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Title: W.C. Willoughby of Bechuanaland : missionary practitioner and scholar
Author: Rutherford, John
Awarding Body: University of Birmingham
Current Institution: University of Birmingham
Date of Award: 1983
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This study of W.C.Willoughby of Bechuanaland, which is approximately 135,000 words in length, is a critical appraisal of his work as a missionary practitioner and scholar. It begins in 1882 with an account of the year he spent as a "pioneer missionary" in Central Africa and includes a "flash-back" to his earlier life. This venture, in which he nearly lost his life, was a failure and he returned home to pastoral work in Scotland and England. Ten years later he was appointed by the London Missionary Society to Phalapye, seat of the Bamangwato t in Bechuanaland. Two chapters are devoted to his life and work there, his reactions to the British invasion of Matabeleland and Mashonaland, and his visit to London with the Bechuanaland Chiefs in 1895. Pastoral, educational and political work during these years are inextricably mixed. Willoughby spent a further decade founding and building up the life of the Tiger Kloof Native Institution at Vryburg in South Africa's Northern Cape. The first of two chapters deals with his struggles to set up the school and is followed by an attempt to evaluate his educational ideas and achievements. At the point of breakdown Willoughby handed over to a newly appointed successor and, for a short while, became missionary at Molepolole where the tribal problems of the Eakwena had reached an unpleasant crisis. He was glad when the Society invited him to undertake an extended deputation to Australasia and the Islands of the South Pacific. During this tour Willoughby was invited to become Professor of African Missions at the Kennedy School of Missions at Hartford, Connecticut, in the United States. It was there that, at last, he was able, along with his teaching, to give himself to the task of writing up his researches into the history, social life, politics, anthropology and religion of the Bantu people. Following a chapter covering his twelve years in America, four chapters examine his three major publications. Two are an analysis of his ideas expressed in Race Problems in the New Africa, and two, dealing with Bantu religious beliefs and practices, concentrate on The Soul of the Bantu and Nature Worship and Taboo. Chapter twelve concludes the study with a brief account of Willoughby's return to Birmingham, where he had been trained fifty years earlier, his death, and an overall assessment of his life's work. An attempt is made to delineate several areas of African life which Willoughby was interested in and which, in terms of Christian practice, might be further developed today. They relate to rain-making, liturgical experiments and co-operation between those engaged in European and traditional methods of healing.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available