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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Schism and secession: the founding of the Bapedi Lutheran Church, 1890-1898
Author:Malunga, FelixISNI
Periodical:Historia: amptelike orgaan
Geographic terms:South Africa
Subjects:missionary history
Abstract:In the eastern Transvaal, South Africa, the Berlin Missionary Society appears to have succeeded in keeping tight control over the social, economic, religious and political destiny of the Pedi converts between 1865 and 1883. Over the same period, they also neutralized all forms of opposition from 'magosi' (Pedi chiefs) who aspired to reclaim the loyalty of Pedi converts. Evidence suggests that from 1883, the treatment of evangelists by the Berlin missionaries resulted in a gradual increase of a sense of grievance, which exploded in the form of a secessionist church movement in August 1890 with the founding of the Bapedi Lutheran Church. This paper investigates the underlying causes of this secession by dissatisfied Pedi evangelists and pastors. It examines the alleged ill treatment of the Pedi Christian leadership by the Berlin missionaries and the paternalistic attitude of the latter. It shows that the total rejection of Pedi traditional practices by the Berliners antagonized a large section of Pedi converts. This gave the secessionist leaders the opportunity to lure many converts from the Berlin Mission Church by declaring that the new church would accommodate some of the Pedi cultural practices. In turn this paved the way for the Pedi chiefs to reclaim some social, economic and political authority over the Pedi converts. Ultimately, by the end of the 1890s, both the Berlin Mission Society and the Bapedi Lutheran Church had become losers in the battle for the support of Pedi converts. Ref., sum. in English and Afrikaans. [Journal abstract, edited]