Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-p2v8j Total loading time: 0.001 Render date: 2024-05-28T11:13:42.630Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Explaining Surgical Evangelism in Colonial Southern Africa: Teeth, Pain and Faith*

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  22 January 2009

Paul S. Landau
Yale University


Southern Africans configured missionaries as medical, bodily practitioners because of the meaning of ritual specialization in southern Africa. At the same time, ‘practicing medicine’ often meant minor surgery to missionaries, who lagged behind Europe's medical advances at the turn of the century. Whereas southern Africans located their well-being in the nexus of person and community, missionaries' surgery attacked this nexus. Surgery implied, and missionaries asserted, that healing derived from a resolution of interior somatic conflicts, in which troublesome body parts might be removed. A new way of speaking about certain kinds of physical pain was developed, whereby the body briefly became a total site for illness and healing. At the same time, Nonconformist evangelism demanded that individuals rid their interior selves of unsavory forces and extract themselves from those aspects of their communal lives which generated such influences. Because both Africans and missionaries moralized illness, and because some forms of surgery, like tooth-pulling, ‘worked’ for Africans, surgery marked a rite of passage to a new group of peers: Christians, who could recontextualize the catharsis of getting well.

New Perspectives on Southern African History
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1996

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


1 Quote from Lewis, R. H., ‘Medicine at Molepolole’, Chronicle of the London Missionary Society, xv (1906), 41.Google Scholar The evoked picture of the house and the morning scene is of necessity partly conjectural.

2 Some of the onlookers were undoubtedly kin of the patients. The quote, in the past tense in the original, is from the London Missionary Society, South[ern] Africa correspondence [LMS SA, meaning ‘In-Letters’ unless designated ‘Reports’ or ‘Journals’], Reports, Box 3, File 3 (‘3/3’), Molepolole for 1904 (Lewis, R. H., 1905).Google Scholar LMS material, under the Council for World Missions, is housed in the University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies. See also LMS SA 6/4 Serowe for 1926, R. H. Lewis.

3 This happened twice to Livingstone; see his entry for Serowe, 3 July 1842, in Schapera, Isaac (ed.), Missionary Correspondence, 1841–1856 (London, 1961)Google Scholar; and the entry for Ujiji, 24 Feb. 1868, in Walker, H. (ed.), The Last Journals of David Livingstone (London, 1874), i.Google Scholar

4 See Livingstone's famous, apocryphal dialogue with a ‘Kwena rainmaker’, the best version of which is in Schapera, Isaac (ed.), Livingstone's Private Journals, 1851–1853 (Cape Town, 1960), 239–43.Google Scholar

5 See Seeley, C. F., ‘The reaction of the BaTswana to the practice of western medicine’ (M.Phil, thesis, London School of Economics, 1973), 78Google Scholar, 88ff.; Tlou's, Thomas nice phrase, in ‘Khama III – great reformer and innovator’, Botswana Notes and Records, II (1970), 99Google Scholar, is that, to the rank and file, ‘dingaka and missionaries were species of the same genus’.

6 The concept of ‘equivalence’ in translation studies has largely gone by the wayside. For the topic as a whole, I found useful Snell-Hornby, Mary, Translation Studies: An Integrated Approach (Amsterdam and Philadelphia, 1988)CrossRefGoogle Scholar, despite the emphasis on literature and its (untranslated) German examples.

7 I thus disagree with Schoffeleer's assertions that ‘traditional’ healing, like any other kind, located illness exclusively in the individual. ‘Ritual healing and political acquiescence: the case of the Zionist churches in southern Africa’, Africa, LXI (1991), 125.Google Scholar Yet my view does not jeopardize his overall argument that Zion churches, like healers, are predisposed to ignore the larger causes for ill health. The social units in which sicknesses were referenced were in all cases small. Philip Setel, in a related discussion, puts the issue thus: ‘Africans … upheld a contiguity of phenomenological experience that linked the social and personal body’; Setel, P., ‘“A good moral tone”: Victorian ideals of health and the judgement of persons in nineteenth-century travel and mission accounts from East Africa’, Boston University Working Papers in African Studies, CL (1991), 10.Google Scholar

8 For rain, see Callaway, Henry, The Religious System of the Amazulu (Wynberg, South Africa, 1970 [reprint])Google Scholar; Schapera, Isaac, Rainmaking Rites of Tswana Tribes (Cambridge, 1971)Google Scholar; and Landau, Paul, ‘When rain falls: rainmaking and community in a Tswana village, ca. 1870 to recent times’, Int. J. Afr. Hist. Studies, XXVI (1993), 129.CrossRefGoogle Scholar For a fascinating recent discussion of mimesis and healing, see Taussig, Michael, Mimesis and Alterity (New York, 1993)Google Scholar, esp. chs. 1 and 4.

