Bagamoyo and the Spiritans

by Florentine Mallya, C.S.Sp
Article drawn from” Spiritan Horizons”, Fall 2011

Zanzibar, a stepping stone to mainland East Africa

The history of the presence of the Congregation of the Holy Ghost under the Protection of Holy Heart of Mary (Spiritans)[1] in Bagamoyo[2] is intimately linked with Zanzibar where they first touched the soil of East Africa.

Zanzibar was a regional business hub in that epoch. North Americans were already there since 1832 trading cotton which they produced very cheaply from their plantations using slaves mainly from West Africa. Also the French were there and the British as from 1841 and a German trading company, Wim O’Sewald & Co., trading cloth, beads, Swedish iron, gunpowder for cobalt, cloves and ivory.[3] Many European explorers of the 19th century such as Livingstone, Roscher, Speke and Burton, passed through Zanzibar en route to and from the interior of the mainland. The notorious Zanzibar slave market was flourishing. A famous Zanzibari slave trader, Tippu Tip, who was based in Congo, made a fortune from this trade. He owned 7 plantations and 10,000 slaves in Zanzibar. Many Indian and Arab merchants were attracted to Zanzibar to trade in slaves, spices and ivory.[4]

It is a known fact that it was mainly due to his business interests that merchant Sultan Sayyid Said moved his capital from Oman to Zanzibar. According to Mapunda; “His future empire was founded upon clove and coconut plantations on the islands and trade in slave and ivory from the mainland.” [5]  The survival of Sayyd Said’s empire badly needed the mainland, its people and resources.  Mapunda continues:

Zanzibar could not sustain herself economically independent of the mainland. For example, the coconut and especially the clove plantations needed slave labor; the class of merchants and political elite that had been created in Zanzibar needed domestic slaves; and the export trade that Sayyid Said was set to promote required ivory and slaves as principle trade items, both of which came exclusively from the mainland. [6]

The number of people taken into slavery in East Africa during the 19th century is estimated to be 1,514,000. Of this number, 51.7% of the slaves were retained in East Africa mainly in the spice plantations in both Zanzibar and Pemba Islands as well as in the Arab owned coconut plantations on the mainland. Others were shipped to different destinations; 23.3% to Arabia, Persia and India; 18.6% to South East Africa and 6.4% to the French Islands of Reunion and Mauritius.[7] Behind the statistics are real people who endured unimaginable suffering and dehumanizing cruelty as they were reduced to mere merchandise.   David Livingstone, doctor and missionary recorded the horror of slave trade in his journal.[8] There was above all, a far reaching devastation of traditional social, political and economic structures. It was at this point in history that the Christian missionaries arrived.

Bishop Maupoint’s plan

The arrival of the Spiritans in Zanzibar in 1863 was preceded by that of the diocesan clergy from Reunion who arrived in 1860. What happened is that thousands of slaves were sold to French settlers in Reunion to work on the sugar cane and coffee plantations. The tragic news of the poor conditions of slaves from East Africa came to the ears of Bishop Armand Réne Maupoint of St. Dénis. He resolved to help them. He thus developed the idea of fighting the evil of slavery right from the homeland of slaves. That is why in recognition of his missionary enterprise, Rome named him Prefect Apostolic of Zanzibar in 1862. According to his plan, Zanzibar was of strategic importance because of its central position and proximity to mainland East Africa. In 1858 he sent his Vicar General, Fr. Armand José Fava to Zanzibar to do what we call today feasibility studies for a new mission. December 22, 1860  was a historic day, when Fr. Fava along with two other priests, a surgeon of the French Navy, some craftsmen and six Sisters of the Congregation of the Daughters of Mary also known as Filles de Marie de la Réunion[9] arrived in Zanzibar to start the evangelization of East Africa. Father Fava started a mission with a clear “job description” based on Bishop Maupoint’s plan…“to fight slavery at the grass-roots level, to ransom as many slaves as possible, to train them in schools and agricultural settlements and to lead them to Christianity.”[10]

Amidst the success of the mission work in Zanzibar they didn’t lose sight of the main objective which was to get to the homeland of slaves. Zanzibar remained in their view, a stepping stone to the mainland. Father Fava went several times to Bagamoyo in search of a suitable location for the next stop. He even bought a plot in Bagamoyo.[11] Within a span of two years the work had become overwhelming and there was need for a religious Congregation with African experience. It is precisely at this juncture that the Spiritans came into the picture in East Africa. Spiritans had been working in Reunion since 1839. Father Alexandre Monnet also known as “the Father of the Blacks” and Father Frédéric Levavasseur were well known in Reunion as advocates of the rights of slaves. When it came to passing the baton in Zanzibar, Spiritans were a natural choice to Bishop Maupoint.

