This thesis explores the roots of East Africa Yearly Meeting, at the time of writing the largest Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends in the world, with 50,000 members. The study centres on the American Friends’ Mission to Kaimosi, British Colonial Kenya between the arrival of three Quaker Missionaries in 1902, and 1946, when African Friends took charge of their own Yearly Meeting. It is suggested that Quakerism was so successful in Kenya because an American Evangelical tradition was employed there and because Western medicine and especially education were central parts of what conversion offered. However, it was ultimately African Friends who were responsible for the spread of Quakerism. The author considers the challenges of Quaker testimony in working within the British Colonial administrative system and in engaging with the various tribes of Kenya, where traditional cultural practices could include beer-drinking and polygamy. It is also suggested that Western misunderstanding of local customs and communication damaged the success of Quakerism, as did the failure to build on Peace Testimony with the Maragoli, a tribe who were most open to the faith and whose community was based on concepts of peace. The author alludes to the impact of Quakers or Quaker education on post-Colonial Kenya, its peaceful transition to independence, its politics and governance.

Useful for: those exploring Quakerism and the Peace Testimony in non-Western societies and the cultural issues that arise; people interested in the marriage of Christianity with traditional practices and beliefs; those considering the impact of (Quaker) education on social and political change; anthropologists; historians of East Africa, of British Colonialism and of the origins of Independence movements.

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