Missions, States, and European Expansion in Africa (African Studies)


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Hannah Arendt’s contribution

In some areas, migrations were primarily from one rural area to another. In other places, the migration was from rural areas to urban areas. These movements resulted in dislocation of peoples that impacted society and culture. Social and cultural beliefs and practices were challenged by these migrations. Long-held practices had to be adapted, and at times were completed abandoned, to fit the new colonial circumstances. Secondly, and partly due to the first consequence, the dislocation of families also occurred.

Men mainly left the household to work in mines and on plantations, leaving their wives and children behind. As a result, women and adolescents were forced to take on new roles and to cope in absence of their husbands and fathers. Due to colonialism, the African family structure had been severely changed. Thirdly, urbanization emerged as colonization was imposed.

During colonialism, urbanization occurred fairly rapidly in many African colonies. A number of pre-colonial African societies had towns and small cities. However, even in these societies, most people were engaged in agriculture in rural villages or homesteads. Urban living resulted in changes in economic activities and occupation, and in changes in the way people lived. These changes often challenged existing values, beliefs, and social practices.

Fourthly, the religious beliefs of Africans were adapted or changed. A small percentage of the African population regarded themselves as Christians, and today more than half of the African population is Christians. Colonial rule provided an environment in which Christianity, in many forms, spread in many parts of Africa.

While Islam was widespread in Africa prior to the coming of colonialism, it also benefited from colonialism. British and French colonial officials actively discouraged Christian mission work in Muslim areas. Lastly, the public education system of African was also changed.

Missions, States, and European Expansion in Africa (African Studies)

The majority of colonial governments did little to support schools. Most formal schooling African colonies were a result of the work of missionaries. Missionaries felt that education and schools were essential to their mission. Their primary concern was the conversion of people to Christianity. Missionaries believed that the ability of African peoples to read the Bible in their own language was important to the conversion process. However, most mission societies were not wealthy, and they could not support the number of schools that they really wanted.

Consequently, with limited government support, most African children did not go to school during the colonial era. In fact at the end of colonial rule, no colony could state that more than half of their children finished elementary school, and far fewer attended secondary school.

West Africans developed an extensive self-contained trading system, based on skilled manufacture. From the 8th century Muslim traders, from North Africa and Arab countries, began to reach the region. Gradually, communities began to convert to Islam. By the end of the 11th century some entire states, and influential individuals in others, were Muslim. At the same time, West African trade slowly expanded towards Egypt and possibly India.

Arabic texts mention that from the late 8th century Ghana was considered 'the land of gold'. Mali also possessed great wealth. In , when Mansa Musa, its emperor, made a pilgrimage to Mecca, he took so much gold with him that in Egypt, which he also visited, the value of the metal was debased. Prior to the European voyages of exploration in the fifteenth century, African rulers and merchants had established trade links with the Mediterranean world, western Asia, and the Indian Ocean region. Within the continent itself, local exchanges among adjacent peoples fit into a greater framework of long-range trade.

The Ashanti kingdom, or Asante, dominated much of the present-day state of Ghana. Gold Coast began encountering European traders in the mids, when the Portuguese began trading with coastal peoples. By the seventeenth century, many European trading giants including the British, Dutch and French began building fortifications along the coastline in order to assert their positions.

These interactions were to have a profound effect on African coastal settlements and African institutions came under considerable European influence very early on. West Africa had a long history of connection to trans-Saharan gold trade, and from the 15th century was drawn into trade with Europe, in gold and increasingly in slaves. The Ashanti kingdom had emerged from the mid- 17th century, benefitting from access both to rich agricultural resources and gold, much of the labour for production of which was provided by a domestic slave trade. The Expansion of the Asante Kingdom, Image source.

Many parts of West Africa was still unknown to the rest of the world, thus By the late 15th century and early 16th century many European nations like Portugal started to send the missionaries and explorers to investigate various parts of Africa and West Africa in particular. As early as in the 19th century European powers like France, Germany, and Britain likewise sent number of missionaries, explorers, traders and philanthropists in West Africa.

When the Ashanti kingdom showed ambitions to expand its control southwards in negotiating treaties with African authorities and protecting trading interests, the British invaded Ashanti in and burnt its capital. The majority of European Explorers spent their time to investigate and to detail the interior and coast of West Africa to help European powers that were searching areas with potential materials as European countries were experiencing mushrooming of industries.

