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Northcott, William Cecil (1961) Life and Work of Robert Moffat With Particular Reference to the Expansion of Missions and White Settlement North of the Orange River 1817-1870. PhD thesis. SOAS University of London. DOI:

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Robert Moffat's period of missionary service in southern Africa between 1817 and 1870 coincided with the rise of the Boer power in the Orange Free state and the Transvaal; the eruption of the Bantu tribes in the mfecane; the emergence of the Matabele into the Transvaal and (what is now) Southern Rhodesia; the "missionary struggle" to keep open the road to the north and to prevent it falling under Boer control; the first white settlement in Southern Rhodesia, and the beginnings of the Christian faith amongst the Bechuana and the Matabele. Moffat's establishment of his farthest north base at Kuruman (now in the Northern Cape) was the key to his influence, and the pattern of mission activity he created there was copied as the Christian frontier expanded northwards. Kuruman was the centre from which radiated the lines of Christian communication to the north, the base from which the expansion plans operated; and, in particular, was the focus point of the colleagueship of Moffat with his son-in-law, David Livingstone, which this study examines in detail. As a pioneer traveller in southern Africa, Moffat undertook five long journeys between 1829 and 1859 into the then unexplored areas of the Transvaal, Bechuanaland, and Southern Rhodesia. His journals and letters are primary evidence of conditions amongst the tribes, and in particular of the close friendship between himself and the Matabele chief, Moselekatse. Moffat's mastery of Sechuana; his translation of the Bible, singl-handed; and his printing enterprise at Kuruman, all have the marks of pioneering originality which made Livingstone admire him more than any other man in southern Africa. The influence of the Moffat family to-day in Central African affairs is a continuation of the liberal tradition in race relationships which Robert and Mary Moffat began during their fifty years in southern Africa.

Item Type: Theses (PhD)
SOAS Departments & Centres: SOAS Research Theses > Proquest
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2020 17:37

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