Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Travelling around the north of Zambia I became aware of the missionary priests who had come to the Country over a hundred years ago. At Kasama there is a small graveyard for the early missionary priests – The White fathers. Missionaries, like explorers, seem to have varied greatly in the way they dealt with the people they met. The White Fathers seem to have been generally well received in Zambia. I was surprised (though perhaps I shouldn't have been) by the fact that so many were in their early 30s when they died having only been in the country for a short time. I was also surprised that in the north of Zambia, close to the Tanzanian border, slave traders operated. The missionaries provided a place of refuge for some fleeing from those bent on taking them into captivity. The church at Kisama has a thick wall surrounding it, with strategically placed holes from which to fire at any attackers.
There is no doubt that to be a missionary in Africa 100 years ago was a very dangerous occupation and must have took tremendous courage.