Explores assisted the European merchant groups; penetration of west Africa interior in 18th century was real a hard and difficult but with the aid of explorers, European merchant groups had advantage of trading in West Africa freely with assurance of security of themselves and their trading commodities. As Britain increasingly colonised more and more African countries, the British had become the dominant power along the coast, and they began annexing and laying claim to territory gradually.

Missions, States, and European Expansion in Africa

The expansion of the Asante kingdom towards the coast was the major cause of this, as the British began to fear that the Asante would come to monopolise coastal trade in their place. The British placed the Governor of neighbouring Sierra Leone, which was already annexed, in charge of British forts and settlements along the coast. He formed an unfavourable opinion of the Asante, and began the long process of attempting to bring them under British control. However, disputes over jurisdiction of the area known as Ashanti led to war between the British and the Asante, and in , the Asante succeeded in killing the Governor as well as seven of his men.

In retaliation, the British with the help of tribes oppressed by the Asante, including the Fante and the Ga beat the Asante back in , and successfully ended their dominance of coastal regions. The establishment of British law and jurisdiction in the colony was a gradual process, but the Bond with the Fante is popularly considered to be its true beginning.

This recognised the power of British officials and British common law in the Gold Coast and over the Fante people. A supreme court was established in , and led to British common law becoming enforced. However, all of this brought financial challenges, and saw the policy of making the colonies pay come in to force in the Gold Coast for the first time. European troops entering Kumane during the second Anglo- Ashanti War. The British fought against the Ashanti four times in the 19th century and suppressed a final uprising in before claiming the region as a colony.

It ended with a standoff after the British beat an Ashanti army near the coast in After two generations of relative peace, more violence occurred in when the Ashanti invaded the British "protectorate" along the coast in retaliation for the refusal of Fanti leaders to return a fugitive slave. The result was another stand-off, but the British took casualties and public opinion at home started to view the Gold Coast as a quagmire. In , the Second Ashanti War began after the British took possession of the remaining Dutch trading posts along the coast, giving British firms a regional monopoly on the trade between Africans and Europe.

The Ashanti had long viewed the Dutch as allies, so they invaded the British protectorate along the coast. A British army led by General Wolseley waged a successful campaign against the Ashanti that led to a brief occupation of Kumasi and a "treaty of protection" signed by the Ashantehene leader of Ashanti, ending the war in July This war was covered by a number of news correspondents including H.

Stanley and the "victory" excited the imagination of the European public. In , the Third Anglo-Ashanti War began following British press reports that a new Ashantehene named Prempeh committed acts of cruelty and barbarism. Strategically, the British used the war to insure their control over the gold fields before the French, who were advancing on all sides, could claim them. In , the British government formally annexed the territories of the Ashanti and the Fanti. In , a final uprising took place when the British governor of Gold Coast Hodgson unilaterally attempted to depose the Ashantehene by seizing the symbol of his authority, the Golden Stool.

The British were victorious and reoccupied Kumasi permanently. The change in the Gold Coast's status from "protectorate" to "crown colony" meant that relations with the inhabitants of the region were handled by the Colonial Office, rather than the Foreign Office.

That implied that the British no longer recognized the Ashanti or the Fanti as having independent governments. It arrived in Kumasi in January The Asantehene directed the Ashanti to not resist. Shortly thereafter, Governor William Maxwell arrived in Kumasi as well. Asantehene Agyeman Prempeh was deposed and arrested. Britain annexed the territories of the Ashanti and the Fanti in , and Ashanti leaders were sent into exile in the Seychelles.

The Asante Union was dissolved. Robert Baden-Powell led the British in this campaign. The British formally declared the coastal regions to be the Gold Coast colony. A British Resident was permanently placed in the city, and soon after a British fort. As a final measure of resistance, the remaining Asante court not exiled to the Seychelles mounted an offensive against the British Residents at the Kumasi Fort.

