The Bambatha Watershed : Swedish Missionaries, African Christians and an Evolving Zulu Church in Rural Natal and Zululand 1902-1910

Sammanfattning: This study examines the Church of Sweden Mission and the encounter between Swedish missionaries, African Christians and evangelists in Natal and Zululand in the early twentieth century. The ambition with the present study is to demonstrate that the mission enterprise was dependent on and an integral part of developments in society at large. It attends to the issue of how the idea of folk Christianisation and the establishing of a territorial folk church on the mission field originated in the Swedish society and was put into practice in South Africa. It describes how the goals implied attempted to both change and preserve African society. This was a task mainly assigned the African evangelists. By closely focusing on the particular regions where the Church of Sweden Mission was present, conflicts between pre-capitalistand capitalist, black and white societies are revealed. The 1906 Bambatha uprising became a watershed. The present study demonstrates how the uprising differently affected different regions and also the evolving -Zulu church. in the one region where Christianity was made compatible with African Nationalist claims, it was demonstrated that it was possible to be both a nationalist and a Christian, which paved the way for both religious independency and nationalist resistance and, eventually, large scale conversions.