Problems Faced By Bombay Africans 

Problems Faced By Bombay Africans 

  • Just as the missionaries, Bombay Africans also faced hostility from slave raiders at the coast and in the interior of East Africa which made their work difficult.
  • Language barrier also challenged many of them in spreading the good news to different tribes especially those who did not know the local languages.
  • They faced a challenge of stiff competition from Islam which had already been established in East Africa.
  • Some of them were mistaken to be European collaborators who wanted to colonize the East Africans.
  • They suffered racial segregation from the missionaries as they were denied top leadership positions in the church because they were seen as inferior.
  • Some African communities didn’t welcome the Africans and so they became hostile to them and turned them into food e.g. the Nandi man eaters.
  • They encountered geographical barriers in their work characterized by rivers, mountains and forests which were very hard to penetrate so as to spread good news.
  • Some of them suffered from tropical diseases like malaria, smallpox etc which frustrated their work of spreading Christianity.
  • They were faced with conservative African cultural beliefs which made many Africans not to get converted to Christianity especially the Nandi.
  • They faced a problem of inadequate facilitation to do their work effectively. E.g. they were not well paid in terms of money by missionaries at sometimes missionaries delayed to supply them with food.
  • Bombay Africans were very few in number and therefore were over worked and suffered from fatigue and this affected their progress.
  • They were always unhappy due to the missionary harsh and hostile treatment of Africans in the camps especially in the Frere town which caused conflicts between them and missionaries.
  • Bombay Africans were highly frustrated by the poor rewards or remunerations given to them by missionaries given the too much work they were doing.
  • Missionaries didn’t trust the Bombay Africans in that those in positions of responsibility were closely monitored which annoyed the Bombay Africans and they reduced their spirit of serving the church.
  • Missionaries and Bombay Africans always conflicted over African culture i.e. Bombay Africans supported some practices like circumcision which the missionaries opposed which affected the church negatively.

Hostile Relationship between Bombay Africans and the Missionaries

At first, the relationship between the Bombay Africans and the missionaries was so smooth in the proclaiming of the good news.

However from 1870s and on, the relationship between the two groups started to get bitter and it deteriorated to the extent that they completely fell apart.

Causes of the Poor Relationship between the Two Groups
  • The denial of Bombay Africans leadership opportunities in the church and Frere town something that was condemned by William.
  • Bombay Africans were subjected to too much work by the missionaries which exhausted them and started disobeying the missionaries.
  • The missionaries used to take themselves as superior and considered the Bombay Africans as inferior which also caused the bitter relationship.
  • The missionaries always treated the Bombay Africans as children whom they had helped to raise up which also annoyed the Africans
  • Missionaries mistrusted the Bombay Africans whom they gave position of responsibility in the church i.e. they strictly supervised them which demoralized the Bombay Africans.
  • Bombay Africans were never happy with the missionary hostile treatment of Africans at Frere town i.e. they always caned, imprisoned and given little food as punishments to the crimes committed.
  • Some Bombay Africans were frustrated by the poor payments they were given yet they were doing a lot of work. They looked at it as a sign of no appreciation to the great services they offered.
  • The two groups also conflicted over some African cultures especially circumcision among the kikuyu and Nandi i.e. the missionaries opposed it yet Bombay Africans supported it hence the disagreement.
  • The discriminatory tendencies of missionaries towards Africans non converts made some Bombay Africans un comfortable with the missionary journeys also led to the poor relationship between the two groups.
  • The influence of Bishop Hannington at the coast who saw how the services of the Bombay Africans were under looked and discredited by the missionaries caused the bitter relationship.
  • Suspicion, mistrust and discomfort between the two groups also caused the conflicts that led to the division of the two groups.
  • The departure of Sir Bartle Frere the only understanding European who highly appreciated and respected the services of Bombay Africans led to increased conflicts between missionaries and Bombay Africans.
  • The untidy death of Bishop Hannington in 1885 in Busoga who was being escorted by a Bombay African called William Jones who wasn’t killed caused suspicion between the two groups.
  • The missionaries at Frere town over worked the African ex-slaves which the Bombay Africans interpreted as racial segregation causing the poor relationships.
  • The Bombay Africans felt cheated due to the missionary refusal to leave the coastal mission centers to also go to the interior to preach i.e. they always made the Bombay Africans to go to the interior and remote areas.
  • Missionaries disregarded almost all African norms and values for example Africans were meant to lose their cultural norms and only adopt European Christian norms.

Qn. Account for the bitter relationship between the missionaries and the Bombay Africans Justify the existence of the conflicts between the missionaries and the Bombay Africans.

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