before the advent of colonization and the coming of European The Christian faith occupies a complicated, often racialized place in the history of Blacks all over the globe because of how it was abused by White colonists and slave traders to subjugate Blacks. “Christianity was a double-edged sword [for African-Americans],” says Dr. Lawrence H. Mamiya, Professor of Religion and Africana Studies at Vassar College and co-author of The Black Church in the African American Experience. The trend would however pick up in the late 19th Century as explorers like David Livingstone and Henry-Morton Stanley explored deeper into the African interior with the professed intention of spreading the ‘Gospel and ‘Civilization’. document.write(''); site = "ghanaweb.com"; It is often said that missionaries from Europe during the colonial days came down from Europe to Africa in their quest of spreading Christianity on a But long before colonialism and slavery, Africans were practicing Christianity. “The leaders of black churches, the clergy, originally came from African priests, and so they were looked upon as leaders of the community.” He adds, “At least in the 19th century, they were the most educated of the community. . The early Christian missionaries and missionaries worked hand in hand with the colonizers. century before this religion had really taken root anywhere in Later, Nat Turner led a bloody slave revolt while Denmark Vesey plotted one, both citing Christian visions as their motivation. This said, many think of Christianity as "the White man's religion.". We have already mentioned Egypt’s literacy, Ethiopia was also literate and even had poetic forms such as the Qene and Mawandes as early as 1BC, predating Christianity and Islam, nullifying the possibility of having been … Christianity was introduced in North Africa as early as the first century AD., but it was only in the late nineteenth century, when colonialism was advancing, that Christianity seriously increased its presence on the continent (Ray, 1976: 193). Gifford, P. 1994. Historically Jesus was actually taken to the northern part of Africa (Egypt) as a child. All rights reserved. This website or its third-party tools use cookies, which are necessary to its functioning and required to achieve the purposes illustrated in the privacy policy. Copyright © 1994 - 2020 GhanaWeb. Subsequently displaced by Islam in the 7th and 8th centuries, the ancient Coptic and Orthodox churches nevertheless remain active in Egypt, Ethiopia, and Eritrea today. During colonialism roads were built. Christianity was the religion of the Westerners. “As of the 7th to 8th century, African warriors were fighting in Europe under the banner of the lion and the half-moon in order to bring the truth faith, Christianity or Islam, to Europe. Pioneer medical missions in colonial Africa. Advisory Council members include at least eleven African scholars and religious leaders. The two largest colonial powers in Africa were France and Britain, both of which controlled two-thirds of Africa before World War I and more than 70 percent after the war (see Table 4.1). TV & Film, Entertainment But long before colonialism and slavery, Africans were practicing Christianity. And you’ll see that tradition continue.” He cites Reverend Jesse Jackson, Sr. and Reverend Al Sharpton who both ran for President, Representative Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. who was pastor of the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, Pennsylvania politician Reverend Bill Gray, and former Congressman Reverend Floyd Flake, as examples. To many European nations, Christianity represented western civilization and the basis for Anglo-Saxon morality. 103-115 103 Printed in Great Britain COLONIALISM AND CHRISTIANITY IN WEST AFRICA: THE IGBO CASE, 1900-19151 BY F.K. And so they emerged as political leaders…after the Civil War. // End --> Europe.” Akinyi Princess of K’Orinda Yimbo. continent. The purpose of this course will be to study the development of religion in Africa in the period before the European takeover of the continent. It cannot be said that Christianity is a colonial relic or symbolism of slavery since evidentially the existence of the religion precede colonization. Atheists, secularists, humanists and others … Yes it did but not in Sub Saharan Africa. Most often both academic and non-intellectuals based on historical understanding conclude that Europeans brought or introduced Christianity to Africa. and features to “Jerusalem long lost or not, Christianity is Afro-orient, not European. Christianity being introduced to the horn of Africa clearly is not as a result of missionary work of Europeans. There are plenty of objections which have been raised against Christianity over the centuries. One historical fact that is widely held by church historians is that Christianity started well before the era of colonialism. Christianity served as a major force in the partition and eventual colonization of Africa (Boahen 12). Due to the Victorian concept of women held by colonialists, African women were excluded from the new religious, political, and socioeconomic systems. EKECHI CHRISTIAN missionary attempts to convert the Igbos to Christianity began in 1857. Gender & Sexuality, Faith/Spirituality Your email address will not be published. By the end of the 2nd century it had reached the region around Carthage. Prior to this time, world superpowers such as Portugal, France, and Britain had already set up colonies in Africa. European missionaries especially from Portugal, France, Britain, and Germany went to Africa under the premise of going to convert the locals to Christianity. With a new exhibit she has curated called “Ashe to Amen: African Americans and Biblical Imagery”, King-Hammond examines what Black people did with the religion once they were in America. In an attempt to augment political and regional influence, nations like Great Britain and France needed a justification … Present day African leaders use exactly the same logic to bamboozle the people. The West Africa region had griots, wandering human encyclopaedias who were capable of recalling events and people long-long passed. In the years 1884 and 1885, the Berlin Conference formalized European colonization of Africa. It is recognizable that historically Christianity came to Sub-Sahara Africa in the 15th century but that cannot over shadow the fact that Christianity was already on the continent before the coming of colonial imperialist. Christianity in Africa goes back to the earliest days of the church, when it spread along the Mediterranean and Red Sea coastlands of north and northeast Africa and their hinterlands. document.write(user + '@' + site + ''); The period from the mid-1800s to the early 1900s marked the zenith of imperial rule in Africa. user = "newswires"; [On the other hand,] the Africans adapted Christianity for their survival and liberation.”. With the knowledge in mind that Africans actually play a crucial role in the expansion of the religion in Europe, one cannot make the assertion that Europeans actually introduced Africans to the religion. Required fields are marked *, The Blacks of the 1960s: Black History from the Pages of EBONY, Black History from the Pages of EBONY: The Black Americans of the 1980’s, Trailblazing NASA mathematician, Katherine Johnson, depicted in ‘Hidden Figures,’ dead at 101, Black History from the Pages of EBONY: The African-Americans of the 1990s. “Ashe to Amen” will be on display through May 26th at the Museum of Biblical Art in New York before traveling to the Reginald F. Lewis Museum in Baltimore and the Dixon Gallery and Gardens in Memphis, Tennessee. With that link to that part of the continent, the people were accommodating to I do not want to dwell on this one. Trajectories in African Christianity. but lacked the theoretical base. Faith/Spirituality The colonial governments used Christianity to entrench oppression in Africa. Yet today the myth of a pre-colonial sexual innocence, or more fittingly, ignorance, is used to endorse anti-gay legislation and stir up homophobia and persecution in Africa. Lifestyle, This Easter, over two billion Christians around the world will celebrate "the Resurrection of Christ," and a large percentage of them will be Black. This was the original model of colonialism brought by the Dutch in 1652, and subsequently exported from the Western Cape to the Afrikaner Republics of the Orange Free State and the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek. Mamiya puts the connection the phenomenon of Black clergymen/politicians in historical context. Northeast Africa and Middle East the slavery and Forced Labour Model hand, ] the Africans adapted for... Hand with the colonizers relic or symbolism of slavery since evidentially the existence of religion! 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