Stanslaus C. Muyebe. The Catholic Missionaries Within and Beyond the Politics of Exclusivity in Colonial Malawi, 1901-1945. Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellen Press, 1999. viii + 221 pp. $89.95 (cloth), ISBN 978-0-7734-7985-2.
Reviewed by Norman A. Etherington (Department of History, University of Western Australia)
Published on H-SAfrica (December, 2001)
This is a light-weight addition to the Edwin Mellen Press series, 'Studies in the History of Missions'. Despite the title, the book does not purport to compete with Ian Linden's magisterial studies of Catholic missions in Malawi. The subject of the study is supposed to be the Montfort Catholic mission to the Lomwe people of Malawi, but the reader will be hard pressed to find much information about the the Montfort missionaries in this book. There are no listings for Catholic Church, Monfort, or even missions in the index. You will find more information about the Montfort missions and their origins in Quebec on the Montfort website than can be found anywhere in this book.
The main sources used by the author are published books, twenty-two interviews and forty-two letters held by the National Archives of Malawi in Zomba. Of those forty-two letters, eleven appear to have been written by individuals associated with the Montfort missionaries.
The main concern of the author is contemporary missiology and the trials of the Lomwe ethnic group following their migration from Mozambique during the years 1890 to 1940. There is no doubt that Stanslaus Muyebe, identified on the cover as a 'student for the Dominican Order in South Africa', has an abiding concern for the advancement of Christianity in Malawi. He makes sound observations on the Africanization of theology. But this cannot be considered a serious history.
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Norman A. Etherington. Review of Muyebe, Stanslaus C., The Catholic Missionaries Within and Beyond the Politics of Exclusivity in Colonial Malawi, 1901-1945.
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