Arrival of the Spiritans in East Africa

After a rather tough negotiation and not without hesitation, Father Ignatius Schwindenhammer, Superior General of the Spiritans, signed the agreement on August 24th, 1862.[12]  However, Zanzibar remained under the jurisdiction of the Diocese of St. Denis until 1872.  On June 16th, 1863 the first Spiritans arrived in Zanzibar; Father Anthony Horner, Father Etienne Baur, Brother Celestine, Brother Felician and two new Sisters.

The mission in Zanzibar flourished due to the selfless devotion of the Sisters and the tireless apostolic zeal of the Spiritans. The Island of Zanzibar was deeply immersed in slave trade at that time: now the main apostolate of the missionaries there was to liberate slaves by paying their purchase price. The liberated slaves were then settled in Freedom Villages, educated and, if they wished, instructed in the Faith.  Just like the slave traders, Spiritans went to the slave market and took part in the bargaining but with a different objective altogether. As they ransomed slaves on the slave market (where the Anglican Cathedral stands today), they had an eye on the mainland. Father Horner’s vision was to establish Christian villages with ransomed slaves. This vision which was later realized in Bagamoyo was his real brainchild. The idea was that once the slaves became Christians and married, they would become missionaries to their own people in the interior. Right from the beginning the pioneer Spiritan missionaries had two major objectives: 1) to ransom and liberate slaves from bondage and 2) to establish the Church in Africa. With these twin ideas in mind, Fathers Horner and Baur made several reconnaissance journeys to the mainland[13] and finally settled for a coastal town called Bagamoyo.[14]

Bagamoyo, a gateway to the interior

In 1868 it was decided to transfer the Freedom Village from Zanzibar to Bagamoyo.[15] Spiritans went 45 kilometers across the sea to Bagamoyo which would then become the gateway for evangelizing the interior of the continent since the Prefecture of Zanzibar extended from Cape Guardafui to the North at the tip of the horn of Africa down the East Coast to Cape Delgado in the South just inside Mozambique, with no borders inland to the West. [16]

On March 4th, 1868, Father Horner started the first mission on the East African mainland in Bagamoyo. This was the first Spiritan Mission on the East Coast of Africa and at that time Spiritan Missions had been opened on the West Coast only in Senegal, Gambia and Gabon. Thanks to Seyyid Majid bin Said, Sultan of Zanzibar and founder of Dar es Salaam, the Spiritans acquired a large plot of land about 500 meters North of the town. On July 16th 1868 everything was ready for the official dedication of the new mission, the ground was cleared, leveled, a house built and a cross erected “in the name of the Church, the Congregation, and…Catholic France…[17] Father Horner’s main objective was now the transfer of the main works one by one to Bagamoyo beginning with the agricultural and industrial school, the orphanage and the elementary school.  On December 10th, 1868 some Spiritan Brothers moved with 50 young men from Zanzibar to Bagamoyo to clear the mission ground into arable land. On November 14th 1869, seven Sisters with 46 girls and young women transferred to Bagamoyo. Apart from being a stepping stone to the interior, the shift to Bagamoyo was also made for pragmatic reasons for it was virtually impossible to keep all the converts in Zanzibar because the daily expenses were too high. Ex-slaves had nowhere to go and there wasn’t enough work to sustain them. Also the Spiritans thought that the whole atmosphere on the Island was unfavorable to a Christian way of life. There wasn’t any other choice but to move.

