AFRICANS VIEWED IN THE MISSIONARY MIRROR Shifts in the 'Black-white' Thinking of Dutch Missionaries on Africans and Their Culture in East Africa 1945-1965 Albert de Jong 1. Introduction . The missionary evangelisation of Africa in modem times began in the 19th Century. Missionaries came into contact with non-Christian cultures and peoples. In so doing they were directly confronted with the question between Christian belief and African culture. In general it can be said that the average missionary, up to the Second Vatican Council, had a negative and destructive approach to African culture. He condemned and rejected non-Christian beliefs, morals and social practices. Cultural differences were viewed in terms of the opposition between Christian and heathen, an opposition, moreover, that was closely linked to that between a superior and an inferior culture.' The origin of this attitude to African human values and traditions must be sought in 'the spiritual captivity of the Western missionaries within their own culture.'2 They interpreted culture and civilisation ethnocentrically. The Christian norms and values lived in the European context were declared to be suited to African culture without any critical discernment. In addition, as children of their time they were completely swayed by the
Exchange – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2001
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