Growing up in a Zimbabwean Christian home, I always found it daunting to question the real intentions of missionaries in Zimbabwe. It always seemed like they gave a lot and in return I just had to be grateful and not question their intentions. Like come on, they introduced me to Jesus, “the centre of my life”. How dare I question the intentions of such good people?

  “How dare I question the intentions of such good people?”

It almost felt as if I was questioning the existence of God himself, which too, is like taboo in the Christian community. That’s a completely different topic for another time.

Attending primary school in Zimbabwe, some of my favourite subjects were Social Studies and Religious and Moral Education (RME). For me both of these subjects were so rich in history, which made them very intriguing.

While Social studies focused on the history of colonisation, RME tackled the history of Christianity mostly. Although they were taught separately, and they were never linked to each other, there was/ is a clear connection between the two subjects.

In Zimbabwe, missionaries built schools. There are “Mission Schools” all over the country.

“A mission school is a school originally developed and run by missionaries”.

Could it be that our syllabus was formulated in a way that we don’t see the relationship between colonialism and Christianity?

After all, the Bible says “Train  up a child in the way he should grow, he will not depart from it”. In primary school children are gullible, and some of the things we learned as children have stuck with us to adulthood. Could this be one of those things? That we don’t see the link between colonialism and Christianity, whatever the link is.

“After all the Bible says – Train  up a child in the way he should grow, he will not depart from it”

Now how can anyone question the intentions of missionaries when they gave us education.

We’ve all heard the saying “education is the key to success”.

So missionaries didn’t only give us Christianity, they also paved the way to Education.

Were missionaries good or bad for Africa? Or both?