Pastoral Methods

It was in Bagamoyo that the change from “Freedom Village” to “Christian Freedom Village” took place. For the Spiritans, such a village was seen as the best opportunity to lead ex-slaves to Christianity, to protect them from Muslim influence and possible re-enslavement. Henschel considers this change as the first pastoral method adopted by the Spiritans. It gives flesh to Father Horner’s vision. Henschel did a detailed analysis of entries from the “Records of Baptism” and “Records of Marriages” of Bagamoyo mission.[18] He brings to light interesting details which help us learn more about the life and residents of the Christian village. For example, missionaries didn’t force the ransomed slaves to be baptized. Also the fact that almost all the witnesses to marriages and baptisms signed the documents in their own legible handwriting is clear proof that they got basic education. Liberated slaves came from different areas in East Africa, from many ethnic origins and with different linguistic backgrounds. They were thus completely uprooted from their cultural milieu. Life in the Village however imperfect it was, helped them to build a network of social relationships despite their diversity. The daily rhythm of life was organized around work, prayer in common, the celebration of sacraments and religious feasts. All residents of the Christian Village were trained in a wide range of skills and even earned their living as gardeners, tailors, carpenters, bricklayers, printers etc. In this way the Spiritans tried to stabilize the uprooted ex-slaves and introduce them to a network of social and communal life. It was an uphill struggle to introduce not just a Christian culture but also, in a way, a metropolitan culture. A good example is that all ex-slaves had to learn a common language, Kiswahili, in order to communicate with one another and the world beyond the village.

Those who reached adulthood were free to marry and build their future.  The Missionaries chose the best among the young married Christians of the Christian Village to form the nucleus of Christian communities in the interior of East Africa and these become lay-missionaries to other Africans. This particular pastoral method is well captured by a local painter from Morogoro who painted the wall behind the altar of the main Church in Bagamoyo. There is ample evidence that young Christian couples from Bagamoyo worked hand in hand with the Spiritans in their new venture in the interior.  In order to strengthen a newly founded community in Kilema, Moshi, a nucleus of 18 families were brought from Bagamoyo in 1883.[19] The same could be said of many early missions founded by the Spiritans in the interior. Over a year ago, while digging at St. Austin Parish cemetery in Nairobi, workers came across skeletons believed to be the remains of these lay-missionaries who accompanied the Spiritans all the way from Bagamoyo.

With time, questions were asked about the suitability of building up the Church in East Africa upon liberated slaves in the closed environment of a Christian Village. Also an issue was raised about the Spiritan preoccupation with ransoming slaves. Wasn’t this policy an obstacle towards the evangelization of free Africans who never experienced slavery?[20] These are good and pertinent questions and can best be understood in their historical context. What is clear though is the fact that the future of the East African church was taking shape already at this stage right in the Bagamoyo mission enclave.

A major change of missionary strategy happened in 1883 when Rome appointed Father Jean Marie Raoul le Bas de Courmont as Apostolic Vicar of the Vicariate of Zanzibar. He convened a diocesan Synod from September 2nd to 14th, 1884 to discuss pastoral methods. A method of mission by schools emerged and became a real turning point. It was articulated by Father Cado Picarda who introduced a plan for school education which included a three or four year curriculum in reading and writing in Kiswahili. He also proposed that schools should start at all places, be open to non-Christian children, offer training in manual work, in agriculture and technical skills. Finally the synod endorsed his plan and added “that teachers have to be trained who can be at the same time good catechists.” This synod brought a new dawn with a brighter future since the new pastoral approach became very effective for the Church in East Africa. For instance, in 1914 the Apostolic Vicariate of Bagamoyo had 61 schools with 12,766 pupils and 300 teachers. Two years later in 1916 the number of students had almost doubled to 23,448 with 390 teachers.[21]

The third pastoral method consisted of the effort to build up a strong local Church. In this way Spiritans laid a solid foundation for the future of the local Church in East Africa. Already from Zanzibar, the recruitment of African candidates for priesthood had begun with 20 candidates. A junior seminary which started in Zanzibar was moved to Bagamoyo in February 17, 1869 and then back to Zanzibar in 1872 after the terrible hurricane where it died a natural death.[22] Spiritans made attempts to foster vocations to religious life as well. Six candidates were sent to France for formation but only one of them made it back as a Brother. Unfortunately he left the Congregation in 1880.

