Christianity in Northern Malawi: Donald Fraser's Missionary Methods and Ngoni Culture

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Christianity in Northern Malawi: Donald Fraser's Missionary Methods and Ngoni Culture.

By T. Jack Thompson. Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1995. Pp. xvii, 292. No price given.

This book provides a scholarly, thoughtful addition to the substantial collection of works dealing with the history of Christianity in Malawi. Based on an Edinburgh Ph.D. thesis researched by the author while he was working as a schoolteacher at Khondowe, the headquarters of the Livingstonia Mission in Malawi, it focuses on the interaction between the Ngoni people of northern Malawi and Scottish missionaries in the period 1878 to 1933. Interesting new information is provided on the important contribution made by William Koyi, the most successful of the five black South African evangelists brought to Malawi from Lovedale Institution in the Cape Province. But the greatest emphasis is on the role of Donald Fraser, one of the most influential mission strategists of his time, and the central figure in the development of the Ngoni church. As Thompson demonstrates, Fraser was concerned more than most missionaries of his time with the creation of a genuinely African church. Yet, as he clearly shows, this aim was achieved only through the interaction of his ideas with those of his Ngoni parishioners. …