Church and State in Tanzania: Aspects of Changing Relationships, 1961-1994

By Frieder Ludwig | Go to book overview

CHAPTER THREE

CHURCHES AND NATIONAL IDENTITY

Due to the nature of the relations between the churches and the ethnic groups described in the previous chapter, many missionaries had reserved or disapproving attitudes towards the emerging Tanganyikan nationalism which was first organised by the Tanganyika African Association (TAA) founded in 1928. The TAA was the most important forerunner of the Tanganyika Africa National Union (TANU). TANU was established in 1954, its programme was not only directed against British rule in the mandate but also against African chiefs, who had been integrated into the colonial system through the principle of indirect rule and whose salaries were paid by the colonial administration.1

The colonial principle of indirect rule had been welcomed by those missionaries who favoured a strategy of folk Christianization. In other ways too the missionaries had adapted to the colonial system; initial differences in interest during the first period had been smoothed over. James Holmes—Siedle, the Catholic Bishop of Kigoma, described the relations during the time of the British administration as follows: “[…] there was a great sense of fair play in the whole thing and we always used to say that anything can be arranged—not in the Boma—but over a cup of tea or a glass of beer at the D.C.'s house, that's where most of the palavers were arranged without any bad blood on either side.”' Another evidence for the close form of cooperation which was desired and achieved in the last

1Daily News (29./31. 5. 1991), translated into German and published in Tansania-
Information
(8/1991) (“Zu Nyerere's Verabschiedung in den Ruhestand”); D.
Westerlund, Ujamaa na Dini. A Study of some aspects of society and religion in Tanzania,
1961–1977 (Stockholm, 1980), p. 25.

2 There had been some conflicts between missionaries and colonial officers be-
cause of the different targets: While the missionaries wanted “to open East Africa to
the gospel”, the colonial government had an interest to administrate the country with
as little personal and financial resources as possible. Many decisions were made from
a pragmatic point of view; especially in the German colonial administration many
Muslims had been employed. Missionaries therefore reproached the colonial system
with favouring Islam.

3 Rhodes House, Oxford, MSS Afr s 1595: Conversation between Bishop J.
Holmes-Siedle, Bishop of Kigoma/Tanzania (White Fathes) and John Tawney, 29
May 1969.

-29-

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