Identity, Change and the Making of the Mission Agent
Chapter 4 Back to Base
Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed until it is faced. — James Baldwin Johnson returned to Ibadan at the end of 1865, having completed his train- ing at Abẹokuta. A major dif ference that marked his pre-Abẹokuta days in Ibadan and the present one was his father’s death, which occurred earlier in the year.1 All other things considered, the mission he was returning to was no dif ferent from the one he left behind in December 1862. The privation that marked the life of the Christian community under David Hinderer was as acute as it had ever been. The end of the Ijaye war had brought no peace to the country. Rather, in its aftermath, Ibadan became the centre of widening ripples of anger in the country. Its restless warriors continued to menace neighbouring peoples, and they, in turn, intensified the priva- tion of its people with blockade from the coast. To such a place Johnson returned at the end of 1865 to begin his service at the Kudẹti day school. As in the previous ef fort to carve a niche for Christianity in the Yoruba country through adult conversion, getting children for the mission schools in Ibadan was an arduous task. Abẹokuta and Lagos, for their being home to many Saro returnees and for their association with Europeans, could appeal to the people with the prospects of the encroaching colonial order. But Ibadan was a dif ferent case. The...
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