9 Setiloane, Gabriel, The Image of God Among the Sotho-Tswana (Rotterdam, 1976), 201Google Scholar; Comaroff, Jean, Body of Power, Spirit of Resistance: The Culture and History of a South African People (Chicago, 1985), 81–2.Google Scholar In general, see Feierman, Steven, ‘Struggles for control: the social roots of health and healing in modern Africa’, African Studies Review, XXVIII (1985), 73147.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

10 Werbner, Richard, ‘Making the hidden seen: Tswapong divination’, ch. I in Ritual Practices, Sacred Journeys (Washington, 1989)Google Scholar; Feierman, Steven, ‘African therapeutic systems’, Social Science and Medicine, XIII B (1979), 277–84Google Scholar; Ngubane, Harriet, Body and Mind in Zulu Medicine (London, 1977), esp. 58Google Scholar; and Janzen, J. M., Ngoma: Discourses of Healing in Central and Southern Africa (New York, 1992).CrossRefGoogle Scholar For a neglected but intriguing perspective on the theater of healing, see James W. Fernandez, ‘Divinations, confessions, testimonies: Zulu confrontation with the local superstructure’ (Institute for Social Research, Occasional Paper no. 9, 1967).

11 Botswana National Archives, Gaborone [BNA] DCS 2/5 Serowe, Annual Report 1921–2 (1922); also, LMS SA 91/Lewis, Lewis to Barradale, Serowe, 21 May 1928; and Fako, Thabo, ‘Historical processes and African health systems: the case of Botswana’ (Ph.D. thesis, University of Wisconsin–Madison, 1984), 276, 390Google Scholar; and Etherington, Norman, ‘Missionary doctors and African healers in mid-Victorian South Africa’, South African Historical Journal, XIX (1987), 7792.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

12 Smallpox vaccinations were the major exception, and there were others; e.g. see Harms, Robert, Games Against Nature: An Eco-Cultural History of the Nunu or Equatorial Africa (New York, 1987), 204–5.Google Scholar Still, colonial western medicine had an uneven effect on mortality everywhere in southern Africa through the 1910s and 1920s.

13 Franz Staugard assumes a natural–supernatural divide, in Traditional Healers: Traditional Medicine in Botswana (Gaborone, 1985).Google Scholar

14 See also Janzen, J. M. (with Louis Arkinstall), The Quest for Therapy: Medical Pluralism in Lower Zaire (Berkeley, 1978). Pages 93–9 and 107–13Google Scholar are among Janzen's case studies showing how Kongolese healers do not limit their focus to the individual. See also Seeley, ‘The reaction of Batswana’, 39; and Waite, Gloria, ‘Public health in precolonial east-central Africa’, Social Science and Medicine, XXIV (1987), 197208.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

15 For instance, the Rev Edwin Lloyd wrote of a MoKgalagadi man, Modirwe, who was the ‘subject of religious impressions for some time, before he understood what was the matter with him’. Lloyd later approvingly quoted a Tswana Christian who attended to Modirwe: ‘Modirwe was sick within but the Word of God will heal him’; LMS SA Journals, 4/117, S.A. 1891–2, E. Lloyd, Visit to Lake Ngami.

16 Sir Frazer, J. G., The Golden Bough, Part I (3rd ed., London, 1911), e.g. 68.Google Scholar See also Thomas, Keith, Religion and the Decline of Magic (New York, 1978), e.g. 295Google Scholar, and ch. 8; and Murray, James, Life in Scotland a Hundred Years Ago as Reflected in the Old Statistical Act of Scotland, 1791–1799 (Paisley, UK, 1900), 148, 151–2.Google Scholar

17 Mackenzie, John, Ten Years North of the Orange River: A Story of Everyday Life and Work among the South African Tribes (London, 1871), 137, 151, and 387Google Scholar; see also Jean and Comaroff, John L., ‘Christianity and colonialism in South Africa’, American Ethnologist, XIII (1986), 120CrossRefGoogle Scholar; and Dachs, A. J., ‘Missionary imperialism: the case of Bechuanaland’, J. Afr. Hist., XIII (1972), 647–58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar Mackenzie was unusual as a non-racialist.

