Y.Z. MWASI AND THE ORIGINS OF THE BLACKMAN'S CHURCH BY JOHN PARRATT (University of Malawi) One of the most important secession from the Livingstonia Synod, that of the Blackman's Church of Yesaya Zerenji Mwasi, not only displayed the frustrations felt by African ministers in colonial Malawi - rustrations which of ten had a role to play in the founding of in- dependent movements-but also provided the occasion for an im- passioned plea for a truly indigenous church which was in many respects far ahead of its time. In the pages that follow I have, as far as possible, relied upon the documentary evidence afforded both by the official papers of the Livingstonia Synod and also by Mwasi's own statement of secession, supplemented where possible by oral reports dealing with the period in question. Yesaya Zerenji Mwasi was born about 1869, the son of a minor chief and village headman. His father's elder brother was chief Ng'ombo of the Akapunda Banda clan, whose village was situated near the Chiwandama Falls on the Liweya River. Little is known of his early life except that he attended the Livingstonia Mission school at Bandawe, where he became a pupil-teacher. According to his
Journal of Religion in Africa – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1978
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