On April 25 the telegraph wires were cut, and Kumasi was surrounded. Thirty British were dying per day in June. On June 23 three officers and made a sortie and managed to escape. Governor Hodgson reached Cape Coast on July The people were disarmed, and only licensed hunters could carry guns. The British annexed the Asante confederacy as a Crown Colony and did not allow chiefs to rule in Kumasi until Prempeh became Kumasihene in Asante was forcibly incorporated into the British Gold Coast colony in , along with further territory to its immediate north which had not belonged to the kingdom itself.

The later addition of British Togoland creates borders for the colony that are essentially those that exist for modern Ghana. When the British defeated the Ashanti people, they collected all the gold treasures of the area. In addition to this, the Ashanti people lost their independence. They did not receive any political rights in the Gold Coast and power was taken away from legitimate Ashanti leaders.

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People were forced off their land onto farms or factories which ultimately made the British richer. The British then spent money on things that will improve their ability to remove wealth and natural resources from the Gold Coast. They built railroads and roads, but only to their own benefit in order for products to be shipped off to Europe. European colonisation of Africa in the late 19th century Africa before European colonisation Due to worldwide insufficiency of world knowledge, the size and abilities of Africa as a continent was majorly undermined and oversimplified.

Africa before European colonialism Image source The use of iron tools marks a significant turning point in African civilization. The first meeting at the Berlin Conference, Image source The initial task of the conference was to agree that the Congo River and Niger River mouths and basins would be considered neutral and open to trade.

Respecting their sense of right and wrong, they profess that nothing we indicate as sin ever appeared to them otherwise, except the statement that it was wrong to take more wives than one, and they declare that they spoke in the same way of the direct influence exercised by God in giving rain in answer to prayers of the rain-makers, and in granting deliverance in times of danger, as they do now, before they ever heard of white men. The want, however, of any form of public worship, or of idols, or of formal prayers or sacrifice, make.

Bechuanas appear as among the most godless mortals known anywhere Moffat himself actually amended or withdrew many of his earlier statements, as he came closer and closer to the people and gained a better and intimate understanding of their cultural beliefs and practices. The image of Modimo that eventually emerged from Livingstone's writings was later reproduced and confirmed by modern African scholars of Tswana traditional religions such as Setiloane Modimo is believed to have created all things, the One who penetrates and permeates all things and the One who is the Creator and the Source of all life Setiloane When Moffat began to translate the Bible into Setswana in , he had no other indigenous name equivalent to that of the God of the Bible.


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  4. The Classical Heritage and its Beneficiaries!
  5. Missions, States, and European Expansion in Africa;

He therefore had no choice but to adopt and use the same Tswana name, Modimo to designate God or the Supreme Being. Concerning this, Mackenzie says that the idea to use this word came from the Tswana interpreters. Morimo God has not been mentioned in the preceding description of native worship and superstition. When missionaries first met with Bechuanas they addressed them through the Dutch language.

They found Bechuanas who could already speak both languages, and who therefore acted as interpreters. At Griqua Town there were and are still regular services in both languages. The invariable equivalent for God in Dutch, given by all the interpreters, was Morimo. It was no suggestion of the missionaries: the Bechuana interpreters, after hearing concerning God in the Dutch language, said that their name for Him was Morimo. But the Bechaunas would seem never to have entirely forgotten God. His name was found by the missionaries still floating in their language Mackenzie This also was the case in their teaching and preaching.

Right from the onset, their Batswana interpreters used the name Modimo for the Supreme Being, because he was the Supreme Being for them Pauw In this way, missionaries were constantly confronted by the Tswana way of life, which Willoughby, describes as follows:.

Bantu life is basically religious Religion so pervades the life of the people that it regulates their doing and governs their leisure to an extent that it is hard for Europeans to imagine Willoughby In the heart of their beliefs and practices, as Willoughby points out, was the concept of badimo and Modimo. Everything for them revolved around Modimo. They did not know how to live without these spiritual entities.

Everything for them, be it politics, economics or social, revolved around the religious beliefs and practices. Missionaries and the Batswana Traditional Way of Life. As Willoughby has stated above, Batswana had a strong religious and cultural tradition of their own. Though the missionaries found this very rich African background, most of them had an attitude of contempt for the African way of life.

They considered it to be backward and inadequate. Some alluded to the fact that Africans were heathens and almost irreligious. Robert Moffat, He talked about a total absence of religious structures and a concept of the Supreme Being Moffat The missionaries usually equated non-western cultures with degradation, barbarism, ignorance and darkness Moffat They wanted Africans to denounce their culture and adopt western ways. Concerning this missionary attitude, J. Freeman writes:.

