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The Missionary Impact: The Northern Transvaal in the Late Nineteenth Century



During the nineteenth century, missionaries were largely unsuccessful in making, and keeping, a significant number of converts in the Northern Transvaal. In addition, in marked contrast to commonly-held assumptions, much of the early work of evangelisation was performed by African converts, rather than white missionaries. The introduction of western medicine, education and literacy did not achieve the ends envisaged by the missionaries. The majority of people did not abandon their culture and adopt the new religions and cultural ways. Africans nevertheless took these new tools and used them in ways unforeseen by the missionaries. A blending of African and Western ways took place which led to cultural transformation.