18 Although I imagine there was more internal contradiction, I am still quite indebted to the discussion in Jean and Comaroff, John L., Of Revelation and Revolution, Vol. I (Chicago, 1991), esp. 80CrossRefGoogle Scholar, in which they show how pastoral imagery infused evangelism. Joe Miller, in an enlightening comment on this article, suggested that in psychological terms, missionaries projected onto others what they ‘most urgently denied’ within themselves.

19 I am not assuming that missionaries' individualizing strategies were always perceived as such by southern Africans. But I think they often were. I discuss how Christianity was accommodated in people's changing renderings of community, in Landau, , ‘When rain falls’.Google Scholar

20 Beinart, William, Twentieth-Century South Africa (Oxford, 1994), appendix I, table 3. 263.Google Scholar

21 I will leave it as an open question as to whether colonial ‘public health’ measures like delousing, typhus campaigns, and cattle-dipping were perceived by Africans as related to ‘healing’, i.e. the basic congruence of Europeans' and priest-healers' therapeutic work. For TB, the mines and the village, see Packard, Randall, White Plague, Black Labor (New York, 1990).Google Scholar

22 Ludorf, J., ‘Bechuana district – tour through the desert’, Westleyan Missionary Notices [WMN], XVII (1863), 202–7Google Scholar; and ‘Extract’, WMN, XVIII (1864), 159–66. Thanks to Barry Morton for this source. Willoughby quote: LMS SA 50/2, W. C. Willoughby to W.Thompson, Serowe, 3 July 1893; and LMS SA 51/1/B, W. C. Willoughby to R. W. Thompson, Phalapye, 21 July 1894: ‘I like the work, but it is a great tax on my time. I know little about it.’

23 LMS SA Reports 6/4, Serowe for 1926, R. H. Lewis; Interview, Mrs Barophi Ratshosa, b. 1918, Serowe, , 9 11 1988.Google Scholar

24 LMS SA Reports 2/4, W. C. Willoughby, Phalapye 1894 (20 Mar. 1895); LMS SA 51/1/B, W. C. Willoughby to R. W. Thompson, Phalapye, 21 July 1894. For Willoughby see Rutherford, John, ‘W. C. Willoughby of Bechuanaland, missionary practitioner and scholar’ (Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham, 1987).Google Scholar

25 Lewis, , ‘Medicine at Molepolole’, 41Google Scholar; and LMS SA Reports 3/3, Molepolole for 1904 (R. H. Lewis, 1905).

26 Interview, MrBlackbeard, Dennis, b. 1918Google Scholar, Serowe, , 7 11 1988Google Scholar. The magistrate was John Smith Moffat, Robert Moffat's son.

27 Ibid. See also Khama III Memorial Museum, Serowe, Botswana, Tshekedi Khama Papers, subsection A, box 1, Vialls, C. C. to Tshekedi, , Serowe, , 2 02 1936.Google Scholar

28 Seeley, , ‘Reaction of Batswana’, 80Google Scholar. Livingstone was actually something of a medical progressive. Megan Vaughan discusses Ugandan missionaries' removal of tumors, and their symbolic load, in her book, Curing Their Ills: Colonial Power and African Illness (Stanford, 1991), 58–9Google Scholar. Her analysis of missionary medicine (ch. 3) has influenced my own.

29 Livingstone, David, Missionary Travels and Researches in South Africa (New York, 1868), 144–5.Google Scholar

30 Casalis, E., The Basutos, or, Twenty-three Years in South Africa (London, 1861), 298Google Scholar; Isaacs, Nathaniel, Travels and Adventures in Eastern Africa (Cape Town, 1970 [reprint]).Google Scholar

31 Webb, Colin de B. and Wright, John B. (eds.), The James Stuart Archive (4 vols.) (Pietermaritzburg, 1987), iv, 342Google Scholar; there the first phrase appears in italics to show that Stuart wrote it in Zulu.