Hannah Arendt’s contribution

They must be secluded not only from the heathen portion of the community but from their home habits, customs and occupations, even though their parents may be Christian, lest they imbibe that love of a life among the flocks and herds by which natives seem so Mackenzie The desire of the missionaries was that the Africans abandon their religion and culture and adopt western religion and culture, which they hoped would facilitate the extension of colonialism.

The motive was, therefore, to prepare the Africans mentally for the takeover by colonizers Magorian The aim was to have Batswana children grow up being ignorant of their African identity and then becoming Europeanized in their ways and thinking, thus softening their hearts to embrace the European colonial takeover from a tender age. For European missionaries there was a thin line between westernizing the world and converting it to Christianity Latouche Influenced by that understanding, missionaries spread Christian values and western civilization simultaneously.

Western civilization, Christianity, commerce and colonization were believed to be inseparable. On the other hand, African traditions and cultural practices were perceived to be inferior, uncivilized and primitive. Reproducing their culture and imposing it on the Africans was therefore seen as part of the missionary mandate to ' civilise' Africans. God was thus presented to Batswana in a foreign idiom, as if the indigenous people had no language of their own Amadiune Seeing this as part of their mission work, therefore, missionaries co-operated with the colonizers in weakening the religious institutions on which the Tswana ancient cultures were founded de Vries The missionaries targeted the rulers for conversion, hoping that once the Chiefs were converted, their subjects would follow suit, thus preparing the ground for the colonial government.

It was for this reason that David Livingstone believed that the missionary work had an important cultural role, that is, 'to leaven the alleged primitiveness of African society with Christian western culture' Martin In fact, most missionaries in Southern Africa believed that their way of life represented values of universal application.

They saw it as their moral duty to 'civilise' Africans. Civilization in this case referred to European values, standards and way of life. They also regarded themselves as chosen by God, in terms of their religion and their nations, with a duty to retrieve Africans from backwardness, heathenism and superstitious influences. They aimed at bringing these customs into conformity with western standards Martin The weakening power of the chiefs bogosi was understood as a destruction of Tswana political and cultural systems.

The failure of the missionaries to make many converts during Sekgoma's reign was, for instance, seen as a good reason to destroy powers of the chiefs. Tswana chiefs who resisted Christianity, were removed with the assistance of the colonial government Moffat B Wookey, for instance, advocated for the removal of Sekgoma Letsholathebe of the Batawana from the throne because of his refusal to embrace missionary teachings. Missionaries advocated for a direct British rule, hoping that the system would make it easy for them to spread western culture, which in their view, was superior and friendlier to the spread of Christianity.

Through the weakening of the powers of chiefs they hoped that they would be able to impose rulers who would readily support this process. This partly explains their taking sides with Christian rulers in cases of dispute with their non-Christian counterparts. Evidently, the efforts of the missionaries were to work towards weakening the traditional authority, its values, being and potential.

And thus, in their evangelization drive they supported the colonial process. They, for instance, insisted that their converts to Christianity should also adopt the western cultures as part of their religious life. In doing this, the missionaries did not only violate the key teachings of Christian religion, but also compromised its message. Toyin Falola argues that even the missionary campaign against such things as polygamy was part of the strategy to force Africans to adopt a western style of life, which was seen as part of the larger vision of seeing indigenous people completely sold to their colonizers Falola Tlou and Campbell argue that Livingstone supported colonialism because he persuaded Sechele to abandon his many wives except one.

The Bible and Evangelisation. The missionaries are also alleged to have used the Bible as a tool to colonise the minds of the Africans Dube It is argued that the Bible was presented in such a way that it painted everything associated with African practices as pagan in order to promote western ideologies, values and practices. The missionaries particularly disliked such practices as rain-making rites, initiation ceremonies, bogadi bridewealth , and polygamy, because they viewed them to be contrary to the teaching of the Bible and also a hindrance to the spread of missionary teachings.

