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  • Mary Ann Bravery Attlee (1875 - 1956)
    Mary Attlee Born in 1875.1 Daughter of Henry Attlee and Ellen Bravery Watson. Died in 1956, unmarried. She was a missionary between 1915 and 1950 in South Africa. Census : Scholar - 1...
  • Rev. George Brown (1813 - 1889)
    Miss Jessie Brown was the teacher in charge of the “Native” primary School, attached to St Mungo’s, in Auckland. She was the grand-daughter of William Chalmers who came to the Gw...
  • Rev. William Chalmers (1802 - 1847)
  • John Stalker SV/PROG (1843 - 1914)
    John Stalker, a Scottish teacher came to Natal in ca 1874 to teach at the "Scottish Mission Training School" in Pietermaritzburg. He was paid by "Free Church of Scotland" and was olso known as a "Rever...
  • Eerw Johannes Heinrich Christian Wilhelm Neitz, SV/PROG (1866 - 1942)
    One of the first missionaries of the Berlin Missionary Society - in 1892 Wedpohl, Neitz and Dietrich opened a mission at Chivi

African Missionaries

South Africa, Rhodesia and Nyasaland (Zambia, Zimbabwe, Malawi) and beyond.

Missionaries were amongst the first people to explore the interior of Africa. This project is a place to assemble them and to explore their family history. Please link the profiles of people who were missionaries in Africa to this project. Their names can also me added to the lists under denominations below.

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The primary mission of all denominations was to spread the Gospel. In addition to establishing Mission Stations and building Churches they ran schools and Hospitals.

The names listed are some that worked as missionaries in the area - in particular Southern Rhodesia, and need further investigation. Reference to Paul S King's "Missions in Southern Rhodesia".

The London Missionary Society.


  • Bethelsdorp
  • Makololo
  • Inyati
  • Kuruman
  • Hope Fountain
  • Theopolis

The Missionary Society was founded in 1795, and later was re-named The London Missionary Society. It was ... "declared to be a fundamental principle of The Missionary Society that its Design is not to send Presbyterianism, Independency, Episcopacy, or any other form of Church Order and Government (about which there may be difference of opinion among serious persons), but the Glorious Gospel of the blessed God to the heathen; and that it shall be left (as it ought to be left) to the minds of the persons whom God may call into the fellowship of His Son from among them to assume for the,selves such form of Church Government as to them shall appear most agreeable to the word of God."


Rev. Robert Moffat was born the same year the Society was founded, and arrived in South Africa in 1817. His wife to be, Emily Unwin joned him 2 years later and they established a mission station at Kuruman, today in the Northern Cape. Rev. Robert Moffat's daughter was the wife of David Livingstone who married her in 1841. These two men were largely responsible for the spread of the missionaries North.

Robert Moffat had established a good relationship with Mzilikazi - the African King who founded the Matabele Kingdom. Mzilikazi was the son of Matshobana, originally a lieutenant of Shaka. He rebelled in 1823 and left Shaka, fleeing North with his tribe, the Khumalo, from Zululand. By 1837 Mzilikazi had been forced further north by the Boers and Zulus, and settled in the area that became Southern Rhodesia.

In 1857 Mzilikazi finally consented to a mission station to be established in his country on condition that either Moffat or his son was to run it. Moffat could not leave Kuruman and sent his son, Rev. William Sykes (1827-1897) - all young married men.

The missionaries and their wives left England in 1858. They had to travel up to Matabeleland from the Cape by ox-wagon - about 1500/1600 miles. Mrs. Mary Livingstone also accompanied them, and all 4 women were expectant mothers.

When they reached Beaufort West Emily Moffat gave birth to a son, and a little further on the route at Griquatown Evan Morgan Thomas was born in Feb 1859.

When they reached Kuruman missionary it was under threat from Boers. The Missionaries were joined by 2 more families – Mr and Mrs Price who were headed for the proposed mission to the Makololo tribe near the Zambezi. At Kuruman an epidemic struck and the 4 month old Moffat baby died, as did Mrs. Sykes and her newborn child.

