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The Residue of the Western Missionary in the Southern Cameroons

Tuesday 16 October 2012, author(s)-editor(s) Peter Acho Awoh

The Christian Village: A Sad Tale of Strife and Dissension

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.

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ISBN 9789956727940 | 424 pages | 229 x 152 mm | 2012 | Langaa RPCIG, Cameroon | Paperback