The missionaries are accused of having used the Bible to colonise Batswana politically, culturally and economically. The Kutlwano, for instance, observes that: 'At the initial stage, the aim of these missionaries was to Christianize Africans and change their way of life which was then regarded as primitive by settler Europeans' Kutlwano Musa W. Dube relates a popular story about the Bible and the white man as follows: 'When the white man came to our country he had the Bible and we had the land.

The white man said to us: 'Let us pray'. After the prayer the white man had the land and we had the Bible' Dube Dube explains that this is how Africans connect colonialism to the Bible. By cooperating with scientists and explorers, missionaries are seen to have acted as agents of imperialism.

Andrew Walls also suggests that there was very little or no dividing line between missionaries and their colonizing counterparts. He notes that:. Sometimes missionary occupations preceded annexation or political penetration and sometimes it followed, as in Uganda, Nyasaland and Bechuanaland. It was intimately associated with the establishment of British rule Walls Dube speaks of Livingstone as a good example of a divinely commissioned genius in colonizing Africans, and a shining example of a missionary who openly championed colonial domination in sub-Saharan Africa, especially through his declaration that civilization, Christianity and commerce should always be inseparable Dube She further accuses Livingstone of having capitalized on the rampant, human trade in the interior of Africa to appeal to his compatriots to colonise Africa.

She also points out that Livingstone successfully stimulated the interests of traders, geographic societies and missionary societies, that is, various colonial agents, to open western commerce, civilization and Christianity to occupy and ' civilise' Africans Dube Quoting Mudimbe, she asserts that the missionary is the best symbol of the colonial enterprise.

She further supports her argument by quoting Pringle,. Let us enter upon a new and noble, career of conquest. Let us subdue savage Africa by justice, by kindness, by the talisman of Christian truth. Let us thus go forth in the name and under the blessing of God, gradually to extend the moral influence We can therefore conclude that missionaries appropriated and interpreted the Bible in order to fulfil the aim and objective of colonialism in all spheres to make colonialism a reality in various ways. The Bible became the basic text for the missionary schools.

Through the Bible, they psychologically made Batswana humble and passive, thus making encroachment of the colonizers easy and acceptable. The missionaries also used the Bible to seriously weaken the traditional culture, by describing it as evil. The Missionaries versus Traditional Authority. The situation among the Bangwato during the second half of the nineteenth century and into the first quarter of the twentieth century reveals several of the dynamics that are unleashed when a foreign world-view intersects with the indigenous culture and particularly, where civil and religious authority overlaps.

The important point here is that London Missionary Society LMS activities inevitably affected many aspects of the social life of the Batswana, such as religion, health, education, economics and political structures. From the indigenous cultural set up, these aspects were under the political authority of the king. But with the establishment of the Bechuanaland Protectorate in , the missionaries began to challenge the legitimacy of kingly power and increasingly allied with the colonial administrators.

Their European superiority mentality was inspired by their anti-African cultural institutions. For example, they saw the cultural systems of the Batswana to be a hindrance to the spread of Christianity, and consequently felt that colonialism was justified.

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Moffat was not only critical of the alliance between the church and politics, but also contributed to the weakening of the Batswana kingship structures. In , he was involved in the Ngwato political events which led to the overthrow of Sekgoma and his replacement by Macheng. He hoped that the latter would facilitate a massive spread of Christianity in the region. He informed the LMS that: 'Macheng had willingly submitted to my suggestions that he should be instructed in reading and writing; and soon as all his public affairs were settled he would This reflected a strategy that realised that kingship structures were the most effective channel for dissemination and establishment of Christianity and other missionary interests among the Batswana.

Hepburn, another L. However, he agreed with Moffat that political involvement of missionaries led to a poor response to Christianity Hepburn B Other LMS missionaries however ignored this warning by continuing to perform political activities on behalf of their home government in northern Batswana kingdoms. In , for instance, John Mackenzie encouraged Macheng, the then Ngwato king, to invite the British Government to occupy the Tati Gold area as a way of preventing the Transvaal Government from occupying the field Mackenzie When the British Government did not respond to the request, Mackenzie suggested that a special council of Europeans be established which would deal with European matters at Shoshong.

This council was eventually formed with Mackenzie himself presiding over it. Through all this Mackenzie saw a very close connection between the progress of Christianity and the English law. Thus in he wrote:. On the whole, the feudal power of the native chiefs is opposed to Christianity; and the people who are living under English law are in a far more advantageous position as to the reception of the Gospel than when they were living in their own heathen town surrounded by all its thralls and sanctions.

