n Educare - Self-reliance and self-sufficiency as the key principles in the Swiss Missionaries' transformative efforts (1873-1968)

Volume 31, Issue 1_2
  • ISSN : 0256-8829



The Swiss missionaries came to Southern Africa as experts in key areas of life. They were determined to impart the knowledge gained in Europe to the indigenous populace who were perceived to be backward, indolent and virtually unable to do anything worthwhile for themselves. Like other clerics labouring elsewhere in Africa, the men and women from Switzerland concentrated their efforts on education, religion and health. Africans had their own religion, education and health systems. But all these had to be supplanted by Western value systems. Schools, churches and hospitals were established in all the areas conquered for Jesus Christ. These institutions were complementing each other in implanting the Christian religion into the hearts and minds of the African proselytes. The Swiss Missionary Society's Lemana Training Institution was the nerve-centre of the French-speaking Swiss clerics' transformative efforts assisted by a host of primary schools and three nursing colleges. Where training facilities were non-existent, the clergy arranged for exchange programs with other missions because evangelisation was essentially a joint venture.

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