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bookmark_borderAMERICA/BRAZIL – Qualified missionary animators: course to deepen the history and objectives of the Mission Day, Missionary Month and the Missionary Campaign

Brasilia – The Brazilian Union of Catholic Education and the Pontifical Mission Societies of Brazil are organizing a free, short-term course on the occasion of the 2021 Missionary Campaign. The course is offered by the Catholic University of Brasilia, as part of the “EaD Catholic Hope” project, and provides for the issue of a university certificate. As the note sent to Fides informs, the aim of the course is to present the history, objectives, contents and articulation of Mission Day, Missionary Month and the 2021 Missionary Campaign, in addition to the Pope’s Message and animation material. At the end of this course, the participants will be able to contribute more to the journey of missionary animation of their respective ecclesial communities and to assume greater responsibilities in missionary councils and in the Pontifical Mission Societies.
This year’s missionary campaign in the Brazilian Church has as its theme “Jesus Christ is a mission” and as biblical inspiration from the Acts of the Apostles “We cannot help but speak of what we have seen and heard” . The Pontifical Mission Societies are responsible for organizing the Campaign, which has been been taking place in October since 1972, with the support of the Commission for Missionary Action and Inter-Church Cooperation of the Bishops’ Conference. Since the creation of the project, called “EaD Catholic Hope”, more than ten thousand people from all regions of the country and also from abroad have blessed this opportunity. “The free offer of free courses is linked to the relevant mission of the UBEC Group of serving society through education, as well as representing the institutional commitment to the mission of the Catholic Church,” said Joaquim Alberto, coordinator of UBEC pastoral care, at the head of the project. Father Maurício Jardim, National Director of the PMS, highlights: “The joint work of the PMS with UBEC in the animation of the Missionary Campaign is an important step in the articulation of the Missionary Month, which allows, to a greater extent, the qualification of pastoral workers and of the missionary councils in the preparation and animation of the month of October “. In this journey of preparation for Missionary Month and World Mission Day, the latest issue of the magazine of the PMS of Brazil, SIM, is entirely dedicated to the Missionary Campaign 2021, highlighting the testimonies of the missionaries who are at the forefront in this context. pandemic. This issue of the magazine presents at the beginning a reflection on the history of Mission Sunday, established in 1926 by Pope Pius XI, and celebrated annually on the penultimate Sunday in October. In addition, the materials prepared for the animation of the missionary campaign and the activities of the various Pontifical Mission Societies are presented. Finally, mention is made of Brazil’s contribution to the Universal Solidarity Fund for the support of the missionary Churches.

Link correlati :For more information on the 2021 Missionary Campaign

bookmark_borderThese African animators are saving their native languages using cartoons

Four animations by African creators will air on US platforms

Originally published on Global Voices

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A YouTube screenshot of CMR KIDS TV, a TV channel on YouTube that teaches young Cameroonian children about their culture and history as well as languages such as Ewondo and Dioula.

Disney+ and Cartoon Network, two major US animation platforms, announced last month they will air four productions by African creators. This comes on the heels of similar announcements by streaming giants like Netflix and Youtube Originals, indicating a demand for representation and homegrown narratives among African audiences amidst a global market boom for animated content.

The first new production is “Kizazi Moto” (which means Generation Fire in Swahili), an animated 10-part collection of Afro-futurist anthology films that explores Africa’s future. It will include stories by creators from six African countries.  The second, “Kiya and the Kimoja Heroes” is a pre-school series that centers on a 7-year-old African girl who loves ballet and martial arts. When she and her two best friends put on their magical crystal headbands they become superheroes ready to defend their community. “Kiff,” a 2D-animated comedy from South African creators is about an optimistic squirrel and a laidback bunny. Finally, “Garbage Boy and Trash Can,” Cartoon Network Africa's newest superhero-comedy series is about a boy with imaginary superpowers who fights for justice with his trusty sidekick.