In 1925 Spiritans sent seven young candidates for the priesthood to the White Fathers in Tabora because they couldn’t begin a junior seminary due to shortage of personnel. In 1930 the Teachers Training College (T.T.C) and secondary school in Morogoro were sufficiently developed to offer suitable academic training to seminarians. However, the need for a junior seminary remained. The opportunity came in 1937 when a Dutch Spiritan, Father Alphonce Loogman, a man of great academic and missionary experience was assigned the responsibility to found the new Junior Seminary at Ilonga Mission. In 1939, the Seminary was transferred to Bagamoyo. For the period of ten years both St. Peter’s major seminary and St. Michael’s junior seminary were located in Bagamoyo. It was, however, a period of great adversity on account of the Second World War.  Financial help couldn’t be expected from Europe. Sources of revenue in  missions were meager and unreliable. Also the regular supply of fresh missionaries from Holland had stopped. Seminarians were obliged to work at nearby Nunge Salt Works to subsidise their upkeep, and to fish for food. Senior seminarians helped to alleviate the heavy task of the regular teaching staff by taking care of the junior section. [23] It took time, patience and conviction to pursue the noble task of forming local clergy amid difficulties and uncertainties. The first fruits of long perseverance were harvested on February 25th, 1946 when the first two African priests, “pure product” of junior and senior Seminaries in Bagamoyo were ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Hilhorst. In this way, Spiritans fulfilled one of the basic missionary principles dear to Libermann which was to found a local church by training the local clergy and as soon as possible have local ordinaries.

Just an anecdote, the incumbent Bishop of Morogoro, Telesphor Mkude, his late predecessor, Bishop Adrian Mkoba and the current Bishop of Tanga, Anthony Banzi did their clerical training in Bagamoyo. Just recently Bishop Mkude came to Bagamoyo to confer the sacrament of Confirmation. Prior to the liturgy, he disappeared for a good while. Later on, I picked it up from the conversation that he had gone to pray at the parish cemetery and at the Grotto built in 1876 by ex-slaves. These two places seem to have marked him forever dating back to his days as a young seminarian in Bagamoyo.

The above mentioned pastoral methods indicate both the dynamism and the evolution of the Spiritan missionary work in Bagamoyo as regards evangelization and education. Spiritans also took an interest in other fields such as science, geography, natural history, ethnology, anthropology, linguistics and botany. Father Charles Sacleux was a respected linguist and botanist of international reputation while Father Alexander Le Roy was renowned for his anthropological and ethnographic studies as well as for his artistic skills. There are things which we often take for granted. For example, it was Father Horner who brought coffee seeds from Reunion in 1877 to experiment in Bagamoyo, before spreading them to the interior where the output grew to industrial scale and brought a real socio-economic revolution in places like Kilimanjaro. There was a famous botanical garden in Bagamoyo devoted to acclimatizing exotic plants, shrubs and trees from Reunion, Madagascar, India and Europe.[24] Such initiatives are not only inspirational and praiseworthy but they challenge the young generation of Spiritans to more creativity and the diversification of ministries.

Before we look at Bagamoyo today, it would do no harm to give more credit to the pioneer Spiritans of Bagamoyo mission in the following areas: 1. Contribution towards the growth and spread of Kiswahili and 2. Political wisdom

Contribution towards the growth and spread of Kiswahili

When Spiritans arrived in Bagamoyo, it was clear that they had already made a deliberate choice to avoid proselytism in order not to provoke the Moslems who were dominant in town. That is why prior to evangelization of the interior, they limited their apostolate to an enclave of the liberated slaves who were all uprooted from their cultural milieu. This explains why they adopted the Kiswahili language and, of course, some elements of Swahili culture. Kiswahili became very useful and effective when it came to the spread Christianity in the interior. The negative side of it is that Spiritans didn’t invest themselves, as they should, in the local languages apart from Kiswahili.

To their credit though, some of them perfectly mastered the use of Kiswahili and were able to compose Swahili prayer manuals, catechism and hymns which had great success and were employed almost everywhere in the missions even beyond Tanganyika. Recently, at the Alliance Française in Dar es Salaam, a Ph.D candidate presented some of his findings on Father Charles Sacleux who was an accomplished linguist of his time. A propos, Versteijnen states:

Father Sacleux contributed a great deal to the development of the Swahili language.  His most outstanding works are his dictionaries-both French-Swahili and Swahili-French-and his Swahili Grammar comprising a comparative study of the different dialects of the Coast, … His excellent knowledge of the Swahili language was of great help when the missionaries felt the time had come to provide the Christian community with religious books.[25]

He also translated French prayers, books and hymns into Swahili. Much later Julius Nyerere[26] did a lot to promote the use of Kiswahili as a means of forging unity and shaping the identity of the newly independent nation. Indirectly, Spiritans contributed to the creation of future national identity. Later on, Father Loogman picked up the challenge of promoting the Swahili language. He wrote very good Swahili grammar books and short stories[27] some of which people of my generation used as pupils and which, amazingly, are still on the market today.

