 publications of this sort. In this way the works of African writers were more honoured abroad than at home. In the new millennium Ndanda Mission Press is busy doing mostly reprints of religious and liturgical books for the Christian communities of different denominations. Our aim still is to be at the service of Christian communities, maybe in a different way than in the flourishing missionary fervor of its beginning.



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