It was for this reason that the missionaries wanted to destroy the cultural institutions. They believed that kingship structures were less responsive to the evangelization process. Calling for the replacement of Ngwato political structures with British rule the B. It was with this understanding that LMS missionaries played a leading role in the formation of the Bechuanaland Protectorate in The indigenous leaders, however, held the view that Christian moral standards of the white community were incompatible with the values of the Batswana.

Referring to his own Christian morality, Khama challenged their deceitfulness and treacherous conduct as follows:. I am doing all that lies in my power to lead my people to give up their old and sinful customs My missionaries have never taught me, and God's book does not teach me, that a man may write anything he likes today and do any other thing he likes tomorrow Holub As part of his response to these developments, Khama adopted a radical position and enforced his authority. Writing about his reforms and capability as a leader, Mrs Knight - Bruce told the Times in that:. He [Khama] is a radical reformer who yet develops both himself and his people on the natural lines; he has made himself into a character that can be spoken of as a 'perfect English gentleman', but without losing for a moment his self-respect as an African; he has kept his position as a disciple, not a mimic, of white civilization and he has shown how such a man can raise a nation.

He has done it all as he would tell us, because he is a Christian The Times The LMS missionaries were on the other hand happy to have the British Protectorate administration and saw this as a divine appointment. They hoped that this would create a conducive environment for the spread of Christianity in the region. In for instance, the Chronicle of the LMS stated: '[The Directors] yield[ed] to what seem[ed] to be a providential indication of the will of God in the services of Mackenzie and allowed him to join the new administration' The Chronicle LMS missionaries were, however, divided over the issue of church-state relations.

They held the view that colonial officials wanted to use the missionaries as instruments for their political interests. Wookey, another L. Khama felt that traders were exploiting his people, and that led to a decline in agricultural productivity. He also noted that it encouraged Europeans to violate his political and religious laws, thus subverting his authority. Thus in he addressed a group of dissident white traders, saying:.

You think you can despise my laws because I am a black man. Well, I am black, but I am chief of my country. When you white men rule the country, then you may do what you like; at present I rule, and I shall maintain the laws you insult and despise.

Missions, states, and European expansion in Africa

I am trying to lead You know that some of my brothers have learned to like drink, and you tempt them with it, I make an end of it today. The Christianization of the Batswana Institutions. Khama regarded this as an attempt by the missionaries to impose foreign political ideas on the BaNgwato. Hepburn's view was that those who had become Christians were to be cut off from their cultural duties and be let free to identify themselves with the European colonial power. Khama insisted on the fact that there was no separation between the church and state, while on the other hand, Hepburn advocated for separation between church - state.

The tendency of the missionaries to try to alienate individuals from their traditional loyalties, forced Khama to conclude that missionaries were friends and supporters of the colonial government. Hepburn's brand of Christianity, for instance, seemed to erode the traditional loyalties of the people and thus break up the bogosi kingship or kingly power system. The native bogosi saw no incongruity in fusing political and religious matters under Khama's authority.

For example, Khama sometimes ordered his regiment to cut logs or to make bricks for church buildings regardless of their personal preference in the matter. Khama, therefore, envisaged a time when the Bangwato church would progress towards self-governing institution and be able to run its own affairs.

Thompson later described the proceedings of the meeting:. Then I dealt with the more serious question of principle, expressing as emphatically and distinctly as I could the opinion that the Christians were subjects of the State, bound like others by its laws and called to prove their Christian character by being the most loyal and obedient of all the people. At the same time I pointed out that there was another voice, the voice of conscience, which chief and the people alike must listen to, and another law, the law of God, which must be supreme.

I dwelt upon the spiritual independence of the church in its worship and work, and pointed out that if a Christian chief was allowed, as chief, to interfere with the liberty of the church a bad chief might claim the right to do so also. I told them that we in England had in past times suffered much from the attempts of our rulers to interfere with our freedom, and that it was only after a long severe struggle that we obtained the recognition of our liberty.

