chapter  3
Colonialism, Christianity and the Erosion of African Culture
Pages 20

The missions of colonialism and Christianity in Africa often overlapped and appeared almost always indistinguishable. Colonialism was instrumental in paving the path that enabled Christianity to penetrate Africa with amazing facility. As Richard Gray (1982: 60) noted, ‘Christianity . . . made its rapid advances [in Africa] precisely because its emissaries, the missionaries, were so closely linked with the whole apparatus of colonial rule.’ Although they never admitted this, Christian missionaries also had the responsibility of facilitating the achievement of colonial development objectives. In this respect, missionaries drew inspiration from carefully selected Biblical passages. Amongst the most prominent of these passages are the following from Jesus Christ’s Sermon on the Mount: ‘Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth’ (Matt. 5:5); ‘If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also’ (Matt. 5:39); and ‘. . . love your enemies, bless them that curse you . . .’ (Matt. 5:44).