The Residue of the Western Missionary in the Southern Cameroons
426 Pages
English
Gain access to the library to view online
Learn more

The Residue of the Western Missionary in the Southern Cameroons

-

Gain access to the library to view online
Learn more
426 Pages
English

Description

This book is the fascinating study of Christian enclaves in the Southern Cameroons of the colonial era. The Christian enclaves came into being with absolute spontaneity as a modus vivendi. Oblivious of the danger in store both colonial governments and traditional authorities provided the conditions in which these Christian villages took root and flourished. However what had taken root in the territory as a self-protection mechanism, soon unleashed its lethal, enticing tentacles luring both the wives of royals and commoners into their bosom. This disruptive influence of Christian villages threatened the survival of ethnic groups, arousing the rancour of traditional authorities and civil administrators. In many ways the Christian enclaves inhibited the potential of colonial governments to administer the territory. These states within a state propagated by the missionary in the most insidious and perfidious of all manners sowed within their own bosom the seed of self-destruction. The whole issue of runaway wives of royals and commoners alike who took refuge in the Christian villages troubled both the colonial and traditional authorities. By offering a safe haven to these runaway wives and welcoming women who were outside the traditional male authority in a tribal setup, the missionaries began sowing within the Christian communities the seeds of their own self destruction. Records of wives of Fons and commoners escaping into these enclaves, eloping with a man and returning pregnant remained the regular subject of several colonial intelligence reports. Highhanded methods by missionaries in these villages brought both the missionaries and their work into disrepute. In less than a quarter of a century these enclaves had lost the war of attrition waged by colonial and traditional authorities. Worn out by endless strife and dissension within and without and forced by contingency, what had been conceived to be ideal Christian communities with snowballing effects, saw its premature demise.

Subjects

Informations

Published by
Published 10 October 2012
Reads 2
EAN13 9789956728688
Language English
Document size 13 MB

Legal information: rental price per page 0.0066€. This information is given for information only in accordance with current legislation.