And I reminded them that times might come in the life of a man, or in the experience of the Christian Lovett Although Khama expelled Hepburn, for opposing the development of a self-governing church, he found that some of his people were influenced by the missionary. They refused to give their loyalty to him. For instance, Thompson informs us that during their interview with the Bangwato:. At once Raditladi, the chief s brother and a deacon of the church, responded to this that they were well aware that the church was not to be under the control of the State, and that if the chief, as chief, attempted to interfere with them in their Christian life and duty they would speedily let him know that he was interfering in matters beyond his province Lovett In Khama blamed John Moffat, a LMS missionary who became the Assistant Commissioner at Palapye to , for meddling in internal political matters and thus encouraging Khama's opponents to resist his authority.

While Hepburn had challenged Khama for claiming authority over the church, Moffat was now aiding Khama' s political opponents, who consulted him because of his ecclesiastical status as a former missionary and in his capacity as the senior colonial authority at Palapye. Khama subsequently got rid of him especially for conducting secret prayer meetings at his magistrate's house at the end of The prayers were aimed at undermining Khama's authority.

To start with Khama had opposed Moffat's appointment to Palapye, together with his duties: to levy taxes, issue trading licenses and hold courts etc. Khama objected since this undermined his kingly position, but the Cape Government simply imposed the office on the BaNgwato Parsons Education was another very important instrument that was employed to bring the Batswana under the influence of colonialism.

It determined the course and nature of African responses to colonial conquest. Its impact softened the hearts of Batswana towards Europeans and consequently brought them under their power and influence. Missionary education was used as a great weapon to confuse the people's minds. In preparation for the colonizers, the missionaries taught English to those who were to be colonized by the English, so that they could later provide the needed service as officers.

Tlou and Campbell state that when colonizers arrived, they used educated Batswana to gain control of the people. It also made communication between the colonial master and the Africans easier and thus created a positive environment for colonialism. Missionaries taught their converts to associate colonialism with Christianity, civilization and the overwhelming superiority of European weapons and warfare Boahen Missionaries such as W. Willoughby, believed in the unquestionable superiority of the white race, culture and religion.

They viewed colonization, commerce and religion as inseparable allies. They also emphasized the need for imperial responsibility paternal guardianship over the Africans. They sought to smooth cultural contact between the colonizers and the colonized and to ' protect' and ' civilise' the African in an effort to make him a more useful member of the new colonial community.

Returning back to Willoughby, it must also be mentioned that he rejected any idea of social and political equality between the Bantu and the Europeans. His notion of equality, in fact, affected his interpretation of the Batswana and their culture. He argued that Africans in general could not be treated as equals, by Europeans, before they were socially and politically upgraded.

It is only after that development, which he argued, takes many years to mature, that they could be seen as occupying the same status. He further pointed out that their brotherhood with whites was only on the basis of being ' children and adolescents' or ' younger brothers' of the British and not on equality Willoughby , He further wrote:. If we could take ideal into our dealings, it would crown our strength with patience and gentleness, and we should become redeemers of Africa. But that means keeping very close to the Greater Paternal Heart of the World - or maternal if that is a better metaphor Willoughby He held the view that the Bangwato, the people he served as a missionary, were backward and slow in learning.

He pointed out that localization or transfer of political or religious power and leadership or government, to Africans was a farfetched possibility. Because of their slowness in learning and development, the process of handing over government was expected to take a very long time. Those educated in missionary schools received a western styled education which did not aim at preparing them to be political leaders of their country, but at taking up subordinate positions in a colonial system.

Tlou and Campbell for instance, note that the objective of missionary education was not to develop the socioeconomic needs of Batswana, but was for purposes of Bible reading and evangelization. However, Mgadla notes that: 'By the middle of western education was no longer a bogosi privilege Mgadla It was being made available to many Africans as possible to maximize that impact and influence. Missionary education was presented as a tool to weaken the influence of the indigenous religion and replace it with Christian values. The purpose of missionary education was to merely open the minds of Batswana to Western influence.

Access to missionary education was controlled by the missionary bodies themselves. To receive education one had to become a Christian and adopt western values of dress etc. Western education opposed the traditional schools of bogwera for boys and bojale for girls. Missionary education, therefore, was firstly used as an agent of change. It was to reconstruct African culture. Secondly it was used as a vehicle to import and impose western values on Africans. To missionaries, western education represented modernity and civilisation. It was used to spread western social, cultural and economic value systems.

