'And it is Really Thanks to You that We Are Saved …' An African Discourse on Conversion and the Creation of a Modern Myth

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Abstract

This article seeks to analyse why young members of the Dii people in Adamawa, Northern Cameroon, in middle decades of the 20th century converted to Christianity, presented to them by Norwegian missionaries. Through the Dii discourse curiosity connected to the new message, importance of the mission schools, the attitude of the missionaries, and the importance of improved social status are presented as reasons behind conversion. In addition, Dii self-narration presents liberation from social oppression, from the Muslim dominant Fulbe and the French colonial administration, as the main reason behind the Dii change of plausibility structure. In order to legitimise the social and religious changes that followed acceptance of Christianity, the Norwegian missionaries were turned into mythic heroes of liberation and used by the new Dii elite to strengthen ethnic boundaries through a Dii 'construction' of recent historical past.

'And it is Really Thanks to You that We Are Saved …' An African Discourse on Conversion and the Creation of a Modern Myth

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