32 For instance, Thomas, Elizabeth Marshall, The Harmless People (New York, 1958)Google Scholar, ch. 8; Webb, and Wright, , Stuart Archive, iv, 159Google Scholar, and Ngubane, , Body and Mind in Zulu MedicineGoogle Scholar. Luise White has read other African medical literature and has independently come to a similar conclusion in this matter for central Africa, in ‘“They could make their victims dull”: genders and genres, fantasies and cures in colonial southern Uganda,’ Am. Hist. Rev. C (1995), 1379–402Google Scholar. Although healers from Buganda and Bunyoro performed Caesarian sections, according to White, there appears to have been no other surgery and White writes of a dichotomy between African treatments ‘above the skin’ and missionary therapies below it, the same kind of distinction I have drawn.

33 In a seminal article, Terence Ranger discusses a prolonged episode of mass attraction when a Tanzanian medical mission began vaccinating for yaws. This alerts us to the possibility that there were other, unknown local meanings for tooth-pulling and that unheard directives or rumors from Motswana to Motswana directed people to have their teeth out. The article is repeated most recently as ‘Godly medicine: the ambiguities of medical mission in southeastern Tanzania’, in Janzen, John and Feierman, Steven (eds.), The Social Basis of Health and Healing in Africa (Berkeley, 1992), 256–82.Google Scholar

34 See Mintz, Sidney, Sweetness and Power: The Place of Sugar in Modern History (New York, 1985), esp. 15Google Scholar. Mintz comments that sucrose, commonly mixed with a liquid stimulant, was a significant part of the ‘early acculturational experiences’ of many non-Western peoples. Today, of course, the subcontinent is well stocked with white half-kilo bags of sucrose and Coke-cans of liquid sugar. For milk and the Rinderpest I thank Luise White for her acuity in suggesting the dynamic to me.

35 The epidemiology of children's teeth is complex. When weakened by malnutrition, if children contract illnesses, they are likely to have dental problems. In order for reduced calcium intake alone to affect the formation of teeth, the formation of a child's other bones would suffer as well. A worsening of diet, lowered amounts of calcium and increased sugar would however lead to dental caries. Thanks to my dentist, Donald Welsh, DDS, for discussing the problem with me.

36 LMS SA 68/4, B. Rees to Thompson, R. W., Inyati, 26 09 1907.Google Scholar

37 LMS SA 69/1, R. Helm to Thompson, R. W., Inyati, 28 05 1908.Google Scholar

38 BNA, BNB 384, Report of the Tati Training Institute for 1936/7.

39 See for instance Bundy, Colin, The Rise and Decline of the South African Peasantry (Berkeley, 1979)Google Scholar; Beinart, William, Delius, Peter and Trapido, Stanley (eds.), Putting a Plough to the Ground (Johannesburg, 1986)Google Scholar; Keegan, Tim, Rural Transformations in Industrializing South Africa (Johannesburg, 1986)Google Scholar; and Duggan, William, An Economic Analysis of Southern African Agriculture (New York, 1986).Google Scholar Clifton Crais is also working on an important reappraisal of the connections between poverty and cash-crop ‘prosperity’ among Transkeian peasants.

40 See Feierman, ‘Struggles for control’, and Taussig, Michael, ‘Reification and the consciousness of the patient’, Social Science and Medicine, XIV B (1980) 313Google Scholar; and especially, Packard's study of how the South African mining industry shaped the diagnoses and pathology of tuberculosis, White Plague, Black Labor. On dentistry per se, here is a passage from a 1978 World Health Organization report, by the dentist Brown, E. M.: ‘The increase of dental caries is like a cancerous worm eating its way steadily unchallenged into the fabric of the sound dentition of the African continent’: ‘Dental health and the development of health services in Africa’, in AFRO Technical Paper no. 12 (Brazzaville: World Health Organization, 1978).Google Scholar Brown's fervor can only resolve itself into the confused simile ‘cancerous worm’, because he sees sugar as an autonomous causal agent. On the other hand, the South African Medical Journal did not bother at all with an entry for dentistry in its compendium Medicine and Health in Developing Africa [i.e., deciphered from the code language of the time: Among South African Blacks] (Cape Town, 1982).Google Scholar

41 (From) Murray, Victor, The School in the Bush (London, 1929)Google Scholar, quoted in W. Millman, ‘Health instruction in African schools: suggestions for a curriculum’, Africa, 111 (1930), 489–90.Google Scholar Tim Burke illuminates the moral message behind this missionary material in his paper, named from a quote in the booklet, ‘“Dirty things are always your enemies”: institutional transformations of race and hygiene in Zimbabwe, 1890–1945’ (American Historical Association annual meeting, Chicago, 1995).

