Methods used by the missionaries to spread the gospel in East Africa.

  • Methods used by the missionaries to spread the gospel in East Africa.The missionaries used a number of methods to conceive people to get converted to Christianity as explained
  • They carried out missionary journey from one place to another spreading the gospel and winning more converts.
  • They condemned and fought slave trade and slavery in East Africa hence attracting many Africans to get
  • They emerged in preaching and teaching of Christianity to the Africans hence converting them to
  • They established ex-slave rehabilitation centre e.g. Bagamoyi and Rabai- Mpya from where ex-slaves were
    converted to Christianity.
  • Missionaries condemned some African cultural beliefs which were painful hence bringing many Africans to the church e.g. they condemned circumcision of boys and girls among the Kikuyu and Sabiny respectively
  • Missionaries preached against Islam hence interfering with its spread and providing room for the rapid growth of the church.
  • They established churches and mission centers which served as centres evangelism. They included Rabai
    Mpya to the Coast and Rubaga cathedral, Namirembe cathedral e in the interior
  • They befriended and worked closely with African leaders such as Kings and chiefs through whom the
    gospel was accepted by common people
  • They used some Africans as interpreters which solved the problem of language barrier and brought more
    people to the church e.g. kabaka Mutesa I of Buganda served as an interpreter of the Buganda traditional
  • Missionaries softened the hearts of Africans through their preaching and teachings hence converting more
    Africans. They used sweet words like happy are the poor for the kingdom of God belongs to them hence
    making more Africans to get converted.
  • Missionaries translated scriptures into some local language making it easy for Africans to read the gospel
    and get converted e.g. Alexander Mackey translated part of the New Testament into Uganda.
  • They under took linguistic study in which they learnt some local languages and also taught Africans some
    foreign languages which made communication easy.
  • Missionaries trained some African evangelist to preach the gospel to fellow Africans which made
    Christianity easily accepted by the Africans e.g. Apollo Kivebulaya was sent to spread the gospel in Toro.
  • Missionaries built roads and railway line that linked their mission station and this made their movement
    possible hence spreading the gospel.
  • They introduced and developed cash crop growing crops like cotton and coffee which made African to join
    the church.
  • They requested funds from their home government which boosted their missionary work in East Africa. E.g. they used such money to help the needy which attracted them to Christianity.
  • They provided employment opportunities to some Africans which also convinced them to join the church.
    E.g. Semei kakungulu was employed as an interpreter by the CMS which attracted other people to join
  • They also used force where people had resisted them in order to scare them to get converted to Christianity e.g. during religious wars I Uganda.
  • The developed legitimate trade that involved exchange of goods and service and this replaced slave trade
    hence attracting many people to Christianity.
  • Christianity called upon their home government the areas that they had converted e.g. the CMS called upon
    the British government to come and take over Uganda and Kenya which strengthened Christianity.
  • They used to give out free gifts and unique items to the Africans hence winning their hearts e.g. in Uganda
    they gave out mirrors, beads, clothes etc which lead many Ugandans to accept the gospel.
  • They provided western medical services to the Africans which also weakened their hearts and got converted.
    They put up health centres like Mulago and Mengo hospital which treated the sick hence convincing them to
    join Christianity.
  • They provided western formal education to the African converts teaching them how to read and write which
    influenced other people to get converted.


  1. Discuss the method/ strategies applied by the missionaries to spread the church in East Africa.
    (25 marks)
  2. Examine how the missionaries coped up with the challenges they faced in East Africa. (25
  3. Account for the missionary success while in East Africa. (25 marks)


Dr. Johann Ludwig Krapf and his role in the spread of Christianity in East Africa

Dr Johann Ludwig Krapf was the first European missionary to volunteer to work to East Africa especially at
the coast where they were very many problems.
He was a Germany which worked with the CMS and he amerced in Zanzibar in 1844.

Krapf contributed the following towards the spread of Christianity in East Africa.

