Mission and Colonialism in Southern Rhodesia: Locating Subtle Colonial and Imperialist Tendencies in Arthur Shearly Cripps’s Mission at Maronda Mashanu (1901–1952)

  • Paul Gundani University of South Africa
Keywords: Cripps, segregation, colonialism, imperialism, paternalism, Maronda Mashanu, Mashonaland


Academic interest in the life, mission and literary works of Fr Arthur Shearly Cripps of Maronda Mashanu mission, Southern Rhodesia, has not ceased. The reason for this interest derives from the fact that Cripps was one of the most eccentric if vociferous critics of the policies of the British South Africa Company (BSAC) and successive Southern Rhodesian governments. Generally, historiography on the Rhodesian Christian mission portrays him in a positive light, and as one of the rare missionaries to take on the mantle of being an advocate for the rights of oppressed Africans, the Shona people, in particular. Furthermore, his independent mission experiment and innovation at Maronda Mashanu mission, near Enkeldoorn (Chivhu), Southern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe), accompanied with his poetic repertoire, resulted in his characterisation as “God’s Irregular.” The growing corpus of literature on Cripps’s life and work is a reflection of the interest that followed Cripps in life and death. The purpose of this article is to attempt to locate the agency of the oppressed subjects in Cripps’s mission on the basis of secondary sources available. The study is, therefore, a qualitative desk-top analysis of secondary sources available.

Author Biography

Paul Gundani, University of South Africa

University of South Africa

Department of Christian Spirituality, Church History and Missiology