Political wisdom

For their survival, Spiritans had to sail in the troubled coastal political waters without getting drowned. Their position was already delicate in Zanzibar where the British and the French lived in a constant climate of suspicion because each camp wanted to influence the Sultan in line with its own political and economic agenda. Things were not simple either when they moved to Bagamoyo in 1868:

To establish themselves they had to negotiate with the local magnates who to a large extent were the Arab and Swahili traders under the Sultan of Zanzibar. This needed great diplomatic skills as their interests differed enormously. They differed on religion and proselytism, on slave trade and slaves and even on political alliances. Yet the Spiritans managed to make friends,…[28]

Father Etienne Baur, the Superior, distinguished himself during the times of trouble as a seasoned diplomat whose policy of neutrality and openness helped to protect the mission and the values missionaries stood for without compromise. The proof is that Bagamoyo mission was spared from destruction during the Bushiri uprising in 1889. Missionaries were credible intermediaries between contesting factions. Thanks to their policy of neutrality, they were able to mediate the exchange of prisoners and secure the release of some German Benedictines captured by the Arabs during the Bushiri rebellion.[29]

After 1885, the Germans started to affirm their colonial rule but not without resistance from the local people. Bagamoyo was for a while the capital of German East Africa and a theater of bloody violence as indicated above. The appointment of German Bishop Xavier Vogt to Bagamoyo in 1907 and Bishop Aloys Munsch to Kilimanjaro in 1910 was a diplomatic move by the Spiritans to ease relations with the German colonial authority. It is important to read the signs of the times. Kilaini rightly observes:

On the whole the Spiritans kept a cordial functional relationship with the Germans on one hand and got more involved with the local people a thing that gave them success. A good lesson to us is that we work cordially and respectfully with the governments but be a separate entity from them and be more involved with the people and their issues. [30]

This is indeed a pertinent lesson especially in Africa today where many societies suffer from civil and political instability. We tend to forget that in the exercise of our ministry we are at times expected to offer leadership on issues pertaining to the society at large without compromising the quality of our witness. Can we in good conscience avoid Justice and Peace issues and still remain relevant in ministry?

Bagamoyo today

I visited Bagamoyo for the first time in 1989 while at the novitiate. I must say that I was personally touched by the young age of 27 Spiritans and 20 Daughters of Mary missionaries buried in the parish cemetery.  I figured that their premature passing could as well be my fate if I chose missionary life. I felt more inspired by the sacrifice of their lives than discouraged. The pastor of Bagamoyo parish and the founder of the parish museum, Father Fritz Versteijnen (1970-1990), looked happy despite his struggle with cancer.  His enthusiasm was indicative of what Bagamoyo meant for him although the mission compound was no more than a shadow of its former glory. He hoped and prayed that young African Spiritans would take on the mantle of this old mission.

His prayer was heard when the East African Province appointed Father Valentine Bayo as the pastor of Bagamoyo Parish in 1991. It was the beginning of the new era. Ever since many Spiritans have brought their modest contribution to Bagamoyo: Johannes Henschel, Gallus Marandu, Daniel Bouju, Casmir Nyaki, Richard LeClair, Thamelus Mloka, Pius Onyango, Henricus Tullemans, Patience Mugisha, Liberatus Kundi, Michael Massawe, Riclan Mallya, Arnold Baijukya, Francis Kimaro and Florentine Mallya. The presence and the labor of these Spiritans have given a new lease of life to the ailing mission. Pastoral outreach in the outstations, regular sacramental ministry and the organization of Small Christian Communities are praiseworthy initiatives which have brought back to the Church many local Christians hitherto lost among the predominantly Muslim population.  In response to the pressure of newcomers from inland and the overpopulated Dar es Salaam, two new parishes are in the making; Epiphany Church in Majengo and Christ the King Church in Kerege. It’s true that from the beginning, Christianity didn’t have a good press among the local population since it was associated with ex-slaves and later on with colonization. Although Bagamoyo has always been a multicultural and multiethnic town, Islam remained dominant and unchallenged for many years.  This is no longer the reality today. We can be optimistic that things have begun to change and the interreligious dialogue of life is slowly happening. Christians can openly affirm their religious identity.

