Colonial Evangelism: A Socio-Historical Study of an East African Mission at the Grassroots

Colonial Evangelism: A Socio-Historical Study of an East African Mission at the Grassroots

Colonial Evangelism: A Socio-Historical Study of an East African Mission at the Grassroots

Colonial Evangelism: A Socio-Historical Study of an East African Mission at the Grassroots

Excerpt

In 1959, after I returned from my first fieldwork in Ukaguru (Kaguruland), Tanganyika (now Tanzania), East Africa (1957-58), I conceived the idea for this study and undertook supplementary research in the archives at the Church Missionary Society headquarters in London (1961). Grants from the Ford Foundation (1961-63) and the National Science Foundation (1965, 1966) made possible further fieldwork in Ukaguru. I am especially grateful to the librarians and archivists at the Society for their help, and to the Wenner-Gren Foundation for financing two other periods of archival work (1975, 1976), as well as for aiding me in securing release time from my regular academic duties so that I might prepare this manuscript.

During my first stay in Ukaguru, I resided for over six months in the center of the only mission station now remaining in the Kaguru chiefdom of Kilosa District. The Church Missionary Society was kind in allowing me to rent housing at this station. I later moved to a market center about a twenty-minute walk from the mission center and about a five-minute walk from the mission secondary school for boys.

My presence at the mission station posed difficulties for both the missionaries and myself. I occupied housing later required for African nurses working at the mission hospital. Furthermore, it was clear after some months' stay that my presence was a source of strain and embarrassment to the missionaries themselves, as well as to myself. I was in Ukaguru to study the traditional Kaguru way of life, and this meant association with the sides of pagan life which the missionaries sought to eradicate. It was important to me that I was not too closely associated with either the European colonial administration or the missionaries whom many Kaguru considered merely another type of colonial. I found it essential and enjoyable to drink frequently and openly with Kaguru informants as well as to attend pagan dances in which I sometimes participated. I associated with a wide range of Kaguru, from sophisticated, English- speaking mission schoolteachers to pagan elders, beer brewers, and noto-

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