ZIMSEC O Level History Notes: Missionaries: Problems faced by Missionaries in Zimbabwe between 1850-1900

  • Problems faced by the missionaries included:
  • Diseases such as malaria and yellow fever.
  • Poor transport and communication as journeys had to be made by foot or cattle wagons.
  • Language barrier: most natives only spoke their native tongues while most of the missionaries who were of European origin could not speak these.
  • Opposition from Muslims.
  • Opposition from African Traditional Leaders.
  • Poor Security.
  • Resistance to education by the locals.
  • Resistance to Christianity by the locals.
  • Some of the missionaries were killed by wild animals especially as they made journeys across untamed lands.
  • They were often viewed with suspicion and distrust by the local population.
  • They lacked access to proper medications
  • Often faced starvation as food could be scarce.
  • They often faced delays in being granted permission to operate.
  • Their converts or potential converts were often threatened, killed or sent away e.g. Bernard Mizeki.
  • The African climate was hostile and unforgiving with plenty of sunshine compared to the milder climates of Europe.
  • They were exposed to cruel African customs such as the killing of twins and albinos and raiding.

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