42 Millman, , ‘Health instruction’, 489Google Scholar, quoting his own work, Tropical Hygiene for African Schools (London, 1922).Google Scholar

43 Brackett, D. G. and Wrong, M., ‘Notes on hygiene books used in Africa’, Africa, III (1930), 506–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar This issue of Africa contains a wealth of examples from hygiene and health books of the era.

44 Murray, , The School in the BushGoogle Scholar, cited in Millman, , ‘Health instruction’, 486–7.Google Scholar

45 Rossiter, Frank M. MD, The Practical Guide to Health (Nashville TX, 1913 [1908])Google Scholar, found amongst the papers of the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa (the heir to the old missionary Church), Serowe, Botswana.

46 See Foucault, Michel, Discipline and Punish: The Birth of the Prison, trans Sheridan, A. (New York, 1979), 138.Google Scholar Foucault is thinking of the eighteenth century and in part of La Mettrie's L'Homme-Machine (1747)Google Scholar, from which I borrow the next subsection's title. See also Vartanian, A., ‘Man-machine from the Greeks to the computer’, in Weiner, P. (ed.), Dictionary of the History of Ideas (5 vols.) (New York, 1973), iii, 131–46.Google ScholarThe Practical Guide was not an isolated case. Cf. Chubb, Elsie M., Our Bodies and How They Work, for Bantu Schools (London, 1928)Google Scholar; cited in Brackett and Wrong, ‘Notes on hygiene books’. In general, see Giedion, Siegfried, Mechanization Takes Command (Oxford, 1948)Google Scholar, and Adas, Michael, Machines as the Measure of Men (Ithaca, 1989).Google Scholar

47 Rossiter, , Practical Guide, 33.Google Scholar

48 This reads like a peculiar reversal of the tropes discussed by Gallagher, Catherine in ‘The body and the social body from Malthus to Mayhew’, in Gallagher, C. and Laqueur, T. (eds.), The Making of the Modern Body: Sexuality and Society in the Nineteenth Century (Berkeley, 1987).Google Scholar For an example of commodity culture affecting understandings of bodily composition, see Weiss, Brad, ‘Plastic teeth extraction: the iconography of Haya gastro-sexual affliction’, American Ethnologist, XIX (1992), 538–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

49 The most recent scholar of the tooth sees a more sudden ‘invention’ of the mouth, in a Foucauldian sense. Nettleton, Sarah, Power, Pain and Dentistry (Philadelphia, 1992), 9Google Scholar, and ch. 3 esp., and ‘Protecting a vulnerable margin: towards an analysis of how the mouth came to be separated from the body’, Sociology of Health and Illness, x (1988), 156–69.Google Scholar Nettleton argues that the core of the discursive development of dentistry was the British Dental Association's stress on preventative dentistry, in which individuals would clean their teeth with a naturalized regularity.

50 Scarry, Elaine, The Body in Pain: The Making and Unmaking of the World (Oxford, 1985)Google Scholar, Introduction, and 9; Wittgenstein, Ludwig, Philosophical Investigations (New York, 1958), 103–4Google Scholar esp., and Zettel (Berkeley, 1970Google Scholar [first published London, 1967]), 94–101.