Exrait

THE RESIDUE OF THE WESTERN MISSIONARY IN THE SOUTHERN CAMEROONSThe Christian Village: A Sad Tale of Strife and Dissension
Peter Awoh
The Residue of the Western Missionary in Southern CameroonsThe Christian Village A Sad Tale of Strife and Dissension
Peter Awoh
Langaa Research & Publishing CIG Mankon, Bamenda
Publisher: LangaaRPCIG Langaa Research & Publishing Common Initiative Group P.O. Box 902 Mankon Bamenda North West Region Cameroon Langaagrp@gmail.comwww.langaa-rpcig.net Distributed in and outside N. America by African Books Collective orders@africanbookscollective.com www.africanbookcollective.com ISBN:9956-727-94-6 ©Peter Awoh 2012
DISCLAIMER All views expressed in this publication are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Langaa RPCIG.
Table of Contents Foreword………………………………………………………………...vii Chapter One: Introduction…………………………………………… 1 The Intricacies Of Early Missionary Manoeuvres In Cameroon……………… 4 Evangelisation And Early History Of Cameroon……………………………… 12 The First Sacred Heart Of Jesus Missionaries…………………………………. 13 Subjugation Of The Grass Landers…………………………………………… 15 Pioneer Missionaries In The Grass Fields Of North-West……………………. 19 German Colonization and Christianity………………………………………… 20 Evangelisation Under The British…………………………………………….. 26 Intervention Of The Sacred Congregation For The Propagation of The Faith… 26 Shanahan’s Reconnaissance Missions To British Cameroons………………… 30 The Coming Of The Mill Hill Missionaries…………………………………….. 42 Administrative And Diplomatic Preparations………………………………….. 44 Herbert Alfred Vaughan………………………………………………………. 49 Herbert Vaughan And Missionary Beginnings……………………………………….49 The Foreign Missions......................................................15........................................................Expansion of his Missionaries Idea…………………………………………… 55 African Christianity In Retrospect……………………………………………... 57 Colonial Versus Missionary Motives………………………………………….. 58 Christianity and African Traditional Religion…………………………………. 60 Philosophical And Cultural Consequences Of Conversion To Christianity……. 63 Evangelisation And Conversion Models In Africa…………………………… 66 Christian Villages and early converts to Christianity…………………………… 69 Theological Underpinnings Of Missionary Fervour And Flavour…………….. 73 Retrospective View Of Missionary Methods…………………………………. 77 The Age Of Exploration And Colonisation………………………………….. 80 Corporal Punishment in Missions……………………………………………. 85 Women And Marriage The Christian Villages………………………………… 86 Historical Basis Of Christian Villages…………………………………………. 92 The Persecution of Christians…………………………………………………. 95
iii
Chapter Two: Shishong Christian Village……………………………101 Introduction…………………………………………………………………… 101 Nso’s early History……………………………………………………………. 104 Succession in Kovvifèm………………………………………………………. 104 Principles and Structure of Nso' Traditional Rule……………………………… 105 Military Conquest and Subjugation of Nso Fondom…………………………. 109 The German Mission…………………………………………………………. 112 Sacre Heart Missionaries Niche in Shishong………………………………….. 119 Official Reception of the Missionaries………………………………………… 119 Settlement in Shisong………………………………………………………….. 122 German Catholic School in Shisong…………………………………………… 125 The Hospital at Shisong………………………………………………………. 135 The Erection of Prefecture Of Adamawa……………………………………… 136 The Interim Period between the Departure of German Sacred Heart Missionaries and Advent of the French Sacred Heart Missionaries…………………………. 137 The Catechumenate in Douala………………………………………………… 139 The Reconnaissance Mission of Joseph Shanahan in the Southern Cameroons……………………………………………………………………. 139 Traditional Animosity, Smouldering Acrimony and Return to Ancestral Paths… 144 The French Sacred Heart Fathers in the Grassfield……………………………. 148 Christian Villages an Runaway Wives…………………………………………. 153 Disruptive Influence of the Missions on Traditional Customs………………… 158 The Birth of Christian Villages………………………………………………… 160 The Trial and Conviction of Paul Tangwa…………………………………….. 162 The Official Colonial Views…………………………………………………… 163 Suggestion about Paul Tangwa’s Transfer……………………………………. 168 Monsigneur Plissonneau Petitions the Resident ………………………………. 173 Charges against Paul Tangwa…………………………………………………. 177 The Kumbo Crisis in Retrospect………………………………………………. 183 The Ravages of Small Pox in the Christian Village……………………………. 187 The Transitional Years: The Departure of French Sacred Heart Fathers and Advent of Mill Hill Missionaries in the Grassfields……………………………………. 188 The Reopening of the School…………………………………………………. 190 The Mill Hill Fathers in Shishong……………………………………………… 192 Roman Catholic Mission School, Kumbo…………………………………….. 195 New Infrastructural Projects in Shisong……………………………………….. 199 The Demise of the Christian Village………………………………………….. 203
iv
