British imperial wars and the strengthening of the Dutch Reformed Church's mission : Mashonaland in the late 19th to early 20th centuries

Muller, Retief (2017)

CITATION: Muller, R. 2017. British imperial wars and the strengthening of the Dutch Reformed Church's mission : Mashonaland in the late 19th to early 20th centuries. Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae, 43(3):#3161, doi:10.17159/2412-4265/3161.

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Article

This focus is on conflicts in which the British South African Company (BSAC) had a direct hand, and in which British forces were victorious. Three specific conflicts will be highlighted: the First Matabele War (1893-1894), the First Chimurenga (18961897), and the Second Anglo Boer War/South African War (1899-1902). It is argued that the Cape Dutch Reformed Church's (DRC) missionary enterprise directly and indirectly benefited from these wars. The personal letters and other writings of A. A. Louw, pioneer DRC missionary to Mashonaland, reveal a relatively good relationship with Cecil John Rhodes and the BSAC. The weakening of powerful local polities through the colonial suppression of African uprisings might have helped mission stations such as the DRC's Morgenstêr to attain surrogate status as centres of power in the affected areas. After the South African War, a number of Boer prisoners of war were recruited for the DRC missionary campaigns, including Mashonaland. A contextualising feature to this narrative of Afrikaner mission in British Colonial Africa is the fact that two of the foremost recruiting agents were direct family members of A. A. Louw.

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