Back when Latin was used most of the Catholics in Africa were white people who were confortable. There were some parishes with black congregations although that was the execption.
Rome used to be much more explicit regarding its colonial ties and intentions for the Africans; witness, for instance the "White Fathers"
, originally based in Algiers. (Note the nice little bit of PR maneuvering in the name change described at the above link; I guess "White Fathers" was a little bit too on the nose!
How odd it would be for people in KwaZulu Natal to have a Zulu priest and Zulu congregation (who can barely speak English) have a black Zulu speaking Latin. Trust me vernacular is the way to go.
I have various African "Misa" LPs from the 1960s (Missa Luba, Missa Bantu, Messe des Bayanzi, etc.), organized mostly by Belgian or French colonialist priests, which show perhaps admirable attempts to nativize the Latin liturgy (most still feature Latin, but have native drumming...an odd combo, if there ever was one). I quite enjoy the recordings of the monks of Keur Moussa in Senegal, for instance, which feature many native (Wolof) translations in addition to Latin hymns, as well as the kora and other native instruments. Still, I wonder exactly how "nativized" such experiments are, when they essentially translate the Latin mode of worship for another people, rather than creating/continuing a truly native way of worship. I mean, even comparing the aforementioned hymnody of the monks of Keur Moussa
to paraliturgical Ethiopian Orthodox Tewahedo mezmur
, it's kind of hard to miss which one is "Latin" in idiom (even if it is in Wolof) and which one is native to the people. It makes sense, when you think about it: One came with invaders and colonialists who imposed their religion on people, the other developed naturally by native African Christians who had been evangelized by shipwrecked Syriacs (so I doubt Abba Selama and Co. came with the power of colonializing Western governments behind them) and administered for centuries by the only apostolic church to be founded in Africa by an actual African (St. Mark was a Hellenized Libyan Jew).
We might wonder how much the above description relates to this overall topic. I've likewise seen videos of the Coptic Catholic Franciscans (including Coptic Catholic priests in their confusingly Byzantine vestments), Iraqi Dominicans, etc., so nothing would really surprise me at this point. Only Christ is all things to all people, but it seems like the Latins are doing their best to try to at least nativize their own (Latin) ways for other people. Doesn't really make them "Eastern", but that's not really a concern so much as the strange and foreign doctrines that come with accepting Latin domination in the first place (of which these more obvious outward changes are merely a sign, rather than the root of the problem).