57 Willem Saayman "EX AFRICA SEMPER ALIQUID NOVI": Some Random Reflections on Challenges to Christian Mission Arising in Africa in the Twenty-first Century* Introduction Western peoples, especially Europeans, have always had a fascinating love/hate relationship with Africa.' Africa was (is!?) "The dark continent," the concrete representative of those unknown dark, evil powers which so many white Christians find so fascinatingly abhorrent. Ancient texts from as early as the fifth century CE show that eremitic monks pictured the devil as black (Smith 1984: 145). When the voyages of discovery of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries therefore brought a whole continent peopled with "primitive" dark-colored "heathen" peoples to the attention of "christianized" and thoroughly "civilized" Europe, it was quite understandable that Africa could be presented as the bastion of evil powers which had to be subjected in the name of Christ and civilization. It comes as no surprise, therefore, that many of the first missionaries described African peoples in the most degrading terms as brutal savages with no concept of God, of good and evil. All their social institutions reflected only depravity and brutality, and it was the God-given calling and privilege of western peoples (who were all good, civilized
Mission Studies – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 2003
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