External contacts and pressures (1800 –1880)


Reasons for the coming of christian missionaries in East Africa.
Reasons for the success of missionary work in East Africa.
Role of missionaries in the colonisation of East Africa.
Activities of christian missionaries in East Africa.
Problems faced by missionaries in East Africa.
Effects of missionaries in East Africa






Christian missions were organised efforts to spread the Christian faith for the purpose of extending religious teaching at home or abroad. Christian missionaries were among the early external people to get into contact with the people of East Africa. Their coming to East Africa and Africa in general was based on a number of motives which were humanitarian, economic, political and social in nature. They carried out a number of activities such as Agriculture, exploration, evangelism, etc. whose impact on the people of East Africa is still evident today.

By the 19th century, a number of missionary groups worked in East Africa and these included;

  1. The Church Missionary Society

  2. The Holy Ghost Fathers

  3. The University Missionary Society to Central Africa

  4. The White Fathers

  5. The Methodist Fathers

  6. The Mill Hill Fathers

  7. The Verona Fathers

  8. The Comboni Fathers

  9. The London Missionary Society  

 The pioneer missionaries in East Africa were the Church Missionary Society led by the Germans John Krapt and Johann Rebmann who arrived in East Africa around 1844 and 1846 respectively. In 1863, the University Mission Society to Central Africa moved to Zanzibar where a mission was started from Re-union and later to Bagamoyo. Cardinal Lavigerie’s formation of the White Fathers Mission in Algeria (1863) extended to other parts of Africa.

In 1877,the Church Missionary Society mission arrived in Buganda while the white fathers arrived in 1879. In 1898, the Church of Scotland Mission arrived at Kikuyu, and in 1902, the Friends Missions arrived at Kaimosi.

The roles of these missionaries varied enormously depending on the colonial context and their relations with the colonial authorities.
The study about Christian Missionaries in East Africa is intended to help learners conceptualise the motives, activities, challenges which early missionaries faced as well as their impact on the people of East Africa.


Objectives of the study

By the end of the unit learners should be able to:

  1. identify the different missionary groups in East Africa.

  2. state reasons for the coming of missionaries to East Africa.

  3. identify missionary activities in East Africa by the different groups.

  4. state reasons why missionaries were successful in their work.

  5. list the problems faced by the missionaries in East Africa.

  6. explain the impact of missionary activities in East Africa.

  7. explain the role of missionaries in the colonisation of East Africa.

Main Content and Concepts to emphasise

  1. Reasons for coming of missionaries to East Africa

  2. Missionary activities in East Africa

  3. Effects of missionaries in East Africa

Job related life skills

Activity one

Ask the learners to visit their respective mission churches and do the following:

1.Find out the values emphasised by their church.

2.Explore the income generating activities run by the church

3.Identify one of the activities mentioned above and explain how they would engage in such an activity to earn a living.

4.Explain the steps/procedures they would follow to carry out the activity shown above.

5.Discuss the challenges they are likely to face while carrying out the above activity.

Activities two

You may invite a resource person (religious leader) to talk to the S.2 class about;

1. Christian moral values

2. Economic activities done by church

3.General guidance and counseling to the learners

Activities three

Ask the learners to form groups and act out the following roles of Christian missionaries;

  1. A religious leader preaching Christian moral values.

  2. Girls to act out the of roles the Christian Association mothers union like keeping poultry, weaving baskets and mats, baking cakes, cookies among others.

  3. Boys to act out the roles of the Christian Association fathers union like constructing houses, carpentry among others.

Questions to the learners

Ask the learners the following questions:

  1. What values have you identified from the talk?

  2. Which economic activities have you identified that this church engages in?

  3. If you were given an opportunity, which economic activity would you start for a living?


Teachers' guide
Scheme of work

Lesson plan
Revision Questions