Encountering Pygmy Peoples as a Challenge to Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

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Abstract

Encountering Pygmy peoples, the forest dwellers, has been identified as a challenge to mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. In this country, mission encounters efforts target more cities and villages than forest areas where indigenous Pygmies live. Such a selective and exclusive way of mission is probably the result of the non-Pygmies’ attitude of superiority, prejudice and stigmatization towards indigenous Pygmy communities. To remedy the challenge identified in order to implement the mission in a holistic and comprehensive perspective, this article suggests the missionary encounter as a way forward to address Pygmy peoples and, by extension, all other groups living alike. Therefore, missionary encounter should be implemented through a humble conversion of non-Pygmy peoples. Conversion is thus a necessary starting point for missionary encounter as it involves a two-fold liberation that consists of breaking both the prejudices of non-Pygmies towards Pygmy peoples, and the suspicions of Pygmy peoples towards non-Pygmies.

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