51 As discussed by Devisch, Renaat, ‘Symbol and psychosomatic symptom in bodily space-time: the case of the Yaka of Zaire’, International Journal of Psychology, xx (1985), 589616CrossRefGoogle Scholar; and Herzfeld, Michael, ‘Closure as cure: tropes in the exploration of bodily and social disorder’, Current Anthropology, XXVII (1986), 107–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

52 Murray, , The School in the BushGoogle Scholar, cited in Millman, ‘Health instruction’, 489.

53 Kunzle, David, ‘The art of pulling teeth in the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries: from public martyrdom to private nightmare and political struggle?’ in Feher, Michael (ed.), Zone 5: Fragments for a History of the Human Body, Part Three (New York, 1989), 2989.Google Scholar

54 In a recent essay Warwick Anderson argues that Americans, in policing the hygiene of Filipinos, alternately recognized, avoided and manipulated the power of feces; and he rereads the colonial politics of sanitation as a set of rituals about closing the orifices of the colonized. Anderson, W., ‘Excremental colonialism: public health and the poetics of pollution’, Critical Inquiry, XXI (1995), 640–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

55 Moscucci, Ornelia, The Science of Woman: Gynaecology and Gender in England, 1800–1929 (Cambridge, 1990), 109Google Scholar, in part citing Reiser, Stanley J., Medicine and the Reign of Technology (Cambridge, 1978).Google Scholar Surgery was not only a procedure, but also an invasive way of seeing Africans. As such it was at one with the incursion of the camera lens and spotlight, as Walter Benjamin notes by comparing surgery with the camera in his famous 1936 essay, ‘The work of art in the age of mechanical reproduction’, in Arendt, Hannah (ed.), Illuminations, trans. Zohn, H. (New York, 1969 [1955]), 233.Google Scholar

56 Seeley, , ‘Reaction of Botswana’, 49Google Scholar, and C. [F. Seeley] Dennis, , ‘The role of dingaka tsa se Tswana from the nineteenth century to the present’, Botswana Notes and Records, x (1980), 56.Google Scholar Writing about the upper Congo, Nancy Hunt tells us that a doctor was known as he ‘who cuts up some and divides others’. Hunt shows that the deliberately theatrical use of tableware interposed itself as a model for missionaries' equally theatrical surgical uses of the knife. People in the village of Yakusu likened the local hospital to a food cannery. See Hunt, Nancy Rose, ‘Negotiated colonialism: domesticity, hygiene, and birth work in the Belgian Congo’ (Ph.D. thesis, University of Wisconsin–Madison, 1992), 269ff.Google Scholar, forthcoming with Duke University Press.

57 The Whitechapel ‘Ripper’ murders in London invoked the gendered, dark side of Victorian surgery for many people, and seemed to announce the disordered state of London's ‘social body’. Showalter, Elaine, Sexual Anarchy: Gender and Culture at the Fin de Siècle (New York, 1990)Google Scholar; quote, Walkowitz, Judith, City of Dreadful Delight: Narratives of Sexual Danger in Late-Victorian England (Chicago, 1992).CrossRefGoogle Scholar

58 Cf. Hunt, ‘Negotiated colonialism’, 223–60.

59 Although at least some sorcery may actually have involved surgery, in ‘muti-killings’, and may still. Hugh Ashton's account of the 1940s BaSotho ‘medicine murders’ reports that victims were kept alive while initial dissections were made. One wonders how or if European surgery influenced such a crime. Ashton, Hugh, The Basuto (Oxford, 1952), 307–14, 321–2.Google Scholar At any rate the power of discussion and rumor was such that contemporaneous Sotho miners strenuously objected to ‘surgical interference’; Michael Vane, Black Magic and White Medicine (Glasgow, 1957), 66.Google Scholar

60 For instance, the BaToka remove incisors ‘in order to be like oxen’, the social beings par excellence. Otherwise, they are like ‘zebras’, wild things. Schapera, (ed.), Livingstone's Private Journals, 49Google Scholar; and Livingstone, , Missionary Travels and Researches in South Africa, 571.Google Scholar See also Estermann, Carlos, Ethnography of South Western Angola, trans. Gibson, G. D. (3 vols.) (New York, 19761979), esp. ii, 43Google Scholar; and iii, 24.