While this representation is a huge victory, many African animators’ quest for representation goes beyond just having characters who look like them. Animation has also become a tool for preserving endangered African languages. Through entertainment, these creators are hoping to use animation as a vehicle for African mythologies, philosophies, rich traditions, cultural expressions, and languages.

Over 300 African languages are endangered

The African continent hosts roughly one-third of the world’s approximately 7,000 living languages. Due to the relentless dominance of international languages such as English and French, native languages are increasingly coming under threat. 

In 2018, UNESCO reported that over 300 African languages are endangered and more than 52 have become extinct.  The report also stated that, if young people are not taught these languages, even more are likely to go extinct. Of the 230 languages around the world that have gone extinct since 1950, 37 were in Africa.

According to an article by Quartz discussing Yakunte — a dying language in Kenya that is now only spoken by seven people, all over 70 years old — African languages are especially vulnerable as governments adopt official languages while discouraging local ones, in hopes of forging a more unified national identity.

Despite its high linguistic diversity, English and French, both International languages, are the predominant official languages for most African states.  Somali, Berber, Wolof, Oromo, Igbo, Swahili, Hausa, Manding, Fulani, and Yoruba are African languages which though spoken by tens of millions of people are considered as local and only a few are official at the national level.

Can African animators change this tide?

African Languages in Animation 

While English is still the dominating language in the global animation market, largely due to Disney’s ubiquity,  Kiswahili has been gaining status as an alternative language for African audiences.

Disney’s 1994 animated feature “The Lion King” is perhaps the most popular Western film featuring Kiswahili according to an article titled “The (Mis)Use of Kiswahili in Western popular culture“ by ThisisAfrica. A Disney spin-off series titled “Lion Guard” (premiered in 2015) has since elevated the status of Kiswahili as the go-to African language in animations.

Since then, African animators have gone on to successfully incorporate Kiswahili into their production dialogue, animated films, or series titles. Some of these include: “Super Sema” — Africa's first children's superhero animated series co-produced by Kenyan Lupita Nyong’o; “Akili & Me“ produced by  Ubongo Kids; and “My Better World.” 

During an interview with, Chris Morgan, founder and creative director of Fundi Films, and the series producer of “My Better World” had this to say:

Despite the scarcity of formal training opportunities, locally-made productions are already starting to take off.  It was important to have real diversity in our characters so that the series could work in different parts of our continent. We reviewed each stage of development with teams in Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya – these same reviewers guided our script-writing process.

Some notable animations teaching African languages

Animation is an effective way to teach young Africans life skills and languages that are often not taught in schools. There are a number of animation shows hoping to fill this gap.

From Western Africa, there is “Bino and Fino“ — an educational children’s cartoon created by Nigerian Animator Adamu Waziri which launched in 2010. The characters — Bino and Fino are a brother and sister who learn African history and culture with Zeena a magical Butterfly. The cartoon is broadcast across 15 countries in English, Twi, Yoruba, German, Dutch, Portuguese, Hausa, Igbo, French, and Swahili and is also available on YouTube. The Anilingo Series by “IyinCreative” is also another animation from Nigeria promoting and preserving the African cultural heritage.

“Ẹbí Fọ́lọ́runṣọ́“ is another animation series that teaches the Yoruba language commonly spoken in Nigeria created by Finland-based, Nigerian born Kayode Oloko. The show campaigns to raise awareness of the culture, tradition, language, and identity of all Yoruba kids from Nigeria  He discussed his initiative and the inspiration in an interview with

In Nigeria today, many parents prefer their offspring to speak the English language over their own native language. It’s a sad reality that future generations could lose their identity and purpose, a heavy price to pay for living in a host country.

From Central Africa, there is CMR KIDS TV, a TV channel on YouTube that teaches young Cameroonian children about their culture and history as well as languages such as Ewondo and Dioula.

