Christian palavers in Africa
In a piece that is pretty certain to excite controversy, Matthew Parris, a self-described atheist, writes about Christianity. He thinks that Christianity changes people in Africa for the better -
In the city we had working for us Africans who had converted and were strong believers. The Christians were always different. Far from having cowed or confined its converts, their faith appeared to have liberated and relaxed them. There was a liveliness, a curiosity, an engagement with the world - a directness in their dealings with others - that seemed to be missing in traditional African life. They stood tall. . .
Mary 'Ma' Slessor was one of the British missionaries in 19th century Nigeria who established schools, healed the ill, stopped battles, promoted trade and fearlessly persuaded cannibals - in dawn palavers - that there was a better way to live.