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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The darkness within the light: Berlin missionaries and the landscape of Vendaland c. 1870-1900
Author:Kirkaldy, AlanISNI
Year:2003
Periodical:Historia: amptelike orgaan
Volume:48
Issue:1
Pages:169-202
Language:English
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:missions
Venda
landscape
Abstract:The relationship between the Berlin missionaries, the landscape of Vendaland (South Africa) and the Vhavenda during the late 19th century was a complex one. Basing himself on 19th-century written mission accounts, the author shows how the Berlin missionaries' early, almost rhapsodic, attempts to ground themselves by comparing the landscape of Vendaland with the tamed German landscape - pruned, trimmed and replanted into pleasing straight lines -, floundered when confronted with the harsh reality of the local situation. The very real hidden dangers of the anopheles mosquito, the difficulties to be overcome in establishing themselves in what they experienced as an extremely foreign and 'untamed' environment, and what they perceived to be the hidden hazards and resistance of the dark and dangerous forest - its natural features, animal life, inhabitants and even the supernatural beings which it was said to shelter and succour - brought a discordant note to the symphony of birdsong. They introduced a sense of foreboding, even despair. However, the missionaries believed that the 'darkness' of the environment was a trial to be overcome to bring the 'light' of Christianity, the light of civilization and German culture. Notes, ref., sum. in English (p. iii) and Afrikaans. [ASC Leiden abstract]
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