Without pretension, the Spiritan network of social and educational projects has brought a positive awakening to Bagamoyo in the last 20 years.  Spiritans run two secondary schools, one primary school, one vocational training school, a small catering school, two health centers and a dispensary. Christians and non-Christians alike are the beneficiaries of these social and educational projects. It is highly symbolic that where the former Marian freedom village was located, there stands today the Marian Girls School, offering quality education to 750 high school level students from different social and religious backgrounds. Certainly, these girls are experiencing a new form of liberation and hopefully a nucleus of responsible citizens will emerge from among them.

Spare no efforts to revitalize Bagamoyo.” These were words of Polycarp Cardinal Pengo of the Archdiocese of Dar es Salaam to the delegates of (the defunct) East African Province Chapter in 2002. He recognizes the historical motherhood of Bagamoyo mission which was the springboard for the evangelization of the interior and remained for several decades an inspiring center of Catholic piety, teaching and scholarship. This is what makes Bagamoyo important not just for the Spiritans but for the whole East African church. Other “apostolic assets”[31] of the parish apart from the historical motherhood include the museum, the grotto or the Shrine of Our Lady and indeed the whole mission compound which could be seen as an open air museum. In recent times, Father Johannes Henschel, Father Gallus Marandu and Father Daniel Bouju tried to open up as much as they could the richness of these apostolic assets to the wider society. Thanks to their efforts, Bagamoyo mission is considered as the stakeholder of the national heritage network. Father Henschel liked to say that the museum was his second pulpit because it gave him access to more than 30,000 visitors per year who didn’t necessarily share the same cultural background and religious tradition. In connection with the museum, there is the Spiritan Center. Apart from the formation programs, it is meant to offer a platform for exchange of cultural issues and research.

Lastly, between June 24th and July 22nd, 2012, the General Chapter of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit will take place for the first time ever in Africa, precisely at Bagamoyo. It is a fitting homage to the sacrifice and the commitment of the Spiritan missionaries who worked in Bagamoyo and elsewhere in Africa. In many ways, as we have seen above, Bagamoyo is capable of inspiring the General Chapter in the fundamental aspects of our Spiritan mission in 21st century.


[1] In 1703 Claude Poullart des Places founded in Paris, France, the “Seminary of the Holy Ghost.” Soon the priests trained in the seminary were known as the Spiritans. In 1848, the “Society of the Holy Heart of Mary,” founded by a Jewish convert, Francis Mary Paul Libermann, merged with the Congregation of the Holy Ghost. Hence the official title after the fusion: “Congregation of the Holy Ghost under the protection of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”

[2] A lot of ink has been poured trying to figure out the etymology of the word Bagamoyo. It could be a deformation of the the Kiswahili word “Bwagamoyo” which means pour out your heart.  Let us remember that at this point in history, Kiswahili wasn’t yet a standardized language. In fact, there are around ten different places in East Africa bearing the same name. For my part, I am more inclined to accept the above translation, as the meaning of this word. Given the context, it makes more sense to me as a Kiswahili speaker.

The Bulletin Général (vol 6, 416) suggests “jusque dans le coeur” as a meaning, in the sense of the way into the heart of the country.  Duquesne University,,24234 n.d., (retrieved November 7, 2011).

[3] Johannes Henschel, Missionaries of Bagamoyo, 8.

[4] Ibid. 8.

[5] Bertram B.B. Mapunda, Bagamoyo, From a Slave Port to a Tourist Destination, (Dar es Salaam: Stegerm Tanzania, 2007), 12.

[6] Ibid. 12.

[7] Johannes Henschel, 1868-1893 Bagamoyo Catholic Mission: What Old Sketches and Documents Tell. (Dar es Salaam: Top Desk Production Limited) 1.

[8] Graham Mercer, Bagamoyo-Town of Palms, (Batu: Times Offset, 2007), 32.

