In Africa, A New Province
December 26, 2020
Decision and appointment by Father General
In a decree signed on 8 June 2020, Fr. Arturo Sosa, as Superior General, announced the creation of a new Jesuit Province in Africa, the Province of Southern Africa (SAP). It brings together the present territories of the dependent Region of South Africa, the Province of Zimbabwe-Mozambique and the Province of Zambia-Malawi. The countries where the Jesuits work in this new Province are the Republic of South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Botswana, Eswatini, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.
In a letter of 7 December, Father General appointed Fr. Leonard Chiti as Provincial of the new Province; he will assume office on the date the decree takes effect, that is, 25 March 2021. Father General’s letter was sent to the three present Major Superiors whose entities are united in the new Province: Frs. David Rowan (South Africa), Leonard Chiti (Zambia-Malawi) and Chiedza Chimhanda (Zimbabwe-Mozambique). He thanks them for the work done in preparing the dossiers and for the discernment that has taken place in the current Region and Provinces and has largely involved the Jesuits and their communities. And this despite the inconveniences caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The General thanks his companions for the creativity, openness and freedom with which they have guided the process leading to the new Province and the consultations in view of the choice of the first Provincial.
With regard to Fr. Leonard Chiti (52 years old), the current Provincial of Zambia-Malawi, Fr. Sosa emphasises that his choice is not mainly due to the fact that he is already based in Lusaka, the location of the Provincial Curia of the future SAP Province, but to his personal qualities and his experience in governance which are recognised not only in his own Province but in the whole region. He is confident that he will be able to face today’s challenges with fidelity, courage and spiritual sense, with attention to people, Jesuits and others who are intimately connected with the mission of the Society. Before becoming Provincial, Leonard Chiti was Director of the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (Lusaka) and Coordinator of GIAN, the Global Ignatian Advocacy Network.