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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:African evangelism and the colonial frontier: the life and times of Paulo Rrafifing Molefane
Author:Volz, Stephen C.ISNI
Year:2014
Periodical:International Journal of African Historical Studies (ISSN 0361-7882)
Volume:47
Issue:1
Pages:101-120
Language:English
Geographic term:Botswana
Subjects:missions
Africans
Europeans
colonization
1860-1869
About person:Paulo Rrafifing Molefane
Abstract:The German explorer, Gustav Fritsch arrived in 1865 at the community of Moshupa, in what is today southeastern Botswana. There he saw a large crowd of people singing Christian hymns and listening to African preachers. In his observations, he expressed views which would become the dominant view of African-European relations during the colonial era and beyond. Missing from Fritsch's descriptions was an awareness of African perspectives during the decades prior to European conquest, such as those of the 'native preacher' who led the worship service in Moshupa and therefore was the primary local agent of modernization. Although not identified by Fritsch, the leading African preacher in Moshupa and nearby communities during the 1860s was Paulo Rrafifing Molefane. As well as being one of the early African evangelists, as ambassador, cultural broker, and purveyor of foreign goods and ideas, Paulo also became involved in the tensions that accompanied a growing European presence during the mid-nineteenth century. The ties which he and his family formed between Europeans and Africans played an important role in the development of early African-European relations. The figure of Paulo Rrafifing Molefane demonstrates the significant levels of contestation, cultural malleability, and individual initiative that arose in the broad, indeterminate borderland between African and European. This article is on the life and times of this influential man. Notes, ref. [ASC Leiden]
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