Theologian and gospel musician Reuben Kigame launches new book

This book addresses matters of Christian faith and related issues, equipping the reader with Biblical insights and perspectives.

Evangelists and other Christian leaders join hands in a book dedication prayer during the launch of Essays in African Theology and Christianity, authored by Reuben Kigame. PHOTO/Courtesy.
Evangelists and other Christian leaders join hands in a book dedication prayer during the launch of Essays in African Theology and Christianity, authored by Reuben Kigame. PHOTO/Kigame Media.
  • Apart from his well-known music career, which spans over three decades, Kigame is also a trained teacher, journalist, evangelist, social activist, and a future presidential aspirant.
  • Kigame clarified that Christianity predates colonialism and is not inherently colonial or Western but has been embraced and contextualized by various cultures worldwide, with Africa leading in its consumption.
  • The book explores different doctrines, including that of black origin and white supremacy, in the Bible.

Renowned Kenyan gospel musician and songwriter Reuben Kigame marked a new milestone on Thursday, June 8, 2023, with the launch of his third book, Essays in African Theology and Christianity

The launch, which was held at Christ Is The Answer Ministries (CITAM) Valley Road in Nairobi, brought together scholars, theologians, evangelists, politicians and literary enthusiasts who were eager to learn from Kigame’s insights into the intersection between African culture, theology and Christianity.

Some of the guests who graced the occasion include Jimmy Wanjigi, Chief Justice Emeritus Dr. Willy Mutunga, Prof.Kivutha Kibwana, Prof. James Kombo, members from the Kenya Society for the Blind led by their Executive Director, Samson Waweru, among others.

Apart from his well-known music career, which spans over three decades, the author opened up about his professions: a trained teacher, journalist, evangelist, social activist, and presidential aspirant.

As he shared his motivation, he expressed his ownership of more than one degree, with several other postgraduate honors.

Within the pages

Kigame took the audience through Essays in African Christianity and Theology, delving into theological writing, noting that his desire was to contribute a unique perspective that draws from his experience as an artist and activist.

Participants follow proceedings during the event. PHOTO/Courtesy.
Participants follow proceedings during the event. PHOTO/Kigame Media.

“Christianity is not a Western religion,” is one of his well-thought and researched answers about African Christianity. 

He drew a contrast with the sentiments of Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, who had previously written about the influence of colonialism on African culture and discourse, including the language used in Christian teaching.

Kigame clarified that Christianity predates colonialism and is not inherently colonial or Western but has been embraced and contextualized by various cultures worldwide, with Africa leading in its consumption.

An anthology of essays

The book is a collection of essays seeking to explore the rich tradition of African spirituality and theology and how it can be integrated into modern-day practice. 

Reuben Kigame taking the audience through the contents of his book. PHOTO/Courtesy.
Reuben Kigame taking the audience through the contents of his book. PHOTO/Kigame Media.

Through his work, Kigame seeks to promote a more inclusive and culturally sensitive approach to Christianity, one that recognizes and celebrates the diversity of African cultures and traditions.

“Christianity was in Africa way before the colonial era,” he remarked, explaining to the audience how the Ethiopian eunuch scripted in the Old Testament was actually from modern-day Sudan. 

Today’s Sudan was part of the Nubian Kingdom in the first century, known widely as Ethiopia.

This further explains that Africans were Christians even before the missionaries.

Considering everyone

“I read braille myself, but it’s still quite a challenge,” he opened up in an interview with Scholar Media Africa after the event. 

A few chapters of the book were already available in braille by the time of this launch.

However, the book would be bulky and heavy if the whole of it is converted into braille. The resources aren’t enough to sustain the project too. 

Members from the Kenya Society for the Blind urged the crowd to promote inclusion by offering support to the “dark man”, as they tagged themselves, so that they could read about Kigame’s work and any other literature out there.

The book launch was also an occasion for sharing personal experiences and perspectives beyond theology and Christianity, clarifying issues faced by the blind community.

The Executive Director of the Kenya Society for the Blind, Samson Waweru, who happens to be blind by birth, stressed on drawing a lot of self-inspiration from the author and the motivation he shines on the members of his society.

Members from the Kenya Society for the Blind. At the center is Samson Waweru, Executive Director, Kenya Society for the Blind. PHOTO/Courtesy.
Members from the Kenya Society for the Blind. At the center is Samson Waweru, Executive Director, Kenya Society for the Blind. PHOTO/Kigame Media.

He recalled an act of kindness Kigame did in 2007 when he donated a white cane to a plant mechanic who had gone blind after a used oil spilled on his eyes.

Kigame’s encouragement saw the fellow accept himself. As a fellow blind person, Kigame’s accomplishments as an artist and an author are an inspiration to the community of blind people.