Robert Moffat joined the party for the trip to Mzilikizi – a hazardous journey followed with sand, mud, bush and tsetse flies. When they reached the outskirts of Mzilikazi’s territory they were joined by a party of Matabele warriors who were sent to guide and protect them. As the oxen had been smitten with lung-sickness (apparently pneumonia)they were sent back in order not to introduce the disease amongst Mzilikazi’s cattle. Mzilikazi sent hundreds of warriors to fetch the wagons – the men pulled the wagons in place of the oxen.

There was some distrust of the white missionaries amongst the Matabele as a result of previous encounters with the Boers. After the missionaries had depleted their supplies of gifts for the king there was dissatisfaction about their presence and Mzilikazi departed taking his whole village with him. Any attempt to speak to the king was denied, and messengers were sent accusing the missionaries of being sent to spy out the land in advance of other white people to follow. They were told not to hunt or fish or move from their location. They decided to stay in spite of the shortage of food and the conditions they lived in – rats being a particular problem.

Five weeks later Mzilikazi sent a sheep and an ox, followed by warriors to take their wagons to Inyati where they were received as if nothing had happened, saying that he had missed them in their absence. On 26th Dec 1859 the wagons were out-spanned for the last time and Inyati became the first white settlement in Matabeleland. (Inyati means means "the place of the buffaloes)

The first stone dwelling was built much to the fascination and consternation of the natives. Snakes, rats and ants plagued the missionaries. A well was sunk in an effort to get a supply of clean drinking water (the natives bathed in the nearby river) but the Matabele received this as a bathing place with much gratitude!

Rev John Smith Moffat (1835-1918)

Rev. Thomas Morgan Thomas (1830-1884)

Rev. William Sykes (1827-1897)

Mrs. Sykes and her newborn child died at Kuruman (John S Moffatt - Lives of Robert and Mary Moffat 1885)

Rev. Sykes went to Inyati in 1859 and his 2nd wife Margaret Charlotte Kolbe arrived at Inyati in 1861.

Their daughter, Rev. David Carnegie in 1885. David Carnegie persuaded Hoti (a recalcitrant induna who controlled about 800-1000 men during the 1896 Matabele uprisings.

John Boden Thomson (1841-1878) joined Sykes with his wife Elizabeth nee Edwards. The couple were from Scotland. They first went to Inyati, but Lobengula granted them a place for a new mission station which was besides a water fall/fountain - which was why it was called Hope Fountain.

Today there is a Christian-based organisation working with orphaned and abandoned children in Zimbabwe called Hope Fountain International

The Thomsons were on their own at Hope Fountain until 1875 when The Rev Charles Daniel Helm and his wife Elizabeth Eduardine ne Von Puttkamer joined them. Lobengula thought highly of Helm who was required to be present as interpreter and adviser throughout the deliberations which led up to the signing of the Rudd-Rhodes Concession.

The Dutch Reformed Church.

  • Stephanus Hofmeyer
  • Gabriel Buys
  • Francois Coilard
  • Rev. Sam Helm and Dr. John Helm (brothers)
  • Andrew Louw


  • Goedgedagcht Mission in the Soutpansberg
  • Morgenster

The Roman Catholic Church.


  • Empandeni
  • Mariannhill Natal
  • Chishawasha

The Anglican Church.

Bishop Knight Bruce

Canon Balfour

Bishop William Gaul

The Methodist Church (United Kingdom).

  • William Shaw (1820 Settler)
  • Rev. Owen Watkins
  • Rev. Isaac Shimmin

Waldensian Evangelical Church

Waldensians, Waldenses, Vallenses or Vaudois are names for a Christian movement which started in Lyon, France, in the late 1170s. After the Protestant Reformation it adhered to Calvinist theology and became the Italian branch of the Reformed churches.

