Scottish Missionaries in Africa and Education

africeduWhile a significant number of Scots went to Africa with the London Missionary Society prior to the mid-nineteenth century, it was then that a notable change took place. This was triggered by the Disruption of the Church of Scotland in 1843. After its formation, the Free Church began to keenly promote foreign missions. This had the effect that the Established Church, perhaps sensing an air of competition, followed suit quickly, also increasing its missionary activities overseas. As Esther Breitenbach has noted, the Disruption ‘released an evangelical energy reflected in the growth of the foreign mission movement’. In South Africa, and by the mid-1800s, the Free Church alone had 13 missions in Kaffraria, 14 missions in the Transkei, and five missions in Natal, with a total of 144 Scottish missionaries. There …

Mary Slessor and Africa

On this day in 1915 one of Scotland’s most famous missionaries, Mary Slessor, died. Her portrait is widely circulated thanks to it being used on the Scottish £10 note issued by the Clydesdale Bank (with a map of Calabar in Nigeria and African missionary scenes on the reverse). As MacKenzie has observed, Slessor is ‘often depicted as one of the principal heroines of missionary endeavour in Africa’, but in public perception she tends to be overshadowed by male missionaries, particularly David Livingstone. Mary was one of a significant number of female missionaries actively engaged overseas, many of whom were supported by societies such as the Greenock Ladies’ Overseas Missionary Association.

Born in early December 1848 near Aberdeen, the Slessor family relocated to Dundee when Mary was still young. It was …