Church and Empire: Evangelisation by the OMI among British, Indians, Afrikaners and Indigenous People of Southern Africa (1852–1874)

Keywords: Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI), Church and Empire, Colony of Natal, Lesotho, British Settlers, Afrikaners, Indians, Indigenous people of southern Africa

Abstract

The British proclaimed the Colony of Natal on 4 May 1843. Therefore, the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate entered a British Colony to begin their work among the indigenous people of southern Africa. There was further contact with colonial society during the Basotho Wars (1858–1868), when Blessed Joseph Gerard supported Chief Moshoeshoe. This explains the options taken by the Oblates to work in close collaboration with the indigenous people in their fight to defend their property and sovereignty. The period covered is from 1852 until 1874 when Bishop Allard was in charge of the Vicariate of Natal. This paper deals with why the Oblates were more successful in Lesotho than among the Zulu in Natal. Brief mention is made of Indians in Durban, British missionaries in Natal and Afrikaners during the Lesotho wars. The role of culture in the evangelisation of people is an important theme within missiology and pastoral theology today. There needs to be an investigation why this was not the case in the early stages of evangelisation in South Africa and Lesotho—as being considered within this study. The first steps of evangelisation among the Zulu and Basotho were quite different and indicate growth in awareness and strategy of the Oblate missionaries in the effort to evangelise the indigenous people. The works of Brain, Skhakhane, Levasseur and Zorn were consulted, and archival resources from the Hurley Archives (Missions 1867–1868) investigated. The correspondence of Bishop Allard and his Journal Failure and Vindication was also consulted in the research process.

Author Biography

Alan Charles Henriques, University of KwaZulu-Natal

School of Religion, Philosophy and Classics

University of KwaZulu-Natal

Pietermaritzburg, South Africa

Published
2019-08-15
Section
Articles