The Ordination of Aloysius Wankuy…………………………………………. 208 Setbacks in the Christian Village………………………………………………. 213 Chapter Three: The Christian Village of Njinikom…………………217 Introduction…………………………………………………………………… 217 Location……………………………………………………………………… 217 Brief History………………………………………………………………….. 217 The Subjugation Of Kom Kingdom………………………………………….. 222 German Pallotine Missionary Fujua Mission Station………………………….. 225 The Reins Of The Departing Sacred Heart Missionaries……………………….. 228 The Gathering Of The Storm And Foundation Of The Christian Village…….. 229 Strife And Dissension: Converts Versus Traditional Authorities……………… 232 The Return Of The Recruits………………………………………………….. 234 The Emergence Of Michael Timneng……………....……………………...…….237 The Establishment of a Chapel at Njinikom and Formation of Christian Village……………………………………………………………………...……239 The Establishment Of The Christian Village………………………………..…...240 Disruption Of Social Life In Njinikom The Arrest And Trial Of Timneng…...…245 Charges Against Timneng……………………………………………………….246Timneng’s Trial And Imprisonment In Bamenda……………………………….248 Intervention By The Resident And Timneng’s Release…………….……………249 Humiliation Of The Fon And Reopening Of The Church………...…………… 251 The Role Of Women In The Conflict…………………………………………..254 The Turning Of The Tides:……………………………………….…………… 259 The First Forced Exodus Of The Fon’s Runway Wifes……………...………….260 The Demise Of Christian Village…………………………………..……………267 The Control over Women in the Christian village……………………..….…….278 The Nun’s Tale and United Nations Intervention……………………………………………………………………280 Further Strife And Dissension in We Christian Village …………………………………………………………………………………288 Esu Christian village: An Axis of Dissension ………………………………………………………………………………....296 The Demise of Esu Christian Village…………………………………………. 303 The Verdict On The Esu Christian Village…………………………………….. 306 Insolence Of Roman Catholic Officials And Abuse Of Authorities…………… 308 Missionary Interference with Government Hospitals…………………………. 309 Dissent In The Christian Village……………………………………………… 310v
Chapter Four: The Baseng Christian Village........................................313 Introduction………………………………………………………………….. 313 Early European Incursions…………………………………………………… 314 German Subjugation Of Bakossiland………………………………………… 315 The Christian Village Settlement Of Baseng…………………………………… 317 The Gathering Of The Storm…………………………………………………. 318 Complaints Against The Roman Catholic Mission Baseng…………………… 322 Mission Policy In The Cameroon Province…………………………………… 329 Infant Betrothal And Sanctity Of The Chief’s Wives…………………………. 332 The Thorny Issue of Married Women and Girls of Marriageable Age in Christian Enclaves……………………………………………………………………… 341 Disruptive Influence of Christian Enclave……………………………………... 342 The Abandonment of the Christian Enclave…………………………………. 347 The Trial and Conviction of Priests in the Dock………………..…….…..……..348 The Conviction of Catechists…………………………………………………. 359 Visit By The Governor General Of Nigeria…………………………………… 362 Mission Policy In Southern Cameroons Province In Retrospect……………… 372 Conclusion…………………………………………………………………… 374Appendix………………………………………………………………. 381 Selected Bibliography………………………………………………….397
vi
Foreword In 1916, following the defeat of the Germans, the Anglo-French ad hoc administration expelled the German Pallotine and Sacred Heart missionaries from Cameroon. The future and fate of the former German Pallotine and Sacred Heart missions became uncertain. During the period of uncertainty between their expulsion from Cameroon and their final repatriation to Germany, German missionaries expressed worries about the fate of their missions. Generally, the German missionaries had thought that the end of the first global conflict and signing of the peace agreements might lead to their return to their former stations in the colonies, but the peace arrangement in Versailles did not allow German nationals to resume their work in Cameroon. When it dawned on them that their return to their missions in Cameroon was out of the question, they explored other 1 alternatives The Versailles proclamation stated that German mission property should be taken over by trustees composed of persons holding the same faith as that of the owners of missions they were to take over. Proceeds from the sales of the German property in Cameroon formed the Liquidation Fund. The British government handed over these funds to the MILL HILL Missionaries when they took possession of the former German missions in Southern Cameroons. When it became clear that German missionaries would not be permitted to enter into the territory, the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith (Propaganda Fidei) moved swiftly to appoint Joseph Shanahan as Ecclesiastical Apostolic Administrator of Adamawa. Joseph Shanahan was Prefect Apostolic of Southern Nigeria and the attachment of the missions in the Cameroons only added a burden to this already beleaguered administrator. By attaching the missions of the Southern Cameroons to the 1 For example, in a letter from the British Vice Consul in Fernando Po to the British Resident Commissioner in Cameroon, the German Fathers expressed their wish that Belgian, Dutch and French Fathers of the same missionary order, who might be allowed to carry on the mission work in Bamenda, could be introduced to their work by the German Fathers who had been in charge of the missions before the war. Memorandum from the British Vice Consul, Fernando Po to the British Resident Commissioner Buea, September 19, 1919. vii
