'THE NYAMANG ARE HARD TO TOUCH': MISSION EVANGELISM AND TRADITION IN THE NUBA MOUNTAINS, SUDAN, 1933-1952

in Journal of Religion in Africa
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Abstract

In 1935 the Church Missionary Society established a station at Salara, in the western part of the Nuba Mountains of Sudan. The station received considerable financial support from the colonial administration, as well as from donors in the United Kingdom, but it was strikingly unsuccessful in its attempts to create a local Christian community, and in the early 1950s the station was abandoned by the CMS. This paper explores the circumstances of this failure, and suggests that missionary work in Salara was undermined by the missionaries' ambivalent attitudes to tradition and modernity. These attitudes derived partly from engagement with colonial officials who were chronically uncertain as to the proper policy to pursue in the Nuba Mountains, and partly from a wider uncertainty in mission attitudes that had come to emphasize the need for a distinctly African form of Christianity but yet remained profoundly suspicious of the reliability of African Christians.

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