Colonialism and Christianity in E.A
Having been helped by the missionaries to establish colonialism in East Africa, the colonial masters also started helping and facilitating the spread of Christianity as shown below.
- The colonial government also gave the missionaries freedom of most to any territory they wanted which made the preachers to preach the gospel to the whole of East Africa.
- Colonial authorities influenced their home governments to send money to the missionaries to spread the gospel so as to take over the areas they had Christianized.
- Colonialists agreed never to interfere negatively in the affairs and activities of the Christian missionaries which also enabled the missionaries to preach the gospel smoothly.
- The colonialists assisted the missionaries in the provision of health/ medical services to the East Africans.
- This attracted many East African into the church hence its expansion.
- Colonialists further assisted the missionaries in the provision of education to the people of East Africa. This also attracted many people to join Christianity.
- Colonialists also linked the missionaries to the local political and cultural leaders which paved way for the effective spreading of the gospel in such kingdom.
- The colonialists developed communication lines such as roads and railway lines which were used by the missionaries to penetrate into the interior of East Africa with the gospel.
- Due to colonialism, the Berlin conference was called and this led to peaceful missionary competition over converts which favored the spread of the church.
- Colonialists worked hand in hand with the missionaries to fight and stop slave trade and slavery. This brought peace hence leading to the spread of the gospel.
- The colonial authorities also worked hard to develop legitimate trade and this attracted many East Africans to join the missionaries and accepting the gospel.
- Colonialists also supported the missionaries in the development of cash crop agriculture among East Africans. This made blacks to accept the gospel that were being spread by the missionaries.
- Colonialists further fought and weakened the spread of Islam hence leaving Christianity as the only dominate religion.
- The colonial administrative centers were also used as missionary centers from where the missionaries based to reach out to other places e.g. Nairobi and Entebbe.
Qn. How did colonialism contribute /favour the spread of the church in East Africa. (13 marks)
How Colonialism Conflicted With Christianity
Colonialism at times hindered the spread of Christianity in East Africa as explained below.
- The colonialists in East Africa only favored missionary groups from their home countries and neglected others e.g. In Uganda, the French Catholics working in rural areas were neglected by the British hence hindering their work.
- The freedom of movement given to the missionaries by the colonialists created unhealthy competition and clashes between the Catholics and the Protestants which spoilt the image of church.
- Colonialists later criticized missionary services which hindered the spread of the church. E.g. they criticized missionary education calling it too theoretical which made some people not to join Christianity.
- Later on, colonialists took over education from the missionaries which made students from missionary schools to run into colonial schools hence reducing the number of church converts.
- The colonialists further started offering help health services to Africans which also made some African not to join Christianity since they could get treated by the colonialists.
- The colonialists fought many wars of conquest which brought insecurity hence hindering the missionary work of spreading the gospel e.g. the Hehe, Nandi MaJi-MaJi rebellions etc.
- The European colonial interests in Uganda contributed to the outbreak of the religious wars in Buganda which also hindered the spread of the gospel.
- Colonial interest partly led to the killing of Bishop Hannington an event that made many East Africans scared of joining Christianity.
- Colonialists exploited East Africans which made people hate all whites including missionaries hence refusing to join Christianity e.g. in Kenya, the kikuyu saw no difference between the colonialists and missionaries.
- Due to colonialism, East Africans refused to join Christianity thinking that the Christian missionaries were agents of European colonialist.
Qn. Asses the contribution of colonialism towards the spread of the church