[9] Their Congregation was cofounded in 1849 in Reunion by Aimé Pignolet des Fresnes who became Mother Marie Magdalene de la Croix and Father Frédéric Levavaseur, a Créole Spiritan, who was both her cousin and spiritual director. Daughters of Mary have been faithful collaborators of the Spiritans in mission. They left Tanzania in 1986. Father Daniel Bouju went to Reunion to negotiate their return to Tanzania in 1998.  Sisters came back in 2002 to work with the Spiritans. Presently, they have two communities in Bagamoyo and one in Arusha. Two young Tanzanians joined their Congregation a year ago.

[10] Johannes Henschel, “The Four Pastoral Methods of the Spiritans in Bagamoyo; A Short History of the Catholic Church”  Unpublished document, 2011, 2-3.

[11] Fritz Versteijnen, The Catholic Mission of Bagamoyo,  (Saarbrucken: A.K. Zuber & COD, 1991), 6.

[12] Bulletin Général (de la Congrégation du Saint- Esprit et du Saint Coeur de Marie), vol 3 (1862-1863)  pp.4-6.  Décret d’acceptation de la mission de Zanguebar, sur les côtes orientales d’Afrique (24 aôut 1862). Duquesne University,,19360 n.d., (retrieved November 7, 2011).

[13] Ibid. 4.

[14] It isn’t clear when this town was founded.  Mapunda suggests that Bagamoyo gained importance in mid-nineteenth century when the Kilwa-Zanzibar route withered away. Slave and ivory trade greatly contributed to the prominence of Bagamoyo but the underlying factor is its proximity to Zanzibar. It became a famous transit port, Sultan’s base in the mainland, rallying point for explorers, slave traders, military expeditions and terminus for caravans from the interior. Using cheap slave labour, Arabs opened large scale plantations and farms around the town for food export and for the subsistence of the growing population.

[15] Bulletin Général, vol 6 (1867-1869) pp 415-416.  Décret autorisant la foundation d’une nouvelle communauté  dans la mission de Zanguebar, sous le titre de ND de Bagamoyo (2 fév 1868).  Duquesne University,,24233 n.d., (retrieved November 7, 2011).

[16] Henry Koren, The Spiritans, Duquesne University 1958, p. 196 f. and p.222 f.                                              Spiritans’ dream “to join hands” with their Confreres in Congo was thwarted when an influential Prelate and Founder of the White Fathers, Cardinal Lavigerie, got his plan of evangelization of Central Africa endorsed by Propoganda Fide in Rome.  It’s not without a certain sadness that the Spiritans helped to prepare caravans of the White Fathers on their way to the Great Lakes in 1878, 1879, 1883 and 1887.  Then the Benedictines of St. Otillien followed suit in 1887 on their way to South Tanganyika.  Missionaries’ gateway to the interior before the 1st World War was Bagamoyo.  For reasons such as this, the Episcopal Conference of Tanzania (TEC) designated Bagamoyo, Mother Mission of East Africa.

[17] Vesteijnen, 6-7.

[18] Johannes Henschel, “Mission Model Bagamoyo: Christian Village for Ex-Slaves and The Four Pastoral Methods of the Spiritans; A Short History of the Catholic Church,”  Unpublished documents.

[19] Method Kilaini, “Historical Perspective on the Missionary Arrival in East Africa, Attitudes of the Early Missionaries towards: The Political Situation and Towards the Cultural Realities of the Time, The Tanzania Experience,” 3. Extracts from the talk given during the Mission Congress at Consolata Mission Center in Dar es Salaam, November, 2010.

[20] Versteijnen,18.

[21] Henschel, “The Mission Model Bagamoyo: Christian Village for Ex-Slaves” 8-9.

[22] Versteijnen, 44.

[23] Ibid. 46-47.

[24] Ibid. 21-22.

[25] Versteijnen, 21.

[26] The first President of Tanzania.

[27] Such books as: “Someni kwa Furaha,” “Someni, Bila Shida,”etc. became household names.

[28] Kilaini,14.

[29] Versteijnen, 25.

[30] Kilaini, 5.

[31] Expression borrowed from Father Daniel Bouju who lived and worked in Bagamoyo for nearly 15 years. He passed away on April 21st, 2011. According to his wish, he’s buried at Bagamoyo  parish cemetery.

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