125 Years of Catholicism in Zambia: The History and Mission of the Church in the Provision of University Education

Keywords: Catholicism, history, mission, religious resource, university education


This article is based on an inquiry of the 125 years of Catholicism in Zambia, with reference to the history and mission of the Roman Catholic Church in providing university education. The observable expansion of the church’s involvement in university education has not received attention in academia and therefore needed analysis; as religion and scholarship have been devoid of the Christian university movement discourse in the country. Informed by interpretivism, the study followed an interpretative case study approach. Data were collected through document reviews and recorded interviews and were inductively analysed. The findings of the study revealed that the church has expanded its presence in the provision of university education, through the establishment of the Zambia Catholic University. The article contends that contrary to how the Catholic Church’s involvement in education was portrayed, which was seen to be only centred on the church’s involvement in primary and secondary education, the contemporary history of the church has transformed through the expansion of its mission to provide university education. The church has used religion as a resource to not only respond to societal needs but is now also using the university as a vehicle to promote the church and for integral development.

Author Biographies

Nelly Mwale, University of Zambia
Lecturer in the Department of Religious Studies
Melvin Simuchimba, University of Zambia


Department of Religious Studies