The Rise and Fall of The Moffat Institution: Mission Education in a Colonial Borderland
As the Scottish missionary Robert Moffat retired in Britain after a long career working among the Tswana in southern Africa, the London Missionary Society decided to found a seminary in his name for training African evangelists. The Moffat Institution at Kuruman was completed in 1879, but within only 20 years its classrooms were mostly empty and crumbling. The brief life of the Moffat Institution demonstrates the constraints under which European missionaries operated in the borderland region north of the Cape Colony. While British missionaries within the Cape Colony promoted the liberal ideal of equality for Africans through their Anglicisation, founding English-medium schools that focused on study of European culture, British missionaries in areas still governed by Tswana rulers laboured instead to translate Christianity into Tswana terms, presenting the gospel in ways that might appear less threatening, attract the interest of potential converts and gain the assistance of local evangelists. During the height of Tswana resistance to colonisation, however, neither model of mission education proved viable at the remote location of Kuruman, and it would be left to a new generation of missionaries and Africans to develop schools more practically suited for life under colonialism.
South African Historical Journal