Missionaries, Christianity & Colonialism In Africa

Missionaries, Christianity & Colonialism In Africa

Missionaries and Christianity played a significant role in the Colonialism in Africa which began as as far back as the Monomotapa Empire in the 16th Century, when Christian Missionaries began penetrating the African interior.

The relationship between Missionaries, Christianity and Colonialism in Africa would however start in earnest in the late 19th Century as explorers like David Livingstone and Henry-Morton Stanley explored deeper into the African interior with the professed intention of spreading the ‘Gospel and ‘Civilization’.

Ultimately, Missionary efforts in spreading Christiany would lead to Colonialism in African territory following the partitioning of Africa at the 1884-85 Berlin Conference.

The relationship between Christianity and Colonialism in Africa would not only facilitate the loss of  land for Africans but it would also a process of appropriating the African mind.

The Impact Of Missionaries, Christianity And Colonialism On Africans

Missionaries were the chief Social agents of the Colonial system and they made sure that Christianity and Colonialism triggered a process that would lead to Africans abandoning their own identity and cultural values as inferior.

Industrious, brave and armed with technical skills in Medicine, Education, Building etc, Christian Missionaries on the frontlines of Colonialism ingratiated themselves to Africans by making available the benefits of their useful technical skills to emphasize the benefits of Christianity and Colonialism to Africans.

The combination of Technology and Psychology would prove effective as Christian Missionaries at the forefront of Colonialism became firmly implanted in African Nations across the Continent until they were able to gather favour with the Royal Families converting them to Christianity which demonstrated the importance of Christianity to Colonialism.

The process of using Christianity as an instrument of Colonialism by Missionaries was accompanied with a simultaneous denigration of African culture and spirituality branding it as ‘demonic’ and essentially characterising it as ‘witchcraft’.

Missionaries would become integral to the Colonial Project serving as ‘Advisors’ to African Kings enabling the conclusion of Treaties such as the Rudd Concession that facilitated the British Occupation of Southern Africa.

Faced with the Technical and apparent Cultural superiority of Western Civilization, Africans began a process of Cultural re-orientation based on the model of Western materialism as a result of the impact of Christianity on Africans which would eventually lead to Colonialism in Africa.

Christianity & Colonialism: Colonial and Post-Colonial Africa

Ironically, the relationship between Missionaries, Christianity and Colonialism also meant that Missionary education served as the very means by which Africans were able to achieve Independence from the Colonisation that Christianity had brought to Africa.

The Black Elite that would form the vanguard of the African Nationalist movement had been largely educated at Missionary Schools established after the Colonisation of Africa because of Christianity when it was first introduced into the African Interior.

Although this outcome of the relationship between Missionaries, Christianity and Colonialism may be regarded as an unintended consequence, it was nevertheless  a contradiction that facilitated the Independence of African Nations.

Whilst Christianity and Missionary Education were instrumental in the rise of African Nationalism, the impact of Christianity and Colonialism on African Culture and African self-esteem was the complete opposite.

Africans continued to be subjected to both subliminal and overt messaging in which their culture was regarded as evil and it was continually impressed upon them that ‘Salvation’ lay in a White Jesus Christ figure as a result of the teachings in the Christianity that had brought Colonialism to Africa.

In The Bible and The Gun, Basil Davidson provides an excellent account of the role played by Missionaries and Christianity in the Colonisation of Africa including its negative impact on African Society and Culture.

Download Our Android App Get it on Google Play
0 replies on “Missionaries, Christianity & Colonialism In Africa”