Prefecture Apostolic of Southern Cameroons, they were only mirroring and following the footsteps of colonial authorities. The British government administered Southern Cameroons as part of the Southern Province of Nigeria with headquarters in Enugu. For many years, the Church in Cameroon remained intimately linked to the eastern part of Nigeria in different ways. Rome erected Southern Cameroons as the Apostolic Prefecture in 1923, Apostolic Vicarate in 1939 and Diocese of Buea in 1950, under the Metropolitan See of Onitsha. The arrangement in which the 2 former German missions in British Southern Cameroons came under the auspices of the Prefect Apostolic of Southern Nigeria was to be short-lived because in the interim period between Shanahan’s 1000 miles trek and the 3 coming of the MILL HILL missionaries, Monsignor Plissonneau assumed his functions as the Prefect Apostolic of Adamawa. Njinikom and Shisong naturally came under the spheres of influence of the Prefect Apostolic of Adamawa. The priests in French Cameroon in parishes close to the British Cameroons extended their missions to include neighbouring missions in British Cameroon. The years following the end of the First World War in Cameroon were turbulent, with conflict between the missions and traditional authorities. Trouble began with the return of former native German soldiers, who formed the nucleus of the first Christian communities. Colonial authorities at
2  The Anglo-French accord to divide Cameron was reached on March 4, 1916 and implemented on March 6, 1916. The general administration of the colony and protectorate of Nigeria and mandated territory of Cameroon was headed by the Governor General, who was resident in Lagos, the capital of the Federation. The Governor General was directly responsible to the Secretary of State for the Colonies in London. Under the Governor General were two Lieutenant Governors at the head of the administration of the Southern and Northern groups of provinces. Under the Lieutenant Governor were senior Provincial Residents, each at the head of the provincial administration. British Southern Cameroons constituted the Cameroon province during the Mandate period. During the period of the Mandate, they were seven Residents in Cameroon. These were Major F.H. Ruxton (1921-25), E.J. Arnett (1925-28), H.G. Aveling (1928-29), E. J. Arnett (1929-32), Rutherford (1933-34), O.W. Firth (1935-38) and A.E.F. Murry (1939-42). 3 Plissonneau had previously worked in Congo and was a member of the Sacred Heart Missionaries. He had been contacted by a Christian in Kumbo, Paul Tangwa and invited to come over to Kumbo. viii
first believed that the trouble was mainly because these Christian communities were void of any European clerical leadership. However, the coming of Monsignor Plissonneau did not bring the solution which colonial and traditional authorities had desperately hoped. Both the chiefs and colonial officers began gradually to modify their thoughts. The newly modified current of thought was a consequence of the events of the time. The idea was that peace would naturally return if missionaries of other nationalities like Monsignor Plissonneau were replaced with British missionaries. For this reason, the MILL HILL Missionaries were drafted into the territory to replace the French Sacred Heart Missionaries, especially in the Grass Fields where the troublesome spots of Njinikom and Kumbo were situated. Like their predecessors, their arrival did not bring the expected results. Their actions in many localities and especially in the Grass Fields, only added salt to injury. What the colonial authorities might or might not have foreseen and could not control, was that the ranks of the MILL HILL Missionaries, which had their origin in London, were swelled by candidates from a broad range of nationalities. Esu, Shisong and Njinikom in the Bamenda Division in the 1920s and Baseng in Kumba Division in the 1930s and 1940s were hotspots of conflict between the Church and the traditional rulers and between the Church and colonial authorities, although almost every residue of the turbulent past seems to have been expunged today. These specific areas which had been arbitrarily selected and assigned, or in some cases accidentally became, the terrain on which the missionaries hoped to build ideal miniature Christian communities that would have a snowballing effect on the surrounding environment. In the immediate post war years, before the arrival of the MILL HILL Mission in the 1920s, these areas had become hotspots far beyond the control of colonial and traditional authorities. Christians, mainly ex-German soldiers, had established Christian communities against the wishes of both colonial and traditional authorities. The German missionaries adopted the formal education as a medium through which they might gain a foothold in a locality. Traditional rulers generally welcomed the school project, oblivious to the danger that lay in its bosom. For them, it was a way to gain access to the wizardry of the Whiteman, to tap into the hidden treasures it might offer. For some reason, these school projects in the Grass Fields were located very close to the Fon’s palace. Inserting a school in a locality was a novelty that generally caused no
ix