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By the 19th century missionary activities had started in Africa. The pioneers were the protestant churches of Europe and America. It was only later that Roman arrived especially from France. The domination of missionaries were the London missionary society, the church missionary society, Roman Catholic missionary society and the universities mission to central Africa (UMCA).

Few Christian missionaries were directly active agents of imperialism. They were essential ingredients of the increasingly assertive European access to Africa. However In most cases European Christian played an important role in promoting and shaping the advent of European capitalism.The role played by missionaries in the colonisation of Africa are;-

1. They acted as interpreters and propagandists at the time of treaty making:Mofat stayed among the Ndebele for about 30 years serving the British South African company (BSAC) for treaty making between the companies (BSAC) and King Lobengula.

2. They acted as advisors to African chiefs:The British missionaries of the church missionary society convinced Kabaka to accept protectorate.

3. They introduced Western civilisation to the interior through education and schools: Thisaimed to prepare people of low ranks to serving colonial masters at the time of colonisation.

4.Missionaries softened the minds and the hearts of Africans: Their activities were influenced by European imperialists’ interests by preaching and emphasising the spiritual beliefs such as “give to God what which belongs to God,” and “give to Ceaser what belongs to Ceaser”. In the long run this preaching weakened African opposition and shaped the regions for future colonial administration.

5. They converted Africans to the new faith: They were easily employed as puppets to extend colonial rule. Typical examples are the converts of Sierra Leone, Nigeria and Ghana who were able to protect the British economic interests and paved the way for future colonisation by the British.

6. Missionaries reduced resistance among African societies: This was done by converting some societies and preaching obedience to administrators.

7. Introduction of new crops: Horner grew coffee at Bagamoyo around 1870 the church missionaries society grew cotton in Uganda. This prepared people to acquire the skills which were important for future cash crop production during the colonial era.

8. They helped in the abolition of slave trade: Theyplanned for successful Christianisation of the freed slaves as they preached the word of God. They wanted to create the conducive and peaceful environment for the development of legitimate trade which was exploitative in nature and was after capitalists interests.

9. Missionaries had closer links with rulers and interfered even in political matters:They allied European imperialism while they were working in the interior of Africa. This situation provoked the hostility from African rulers. In this case missionaries appealed strongly for the protection from their home governments, which later led to effective colonisation.

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