Get this product
Establishing the Mission: The American Friends Board of Foreign Mission (AFBFM) was established in 1867 and responsible for introducing Yearly Meetings in Japan, Cuba, Jamaica, East Africa and part of India. Britain’s Friends Foreign Mission Association was instituted in 1868, which established Madagascar, Mid-India, part of West China, Pemba and Lebanon/ Palestine. The local running of these overseas Yearly Meetings came around fifty years after their foundation. Kenya itself was inspired by Willis Hotchkiss, who had previously spent four years there. In 1902, AFBFM mooted a Friends Africa Industrial Mission, with the primary goal ‘the evangelization of the heathen’. Hotchkiss, Edgar T. Hole and Arthur B. Chilson were chosen for Kenya, on the way garnering support from Britain and Ireland.
In Kaimosi, Quaker missionaries sought assistance from the British Colonial Government, local chiefs working with the British, and the indigenous population. Friends, however, came into conflict with the Government by supporting Kenyans’ education and the North Kavirondo Central Association, part of a political movement encompassing the Mau Mau (anti-colonial guerrillas).
Nevertheless, Friends recognised that cooperation with the British administrative structure was imperative and worked fruitfully with local chiefs – despite indigenous customs such as circumcision, drinking and polygamy – who themselves occupied an uneasy balance between the British and Africans. Friends also fostered relationships with “approachable’ locals’: the author proposes that many Africans conceptualised whites as badly as most whites (including Quakers) did Africans. However, Friends continued to act for equality, albeit accompanied by encouraging local converts (like Daudi Lungaho and Yohana Amugane) to wear plain garb. By 1907, African converts were undertaking missionary work independent of the Missionaries. Western education, industry and medicine were also deployed.
Spreading the Word: ‘If statistics are anything to go by, the Africans seem to have been readily accepting of this new lifestyle’, although, the author argues, ‘the desire to read and write seems to have been the major attraction’. Local converts Lungaho and Amugane were instrumental in the spread of Quakerism. They had been taught to read and write, and in turn taught others, who went on to found schools; 85 sites with 4,000 pupils by 1921, and 349 with 38, 300 pupils in 1952. The author suggests that such self-help contributed to the twentieth-century political development of Kenya; something which the Alliance High School near Nairobi – the only African secondary school, and one with numerous Quaker students – is also credited with. Quaker alumni included Joseph D. Otiende, who was appointed Minister of Education by head of state Jomo Kenyatta after Kenyan Independence in 1963. The author also emphasises the Quaker connections of Kenyatta, who guided Kenya peacefully and spent time at Woodbrooke Quaker College, Birmingham.
Mixed Successes: The Friends Centre at Kaimosi sat at the boundary between several tribes and was therefore at the locus of conflict. Their intervention could positively influence events. Conversely, it could exacerbate trouble. The Nandi Crisis (originating in the conflict between Nandi and Tiriki) centred on cattle and border disputes, which precipitated the stationing of colonial police at Kaimosi. In the febrile atmosphere, a young American Friend, William Wende, was the subject of mistaken identity and shot with a poison arrow. Government retribution was ‘heavy handed’ and disquiet continued. However, three months after hostilities ceased, the Mission was reconciled with the Nandi, who went on to attend Quaker Meetings and tutors. Less successful was Willis Hotchkiss’ splinter Mission to bring peace to an area of the Kalenjin tribe. Cultural misunderstanding frustrated intentions. Hotchkiss recounted an incident told to him of warring local chiefs who had marked their reconciliation by spitting at each other, then at a missionary, who, perceiving aggression and not the local sign of friendliness, ‘knocked them down’…
Click here to download the whole of the thesis summary
- Introduction to the Quaker understanding of ministerial vocation
- On Earth as it is in Heaven
- Early Quaker Christology
- Introduction to Friendly patriots: British quakerism and the imperial nation
- The Quaker experience in Kenya
- Quaker women in South Africa during the apartheid era
- Introduction to On Earth as it is in Heaven
- Introduction to Early Quaker Christology
- Introduction to in Love and Life
- Quakerly Conflict