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CHURCH MISSIONARY SOCIETY ARCHIVE

Section IV: Africa Missions
Part 21: Kenya, 1935-1949

Covering the years 1935-1949, Part 21 is divided into five groups of material on the Kenya Mission: General, Dioceses, Education, Missions and Medical.

  • The general section comprises a wealth of letters, memoranda and reports on a wide range of subjects, from the development of the native church and the appointment of African teachers to fundraising and the constitution of the mission.
  • The Diocesan material provides correspondence and reports for the Mombassa Diocese as well as Minutes of Meetings of the Standing Committee of the Synod and the African Education Board.
  • The Education papers cover the running of many different schools within the Mission.  The Kikuyu Alliance High School, where the CMS missionary, Carey Francis, became headmaster in 1940, the Thogoto Rural Training Centre and the Maseno Vocational School are well documented.
  • There is good material on the Nairobi CMS Bookshops, the Mombassa Buxton High School and the Kahuhia Normal School.
  • The Mission section offers detailed descriptions of missionary work at Nairobi, Frere Town, Butere, Embu, Kahuhia, Kisumu and Mombassa.
  • Medical papers comprise correspondence on leper work and hospitals at the Kaloleni and Maseno Medical Missions.

There are important documents on the Central Kavirondo Local Native Council, the Central Council of the African Church, the Christian Council of Kenya, the Kenya Mission Advisory Committee, the East Africa Famine Fund and the CMS Hospitals’ Management Board.

All these papers offer the researcher a wealth of information on the Kenya Mission during the mid-1930s, the Second World War and its immediate aftermath.  There is significant information on the Kikuyu land problem, the Kenya African Union (epitomising attempts to empower well-educated Africans), race and African politics.

  • Missionaries such as Canon H Leakey served on the legislative council to represent African interests.
  • These papers also give researchers a good insight into organs of African political opinion such as The Young Kikuyu Association formed by Harry Thuku in 1921, The Kikuyu Central Association led by Jomo Kenyatta and Jesse Kariuki, various tribal associations including the Ukamba Members’ Association and the Taita Hills Association which emerged in the 1930s, and the Kavirondo Taxpapers Welfare Association led by Archdeacon W E Owen until 1936.

But by 1949, missionary leadership was no longer welcomed by the natives.  Unease continued about the high proportion of Indians in the population and the festering Kikuyu land problem.  These documents provide some clues to the mounting discontent which later manifested itself in the Mau Mau rebellion of the 1950s

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