The Leven House Factor in the Birth of Digo Mission and Christian Empire in East Africa




Leven House, Digo Mission, English missions, Protestant missions, Church Missionary Society, Ludwig Krapf, William Owen, Mazrui family


Leven House, as it exists in the 21st century in Mombasa city of Kenya, remains one of the most historic buildings in eastern Africa. In our focus on both the birth of the Christian Empire in East Africa (that stretches from the Kenyan Coast to the Democratic Republic of Congo), and the Digo Mission that began in 1904, Leven House becomes a critical issue. As the Anglican Diocese of Mombasa commemorated 114 years of the Digo Mission (1904–2018) in December 2018, serious issues emerged regarding the birth of Protestant Christianity in the region. One of the issues is the nature of English missions during the 19th and 20th centuries in Africa, where the Christian symbol of the flag was preceded by the British flag. The second issue is the nature of Arabic civilisation on the East African coast, which went hand-in-hand with the spread of Islam. Third is the conflict among the three ruling Omani dynasties (Yorubi, Busaidi, and Mazrui) as one major factor that ironically favoured Christian missions in eastern Africa. Fourth is the role of Mazrui-Omani Arabs, a Muslim society, in midwifing Christianity in East Africa. Was Christianity in East Africa mid-wifed by Mazrui-Omani Arabs via their provision of Leven House to the British soldiers in 1824? Was the feuding of the three Arab Omani clans a blessing in disguise that aided the establishment of the British Empire and the Christian missions that went hand-in-hand? In its methodology, the article historicises the issues at hand in order to retrace the events that paved ways for the establishment of the Christian Empire and the Digo Mission in particular. In a nutshell, the problem statement is: What is the role of Leven House in the establishment of the Digo Mission in particular, and Christian Empire in general?


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Author Biography

Julius M. Gathogo, Kenyatta University, Kenya

Senior Lecturer

Kenyatta University

Mombasa Campus