L.I.S.A.: What is your PhD project about and what got you interested in the chosen topic to begin with?
Deogratius Kyanda Kannamwangi: I am working on the topic “A History of the Indegenisation of the Catholic Church in Buganda, 1913 – 2012”. It seeks to chronicle the history of the indigenisation journey of the Catholic Church in Buganda in the period 1913 - 2012. On top it being my area of interest at the Masters’ level, two other reasons got me interested in this area. One was the realization that the Catholic Church in Buganda today is contending with several emerging forces and realities like secularism, conflicts, rise of Catholic-leaning separatist “churches”, rebellions of priests, syncretism and youth preference for charismatic worship. The aggregate of all these dynamics has been a drop in Catholic population. This raised a lot of questions in my mind, as a Catholic and student of history. I was bothered by what the cause could be. Could it be that some Ganda Catholics have not found a “comfortable home” in the mainline Catholic Church environment? And if so, what kind of church would they want, and what steps have been taken since Catholicism reached Buganda in February 1879 (with all its European wrappings) to create this kind of church? I thus got interested in making an audit on how the different Catholic Church concepts and structures have been brought under African control or fitted into an African setting.
Secondly, despite the availability of a large corpus of literature on Catholic Church history in Uganda and Buganda from local and foreign authors, much of this genre of historiography hardly speaks of the theme of “indigenisation”. The few who have touched on the subject have either hinted on it in passing or just given snippets of the concept. This has left the entire concept in the general history of the Catholic Church in Uganda ambivalent and bizarre to most scholars. Based on the two reasons above, I decided to critically trace the history of the theme of indigenisation in the Catholic Church in Buganda from 1913 when the first “black white fathers", Bazilio Lumu and Viktoro Mukasa, were ordained at Villa Maria (Masaka) on June, 23rd 1913 and to examine the extent to which it had been achieved by 2012. It is hoped that this, being the first singular and comprehensive account on the indigenisation of Catholicism in Buganda, will give the Catholic Church leadership in Buganda and Uganda in general, an opportunity to critically look at its policies, practices and institutions as they continue to build a church that speaks to African thoughts and cultures.