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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:A Study of Silver and Brown: The Philosophical Problem of Landscape and the Wesleyan Mission in the Orange Free State
Author:Ronnenberg, Ryan
Periodical:Le Fait Missionnaire: Social Sciences and Missions
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:missionary history
Religion and Witchcraft
History and Exploration
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Ethnic and Race Relations
External link:https://doi.org/10.1163/221185204X00140
Abstract:At first glance, the South African landscape repulsed the gaze of British settlers. Its topography was 'dull' and 'disappointing', and it appeared a 'sterile country'. The present article examines the missionary experience of the South African landscape. The author centres his discussion on the Wesleyan Mission, from 1820 until the 1850s. During this period, the Wesleyan Mission advanced in successive waves from Grahamstown to Makuasi, eventually meeting with the Baralong, a southern Tswana contingent, northwest of the Caledon River and east of the tributaries to the Modder. In that region they would establish several important missions. The article chronicles the Wesleyan travels into the South African interior, focusing on bits of narrative selected from the memoirs and journals of the first Wesleyan missionaries of this region: Revs. Hodgson, Archbell, Edwards, Broadbent, Schreiner, and Shaw. The Wesleyans offer an excellent vehicle with which to explore the encounter of European notions of landscape with an alien African terrain. The missionaries relied upon the opposition of 'nature' and 'wilderness' to frame their journeys in biblical terms. While their journals are filled with accounts of the impact of war, it is unlikely they recognized the larger reality of the regional unrest. Embedded within the landscape was a history which remained unaccessible to them. But they believed that, eventually, England would lead Africa out of the darkness, transforming this spoiled land into a Godly place. Notes, ref. [ASC Leiden abstract]