Last updated: March 13, 2019
Topic: FamilyChildren
Sample donated:

The different interpretations of the effects of missionaries in Africa stem mainly from the different viewpoints from which the issue has been addressed. Some believe that the Christian missionaries have had an overall positive effect on the population of Africa, while some believe otherwise.


The teachings of missionaries gave African children a better education and an awareness of morality through the Christian perspective. This eventually enabled them to fight against the racism that was then rampant. Africans also became familiar with the biblical notions of equality and justice. From the missionary teachings Africans learned that the power of the government should rest on the consent of the citizens. Christian teachings united many of the different tribes in Africa. Mission villages also provided protection from raids from some African tribes, and those who lived in these villages, which was a significant number, came to live by the “modernized” ways of the Missionaries, where they learned independence and education.

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There was, however, also rampant hypocrisy, in which both the good and the bad coexisted. Slave owners encouraged Christian beliefs while discouraging baptism, so that the slaves remained property. And although the policy of the Catholic church was that a native clergy should be formed, the missionaries were in control. They were also more interested in traditional religiousness than in improving education. The missionaries were not directly responsible for the growth and development of the modern African identity; the Africans were responsible for it themselves.


Missionaries were significant in the development of the social and political structure in Africa, with both negative and positive effects, and the overall benefits and harm of the impact of Missionaries remains contentious. This is the biggest reason that there are different interpretations of the impact of the missionaries upon Africa.