Wesleyan Methodist Missions in Southern Rhodesia, 1891-1945
Zvobgo, Chengetai Jonas Mudadirwa
This thesis covers the history of the besleyan Methodist missions in Southern Rhodesia frost 1891 to 1945. Several aspects of Rhodesian Methodists are discussed, including the religious, educational, literary, and nodical aspects, and the role of the missionaries in African Welfare. Before examining the work of the Methodist missions in Southern Rhodesia, the traditional religion of the two major African peoples in Southern Rhodesia, the Sboaa and Ndebele, is discussed in order to provide the framework within which the missionaries worked when they arrived in the country. The background to Hhodesian Methodises; the establishment of the first Methodist missions in Hashonaland from the time the missionaries arrived up to the outbreak of the Hatabele war of 1893; the Matabele war itself and its results from the missionaries' standpoint; the establishment of Methodist missions in Hatabeleland and Mashoaaiand from the end of the Matabele war until Che outbreak of the Kdebele and Shone risings in March and June of 1896, are also discussed. The causes of the hdebele and Shone risings of 1896-7 against the regime of the British South Africa Company and the results of the two risings on the country as a whole and on the Methodist missions in particular, form another important theme of this thesis. Several aspects of the work of the Methodist missions from the supression of the hdebele and Shona risings in 1897 up to the end of the First World War in 1918, are studied in detail. These include the establishment of more Methodist mission stations in Matabeleland and Hasbonalaud; the African response to Christianity and the literary and medical work carried out during this period. One of the most important contributions of the Methodists in Southern Rhodesia was in the field of African education. The taajor Methodist educational institutions established between 1893 and 1918 and between 1919 and 1945 are studied in detail and their contribution to African education is assessed. Several aspects of the work of the Methodist Missions in Southern Rhodesia between 1916 and 1945 are also discussed. These include, first, the expansion of the Methodist Church through four movements, the Ruwadsano/Hauyaco movement, the Girls' Christian Union, the Men's Christian Union and the Boys' Christian Union) second, the rules and regulations governing the membership of the Methodist Church in Southern Rhodesia and the problems encountered in enforcing these rules and regulations; third, the literary work carried out during this period; fourth, the phenomenon of independency, and in particular, the secession of the Rev. E.T.J, iiemapure from the Methodist Church to form his own African Methodist Church; and fifth, an assessment of the achievements of the Methodist Church in Southern Rhodesia during this period. An examination is made of the role played by the missionaries generally and by the Methodists in particular in African welfare between 1914 and 1945, especially on the land and franchise questions and the role pleyed by the Methodist missionary, the Rev. Percy Ibbotson, in African welfare, particularly in his capacity as Organising Secretary of the Federation of Native Welfare Societies in Southern Rhodesia, Finally, the significance of Christian missions generally and the Methodist missions in particular in the history of Southern Rhodesia, is assessed.