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Samuel Johnson of Yorubaland, 1846-1901

Identity, Change and the Making of the Mission Agent

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Wolfgang-Ulrich Fischer

This study aims to understand how the nineteenth-century African agent of mission appropriated change without losing cultural integrity. Drawing essentially from the contexts that produced the man, from Sierra Leone to the Yoruba country, the study shows Samuel Johnson as embodying the opportunities and ambivalence that progressively accompanied Yoruba contact with Britain in the people’s war-weary century of change. Largely influenced by German missionaries in the British mission environment of Yorubaland, Johnson had confidence in the bright prospect the missionary message held for his people. This propelled him into a struggle to relieve the distressed country from its woes and to preserve the fading memory of its people. In an age of renewed cultural ferment called globalization, could Johnson offer a lesson in how to appropriate change? This is the concern of this volume.

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Abbreviations

Extract

BM Basel Mission CMS Church Missionary Society CUP Cambridge University Press DACB Dictionary of African Christian Biography EAPH East Africa Publishing House GL Guildhall Library, London JACT Journal of African Christian Thought JAH Journal of African History JHSN Journal of the Historical Society of Nigeria JTSA Journal of Theology for Southern Africa NAL National Archives, London OUP Oxford University Press RBGK Royal Botanical Gardens, Kew, London SCM Student Christian Movement SPCK Society for the Propagation of Christian Knowledge WMS Wesleyan Missionary Society

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