  • He opened a way for the coming of other missionaries in East Africa with whom he spread Christianity e.g. he attracted Rebmann to come and spread the gospel with him.
  • He established the first mission station in East Africa at Rabai Mpya which served as a centre of evangelism.
  • He also established the first mission school at Rabai Mpya where many African were taught how to read and
  • write and were taught bible study.
  • Krapf translated the New Testament into Kiswahili hence contributing the easy spread and understanding of
  • Christianity.
  • He contributed to the linguistic study through teaching Africans English as well as himself learning most of the languages with Africans in the interior of East Africa. In this, he translated the English dictionary into Kiswahili hence making communication easy.
  • He engaged in the preaching of the gospel to some African who responded by getting converted and abandoning their pagans life
  • He carried out missionary journeys to several African communities such as the Gala, Nandi etc and these hostile people ended up joining Christianity.
  • He condemned slave trade and slavery just like Dr. David Livingstone; this also helped to attract many Africans into Christianity.
  • He established the first home of ex-slaves in East Africa at Rabai-Mpya which enabled him to preach and convert these former slaves to Christianity
  • He trained some Africans into church leadership as many of them graduated as catechists, priests who continued preaching the gospel to fellow Africans
  • He provided charity services like treating the sick Africans from tropical diseases for example malaria and small pox hence attracting many of them to Christianity.
  • Krapf transformed some of the coastal areas into centre of evangelism hence attracting other missionary groups into Africa e.g. Rabai-Mpya turned into the headquarters of the missionaries.
  • He established a close relationship with the coastal Arabs e.g. Seyyid said which created a peaceful environment for the Christian missionaries leading to the spread of the gospel.
  • Krapf established a calm and close relationship with some African societies like the Gala which opened up East Africa to Christian missionary activities.
  • In conclusion , Krapf was all in all. He worked as a teacher, preacher and missionary who did his work
  • responding to the great commission of Jesus Christ.

Problems Faced By Krapf in His Ministry

In 1854, Krapf had a problem of poor health brought by poor climatic conditions which made him to leave Africa and go back to Europe for treatment

  • He was also resisted by some Africa communities for example Akamba people in Kenya who even planned
  • to kill him but he learnt of it and he escaped.
  • Some merciless people stole his belongings and facilities like food and medicine. This also happened in
  • Akamba land leaving him in trouble and in the mercy of God.
  • His ascetic gospel that he preached was a problem i.e. he preached a gospel of self denial and leaving all worldly enjoyment which made it hard for him to win followers.
  • In the early days of his life, krapf was greatly puzzled by the untimely death of his wife which always put him in fear and worries.
  • Krapf also lost his fellow missionaries in East Africa e.g. Johann Wagner who died at Rabai-Mpya reduced
  • man power and put down Krapf’s morale.
  • Krapf reached East Africa when slave trade was so much and this denied him security and appropriate time
  • to spread the gospel.
  • He faced a problem of language barrier since he never knew African languages at the beginning. He therefore had to learn. African languages which took him a lot of time that would have used to spread the gospel.
  • He found it hard to penetrate the interior of E.A because of the thick forest, wild animals and valleys. These made him concentrated in a few areas leaving out other areas.
  • He had a challenge of poor means of transport and communication in E.A at that time which hindered his movements hence hindering the spread of Christianity.
  • He found it hard to preach the gospel to the strong African traditional believers. This is because they were deeply rooted in their traditional beliefs and krapf could no t change them e.g. Nandi and Masai.
  • The long missionary journeys in East Africa also proved to be challenge to him because they were very tiresome.
  • The unfamiliar climatic conditions in E.A characterized by too much rain fall and too much sunshine reduced the speed at which Krapf was spreading the gospel.
  • He faced enmity from some traditional leaders who had been taken up by slave trade and converting them to Christianity was very hard e.g. Tip tip and Mirambo.
  • Krapf encountered shortage of funds and basic necessities like medicine and food to take care of the ex-slaves at Rabai Mpya.
  • He encountered geographical barriers such as valleys, mountains, thick forests etc in his attempt to penetrate into the interior to preach the gospel.


  1. Discuss the contribution Dr. Johann Krapf in his church mission of E.A. (13 marks)
  2. What challenges did he encounter in spreading the church in E.A. (12 marks)

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