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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The Zambezi Mission: the first steps: the second Jesuit attempt at Roman Catholic evangelisation in South Central Africa
Author:Burrett, Rob S.ISNI
Periodical:Heritage of Zimbabwe (ISSN 0556-9605)
Notes:biblio. refs., ills., maps
Geographic terms:Botswana
Southern Africa
Christian orders
History, Archaeology
Church history
Catholic Church
Abstract:Of particular importance in the expansion of the Catholic Church in South Central Africa was Dr James Ricards. Through his efforts, a mixed group of 11 Jesuits made their way to South Africa in 1879. A Belgian Jesuit, Father Henri Depelchin, had been appointed the First Superior of the Zambezi Mission, as the area was called. This paper describes the missionaries' journey by waggon from Cape Town via Tati (Botswana) to Gubulawayo (present-day Zimbabwe) and their efforts in the area. Lobengula, the AmaNdebele monarch, granted them permission to stay in Matebeleland until April 1880. On receipt of this permission, Depelchin decided to continue pushing forward rather than consolidating his position. In October 1879 he had set in motion two additional expeditions, one eastwards to Mzila, the Shangaan leader who at the time occupied southeastern Zimbabwe; and the other northwestward to Lewanika, who was the Barotse leader who controlled vast areas of western Zambia. In doing this Depelchin committed the Zambezi missionary enterprise to failure. He ostracized the Jesuits from Lobengula, as the latter could not understand why the Jesuits were attempting to coexist with his sworn enemies the Shangaans and the Barotse. The mission at Gubulawayo struggled on until 1887 but was never a real success: there were never any AmaNdebele converts to the faith. Bibliogr. [ASC Leiden abstract]