  • Jalla Brothers who were missionaries in Zambia

The Salvation Army.

  • Staff Captain Pascoe

Pioneer Party of Salvationists 5th May 1891

  • Major and Mrs. Pascoe
  • Captain Cass
  • Captain Crook
  • Captain Mahon
  • Captain Scott

The American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions.

Formed in 1806 by a group of students from Williams College Williamstown, Massachusetts.

  • Rev. Myron Pinkerton
  • Rev. Mr. Wilcox
  • Dr. Thompson
  • E D Alvord


  • Zulu Mission - Natal
  • McCord Zulu Hoispital
  • Adams College
  • Inanda Seminary

The Seventh Day Adventist Missions.

  • Solusi Mission (Bulawayo)
  • Kolo in Basutoland
  • Lower Gwelo Mission
  • W H Anderson

The South African General Mission (Rusitu).

  • Rusitu
  • Biriiri
  • Mr. Spencer Walton
  • Dr. Andrew Murray
  • Mr. Raney
  • John Coupland
  • Dudley Kidd
  • Rev. Douglas Wood
  • Mr. and Mrs. G E Barnes
  • Mr. and Mrs.Hatch
  • Mr. and Mrs Rees Howells

The Methodist Church (U.S.A.)

  • Old Umtali
  • Mount Makomwe
  • Mutambara
  • Nyadiri Mission
  • Dr. Joseph Hartzell
  • Rev. and Mrs. M W Ehnes
  • Rev M H Reid
  • Rev. E H Greeley
  • Rev. and Mrs. John M Springer
  • Rev. Samuel Gurney M.D.
  • Mother Hughes

The Brethren in Christ Church.

  • Matopa Mission
  • Mtshabezi Mission
  • Wanezi Mission
  • Mrs. H Frances Davidson
  • Rev. H J and Mrs. Emma Frey
  • Bishop H P Steigerwald

The Church of Christ.

(Foreign Missions Union of the Associated Churches of Christ in New Zealand).

  • Dadaya
  • John Sherriff
  • Mr. and Mrs. F L Hadfield
  • W W Mansill
  • Mr. and Mrs. R S Garfield Todd

The Presbyterian Church.

  • Ntabazinduna (David Livingstone Memorial Mission)
  • Rev. Henry T Jones
  • Rev. C E Greenfield
  • Rev. Allan Munn

The African Methodist Episcopal Church.

  • Rev. S J Mabote
  • Brother M C Ncube
  • Bros. J Molebatsi
  • Rev. D K Gabashane
  • Rev. M D Makgatho
  • Rev J J Khaile
  • Rev. Z C Mtshwelo

The Church of Sweden Mission.

  • Mnene mission station

The Church of Central Africa - Presbyterian.

The Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland.

  • Rev. J B Radasi

The Free Methodist Church.

  • Rev and Mrs. R J Jacobs

Paris Evangelical Missionary Society

Protestant Missionaries

  • George Schmidt (1709-1785). First Protestant Missionary to Africa - a Moravian who he arrived in Cape Town on July 9, 1737 and left in 1744.

From his letters and diary, one can conclude George Schmidt was a deeply honest and dedicated Christian. He lived a lonely life. With childlike faith he submitted himself to the task of evangelizing the despised Hottentots. He did not want to do anything of his own unless he was absolutely certain it was the will of God.

  • Allen Francis Gardiner (1794-1851) Wikipedia - a British Royal Navy officer and missionary to Patagonia who went to Africa in 1834, exploring the Zulu country and started the first missionary station at Port Natal. From 1834 to 1838 he tried to establish Christian churches in Zululand, but political events and native wars prevented any permanent success. Founder of Durban in 1835.

The missionary Captain Allen Francis Gardiner, set up a mission on the Berea, and chaired a meeting in which it was decided to set up a town to be named D’Urban after the British Governor of the Cape, Sir Benjamin D’Urban. History of Durban.

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// this project is in HistoryLink