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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Klaas Koen: identity and belonging in the Berlin Mission Society during the late nineteenth century
Author:Kirkaldy, AlanISNI
Periodical:Historia: amptelike orgaan (ISSN 0018-229X)
Geographic term:South Africa
ethnic identity
biographies (form)
About person:Klaas Koen (1852-1883)ISNI
Abstract:Klaas Koen (1852-1883) was the first South African-born missionary of the Berlin Mission Society. From the perspective of the mission authorities, he was the perfect poster boy for their activities in this country. In the dominant thinking of the times, the fact that he was of Khoisan descent should have condemned him to a life of 'wicked foolishness ... and all sorts of heathen sins and disgraces.' Instead, in the interpretation of the mission, having been reborn in Christ, he worked diligently for the mission and remained faithful even unto death. His life was celebrated in a tract and other texts produced by the Society. Given the fact that the reports sent back to headquarters by missionaries in the field followed a rigid format, it is difficult to recover what Koen himself may have thought about his life and actions. This paper examines Koen's life history and explores why the Mission Society treated him, wrote about him, and remembered him as they did. It also suggests some reasons why he may have made the choices that he did. It concludes with an examination of some aspects of his posthumous identity. Notes, ref., sum. in English and Afrikaans [Journal abstract]