In Eastern Africa, Tsehai Loves learning is another animation worthy of note.  The Ethiopian children’s education platform is available in seven local languages and focuses on providing critical information on literacy, health, and social and emotional learning to young children.

In Southen Africa, YouTube features shows such as Zulu Kids songs and Xhosa kids. Unlike other African countries where only one local language is recognized as a national language, South Africa has 11 official languages — 10 of which are indigenous to the country.

As Africa jostles, for a place at the global animation table, it is also on the cusp of becoming the next animation hotspot through ongoing efforts to create an original voice and look. But support and ownership by African governments are still elusive. According to The Association for the Development of Education in Africa (ADEA)

The need for government interventions and support for comics and cartoons becomes necessary since these are strategic media to relate with younger generations in this millennium.

bookmark_borderEUROPE/POLAND – The animators of the PMS are “the hands, heart and mind of the Pope”: the School for missionary animators 2021

Warsaw – 70 people enrolled in the 1st grade of the online School for missionary animators promoted, according to a long tradition, by the National Direction of the Pontifical Mission Societies of Poland. The participants belonged to 33 dioceses, among them there were 5 priests and 6 nuns and many lay people.
The opening Mass, according to the note sent to Agenzia Fides by the National Direction of the PMS, was celebrated in the chapel of the PMS office, presided over by Fr. Maciej Będziński, National Director, who, as a young man, had also participated in this course. During the homily, he recalled that the tradition of the School for missionary animators in Poland goes back almost a quarter of a century: “We still need trained people who are committed to missionary animation”. He then underlined that the PMS are the hands, the mind and the heart of the Pope: “Hands that help with the heart, so that the PMS live the missionary nature of the Church, and with the mind, initiatives and projects must always be in line with the initiatives of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples”. Thanking the participants for their presence, he underlined the importance of missionary animators: “We need your collaboration very much. Christ calls each of you as an animator: catechist, parent, priest or nun”. The first conference, by Fr. Maciej Będzinski, concerned the Pontifical Society for the Propagation of the Faith.
At the end, those who have experience in missionary animation shared their knowledge and the realization of ideas. The Chaplet of Divine Mercy, led by Sister Monika Juszka RMI, national secretary of the Pontifical Society of Missionary Childhood, opened the works of the second part of the day, which saw the intervention of Father Simeon Stacher, OFM, a missionary in Morocco and National Director of the PMS, who shared his vast experience of missionary work. “When opportunities arise to broaden your missionary experience, you should always draw on them. Missions are a great symphony, and all instruments should be used”, he said.
The evening was dedicated to the theme “Youth and Mission”. The guest was Mgr. Tomasz Atłas, National Director in Poland from 2010 to 2020, currently working in the General Secretariat of the Pontifical Society of St. Peter the Apostle, in Rome. “This meeting today is the basis for organizing the animation work for the whole year.
Without a concrete man who lives the spirit of the PMS, there will be no concrete activities”, he underlined. The round table “Youth for the Missions” was dominated by the theme of the involvement of young people in missionary work through missionary voluntary service, which is articulated in different forms, as some experiences of committed young people testified.
The second day of the School opened with the presentation of the team members of the National Direction of the PMS and future projects. Sister Monika Juszka RMI then presented the Pontifical Society of Missionary Childhood, of which she is the national secretary, illustrating its history, activities and available material. Sister Monika also presented the missionary Synod for children scheduled for September 2022. Father Luca Bovio IMC, National Secretary of the Pontifical Missionary Union , then illustrated the nature and purpose of PUM.
Workshops are a permanent feature of the School for Missionary Animators. This year Karolina and Karol Fromont talked about the methods of evangelization. Father Marcin Zaguła, of the Missionaries of Africa, a long-time missionary in Burkina Faso, shared his rich experience. The last moment of the School for missionary animators 2021 was the act of entrusting all the participants and all the missionary animators to Our Lady, and their missionary sending, during the prayer held in the chapel of the Consolata Missionaries, in Kiełpin.

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