It favoured western values and completely rejected the African cultural environment and cultural values. It failed to appreciate any culture other than its own western culture, which was considered superior and of a higher level of civilisation. Thirdly, in many different ways, it facilitated European control over Africans and consequently reinforced colonisation. To achieve that goal missionaries opened mission schools among the Batswana and demanded that candidates had first to convert to Christianity. Gray Seidman captures this influence as follows: ' Africans learned about European culture.

They read European books and learned about European ways of doing things' Seidman Moshoeshoe I of the Basotho Kingdom told the French missionaries that: ' It is enough for me to see your clothing, your arms, and the rolling houses in which you travel, to understand how much strength and intelligence you have' Ibid. Moshoeshoe, like many other African leaders, understood the influence of European missionaries to be closely related to the factors that promoted colonialism. Missionary education, therefore, did not only reinforce colonialism, but also became an instrument which was used by Europeans to destroy the people's cultural values.

Its main aim was to convert 'heathen' to Christianity and introduce them to the skills of reading the Bible. Its focus was not on practical subjects such as carpentry, building, etc, but stressed reading, writing and scripture. This was important for the colonial process because Batswana had to learn to speak and read English Mgadla Gradually this form of education replaced indigenous education.

The young became more interested in western education rather than the initiation schools. The Tswana practice of rain making, initiation rites and bongaka medicine and other beliefs were discouraged and said to be contrary to Christian moral codes Amanze Through education, missionaries worked hard to replace Tswana culture with western culture, which they expected Batswana to adopt. All these created an atmosphere that presented little resistance to colonisation.

Another important observation to be made was that missionaries saw their major role as agents whose fundamental duties are to spread Christian values and western civilization; these were seen as sides of the same coin. To effectively do this, missionaries introduced Christianity to the Africans within the western cultural context, which specifically supported the establishment of a colonial order. According to C. Kein missionaries also reinforced the idea of the primitiveness of Africans.

Shillington brings in another aspect to this Kein He points out that the response of Africans to this was resolute. He says that: 'They did not want new ideas that threatened to undermine the traditional religious basis of their authority' Shillington Missionaries, Commerce and Traders. The second half of the nineteenth century brought new external threats. One such new external force was trade, which was favourably used for colonizing Batswana.

The trading of fur, ivory and ostrich feathers, which were conducted through external links for a long time, was intensified by the presence of western traders Parsons An important point to make here is that the establishment of missionary work became the beginning of modern trade. Missionaries came with traders, or rather attracted traders who sold items which were used in winning the hearts of Africans. They also brought new European items such as clothing, food e.


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  • Through trade and commerce, missionaries, directly or indirectly, participated as agents of their home governments. David Livingstone is quoted as saying:. I beg to direct your attention to Africa: - I know that in a few years I shall be 'cut off in that country, which is now open; do not let it shut again! I go back to Africa to make an open path to commerce and Christianity; do carry out the work which I have begun. Livingstone further points out that he was going back to Africa with a botanist, artist, naval officer, moral agent and mining geologist, all of which were together seen as going to Africa to promote civilization, trade, commerce, Christianity and colonialism Mourhouse According to O'Toole the British missionaries were also actively involved.

    Besides their religious purpose, British missionaries also wanted to explore undocumented areas of the continent and to encourage Africans to trade with Britain' O'Toole Trade was a factor that was used to bring about European dominance over Africans. It was used to make the idea of colonialism very attractive. At that time, guns and ammunition became very much needed commodities for defense purposes. The missionaries themselves came with wagons, guns and ammunition, which were highly desired by the Batswana.

    Later on they persuaded traders to bring these useful European goods to Batswana.

    Missions, States, and European Expansion in Africa (African Studies) Missions, States, and European Expansion in Africa (African Studies)
    Missions, States, and European Expansion in Africa (African Studies) Missions, States, and European Expansion in Africa (African Studies)
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    Missions, States, and European Expansion in Africa (African Studies) Missions, States, and European Expansion in Africa (African Studies)
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    Missions, States, and European Expansion in Africa (African Studies) Missions, States, and European Expansion in Africa (African Studies)
    Missions, States, and European Expansion in Africa (African Studies) Missions, States, and European Expansion in Africa (African Studies)
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