What was the impact of missionary work on the people of South Africa?

What was the impact of missionary work on the people of South Africa?
  • Social and moral behaviours of the Africans were improved through the Christian teaching. For example women and life were respected.
  • Primitive cultures like the killing of twins were done away with through the preaching of the gospel.




  • Western civilization was introduced to Africans. Africans started to eat, dress, drink, laugh and behave like the whites.
  • Africans were taught how to read and write through mission schools thus promoted literacy
  • It created an elite class in South Africa. This was the class of people who had received western education. It later demanded for political independence of South Africa.
  • Improved the health of the people of South Africa through introduction of medical services. They now went to hospitals and health centres for treatment when ever they were sick.
  • They undermined African medicine by branding it satanic and ungodly. This therefore, hampered the creativity of Africans in medical research.
  • The roads built by missionaries improved on transport and communication in South Africa .However, these roads served as sucking tubes for African minerals by Europeans.




  • Almost all the Bantu languages were put down in writing by missionaries. This helped to preserve them.
  • Missionaries introduced printing press in South Africa which promoted the writing and printing of books. This helped to promote literacy.
  • Africans gained more liberty and freedoms which slavery had taken away from them.
  • Missionary activities divided Africans intogroups i.e. educated and uneducated, coverts and non coverts.
  • Many Christian coverts became disloyal to their traditional chiefs and leaders. For example Tito Soga, a baptized Xhosa refused to read a message fond on the white prisoner for his chief.
  • The economic status for African peasants was improved as new methods of farming were introduced and export markets established.
  • Missionaries gave back land to Xhosa which had been grabbled from them by the Boers.




  • Missionaries helped in the distraction of African cultures and customs For example polygamous marriages, initiation ceremonies and the magic among the Zulu.
  • Missionary activities divided Africans into different Christian groups which were against each other i.e. Catholics and Protestants which disunited Africans.

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