By telling his story and sharing insights and experiences, he has served as a powerful advocate for the cause of blind people promoting greater understanding, awareness and support for visually impaired individuals.

Entirely inspirational

Jimmy Wanjigi, one of the guests who happens to have met Kigame later in life after they were both not considered to vie for the position of the fifth president of Kenya, openly remarked during the event on how he feared losing the court battle but Kigame’s “I win every time I stand” assurance quote kept him going. 

He described Kigame as a man who has defied all odds, not only as a person abled differently but a Christian man who sees politics from a humanity lens.

Jimmy Wanjigi giving his remarks during the launch. PHOTO/Courtesy.
Jimmy Wanjigi giving his remarks during the launch. PHOTO/Kigame Media.

Launching a book and creating accessibility of resources to people from all walks of life is entirely inspirational.

As a philanthropical act, the politician donated KSh.200,000 towards translating the book into Kiswahili and other languages. 

“You (Kigame) can collect the money tomorrow or any day you want, it is there,” he assured the writer. 

Wanjigi clarified that he was fully dedicated to seeing more of his work in African languages and would offer support even though the first copy of the book is written in English.

In his remarks to the presidential aspirant, Chief Justice Emeritus of the Supreme Court of Kenya, Dr. Willy Mutunga, anticipated seeing the great future awaiting Kigame. Wishing him good luck, he stated how the judiciary has since significantly changed and how things are not like they used to be when he was in power.

Dr. Willy Mutunga, former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Kenya, giving his input. PHOTO/Courtesy.
Dr. Willy Mutunga, former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Kenya, giving his input. PHOTO/Kigame Media.

According to him, however, that cannot stop a man like Kigame, who he hopes to see on the ballot in the coming election.

Prof. Kivutha Kibwana, former Governor of Makueni County and the chief guest at the launch, noted that he has already gone through a few chapters of Kigame’s work.

“I am yet to read the whole book, but I’ll certainly bring myself to see it through and even give a review chapter,” he commented concerning the masterpiece.

In his remarks, Prof. Kibwana praised Kigame’s work in trying to decolonize African Christianity.  

Prof. Kivutha Kibwana delivering his speech. PHOTO/Kigame Media.

He particularly praised the chaptering of his works, which explores different doctrines, including that of black origin and white supremacy in the Bible.

He noted that Kigame’s book comes at a time when there is a growing need for clearer African perspectives on theology, given the continent’s rich cultural history, civilization and religion. 

Prof. Kibwana expressed his hope that the book would inspire further dialogue in the decolonization of Africa.

Well-authored

The scholar warned the stakeholders, authorities and Kenyans at large that the first colonization that was pegged on religion came and passed. 

The Global North doesn’t want us to talk about it and persistently brushes it off with a need to move on.

From left: Dr. Mutunga, mr. Kigame, Mrs. Julie Kigame and prof. Kibwana pose for a photo moments after the launch. PHOTO/Courtesy.
From left: Dr. Mutunga, Mr. Kigame, Mrs. Julie Kigame and Prof. Kibwana pose for a photo moments after the launch. PHOTO/Kigame Media.

We should really watch out for the next colonization, which to him, is rolling in terms of global warming and climate change. 

Prof. Kibwana encouraged everybody to be on the lookout as more and more resources are being poured into this agenda, and he really wishes for Africa to reap big this time and compensate for all that was lost through religion.

In essence, Kigame’s message was that Christianity should be celebrated as a global religion that can be adopted into diverse cultural contexts without losing its essential message rather than being seen as a tool of Western imperialism.

The launch of “Essay in African Christianity and Theology” was a resounding success, with attendees lauding Kigame’s writing style, depth of knowledge, and commitment to African Christianity.  

YOU CAN ALSO READ: Language and Research: Jubilation as scholars launch books, dictionary

The book is expected to be a valuable resource to scholars, theologians, and anyone looking to gain a deeper understanding of the intersection of African culture, theology, and Christianity.

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Ms. Loise is a Communication Specialist with a bachelor's degree in Publishing and Media Science from Moi University, Kenya. She is a dedicated web developer and a climate change and environment writer. She also owns diverse skills in social media marketing. Her contact: loiselenser@gmail.com

1 COMMENT

  1. This is a great book. I applaud Reuben Kigame, a fellow scholar in his well-thought research on the controversial issues Christianity, culture and theology, such bravery to enlighten the world about such matters of intensity is commendable.

    I equally recognize his great abilities to analyze to decolonize the vague experience and beliefs we have had on matters religion.

    I can’t wait to own a copy of this great product. Ask Kigame to parcel me a copy.
    👏👏👏

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