A world of complexities: Relationship between Missionaries and Colonial Government in Mbeya Region, Tanzania

  • Ashura Jackson Ngoya


This paper is an attempt to examine the complex relationship between missionaries and colonial government in the Mbeya region of the Southern Province of Tanzania. In particular, it examines why complexities existed on social, economic and political developments during the colonial period. The paper diverges from the common understanding of connecting missionaries with the spread of Christianity and the way it paved the way for colonisation. It analyses the complexity on the way missionaries and colonial officers handled education, health, agriculture, land and moral issues. Complexity was in terms of interface, interactions and dealing with issues, which brought that complexity on the basis of their differences in philosophies where colonialism was based on secularism while missionary activities were based on theology and philosophy, humanitarianism and religionism. This paper is based on a careful analysis of oral interviews, archival documents and secondary data. The paper argues that missionary’s relationship with the colonial government changed over time and space, from mutual or complementary to a complex or conflict relationship. Missionaries’ philosophy and theological perspectives determined the changing nature of the relationship between missionaries and the colonial government in Mbeya.

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eISSN: 1596-5031