61 Schapera, Isaac, Bogwera: Kgatla Initiation (pamphlet, Gaborone, 1978)Google Scholar; Comaroff, , Body of Power, Spirit of Resistance, 85114Google Scholar; see esp. 98. There was a practice of teaching girls to manipulate the labial lips to make them longer, as for instance discussed by Jeater, Diana, Marriage, Perversion and Power: The Construction of Moral Discourse in Southern Rhodesia, 1894–1930 (Oxford, 1993), 24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

62 Nor was the foreskin simply discarded as ‘refuse’, as missionaries would wish to treat severed pieces of the body. In the Tswana, bogweraGoogle Scholar, foreskins were carefully disposed of to prevent their ritual misuse. Missionaries saw the soul as indivisible, and so rejected the notion that bits of the body were vested with powers – which they might have seen as akin to the practices of medieval cults of the saints. Clearly, penile circumcision worked against the grain of nineteenth-century Protestant notions about the body. As soon as this is asserted, however, one must note the small movement towards circumcising boys in Victorian England, for the ‘scientific’ halting of ‘impure’ behavior. Repression indeed elaborated what it repressed! See Neuman, R., ‘Masturbation, madness and modern concepts of childhood and adolescence’, Journal of Social History, VII (1975), 127.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

63 Gabriel Setiloane has argued something similar for confirmation ceremonies in missionary churches, in The Image of God Among the Sotho-Tswana.

64 My italics; LMS SA Reports 6/4 Serowe for 1926, R. H. Lewis. The original work on rites of passage is van Gennep, A., The Rite of Passage, trans. Vizedom, M. B. and Caffee, G. L. (Chicago, 1960).Google Scholar

65 LMS SA Reports, 1/2, Shoshong, J. Hepburn 1886 (11 02 1887).Google Scholar

66 Selly Oaks College, Birmingham UK, William C. Willoughby Papers, file 169, W. C. Willoughby, ‘The application of Christianity to Bantu Africa’ (n.d., c. 19251930), 6, 11Google Scholar; emphasis in original.

67 See Georges Canguilhem's discussions of the medical ‘normal’ as a status inscribed with society's partisan values, The Normal and the Pathological, trans. Carolyn R. Fawcett (New York, 1989).Google Scholar

68 Lewis, I. M., Ecstatic Religion (Middlesex, 1971), 197.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

69 An intriguing parallel is provided by Fisher, H., ‘Liminality, hijra, and the city’, in Levtzion, N. and Fisher, H. (eds.), Rural and Urban Islam in West Africa (Boulder CO, 1987).Google Scholar

70 The phenomenal attraction described by Terence Ranger in ‘Godly medicine’ was perhaps linked to the form of the therapy employed by the mission: vaccin ations, in which the surface of each person's body was broken. Luise White reports that the word for vaccination in Luganda was ‘to cut’, in ‘“They could make their victims dull”’.

71 Asst. Dist. Officer, ‘Water Conservation’, Arusha Dist. Bk., 2 July 1935; quoted in Kuklick, H., The Savage Within (Cambridge, 1991), 233.Google Scholar

72 McCulloch, Jock, Colonial Psychiatry and ‘The African Mind’ (Cambridge, 1995), 5364.CrossRefGoogle Scholar The seminal, if obscurely written, articles on this discomfort are both by Homi Bhabha, K.: ‘Of mimicry and man: the ambivalence of colonial discourse’, October, XXVIII (1984), 125–33CrossRefGoogle Scholar; and ‘Signs taken for wonders: questions of ambivalence and authority under a tree outside Delhi, May 1817’, Critical Inquiry, XII (1985), 144–65.Google Scholar

73 For a most interesting debate on conversion, see Horton, Robin, ‘On the rationality of conversion, Part I’, Africa, XLV (1975), 220Google Scholar; Gray, Richard, ‘Christianity and social change in Africa’, African Affairs, LXXVII (1978), 98–9.Google Scholar

74 Sundkler, Bengt, Bantu Prophets in South Africa (London, 1961 [1st ed. 1948])Google Scholar; Coan, J. R., ‘The expansion of missions of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in South Africa, 1896–1908’ (Ph.D. thesis, Hartford Seminary Foundation, 1961)Google Scholar; Barratt, David, Schism and Renewal in Africa (Nairobi, 1968)Google Scholar; Gray, , ‘Christianity and social change in Africa’, 98–9Google Scholar; Setiloane, , The Image of God Among the Sotho-TswanaGoogle Scholar; Van Binsbergen, Wim, Religious Change in Zambia: Exploratory Studies (London, 1981)Google Scholar; Ranger, Terence, ‘Religious movements and politics in sub-Saharan Africa’, African Studies Review, XXIX (1986), 171CrossRefGoogle Scholar; Oosthuizen, G. C. et al. (eds.), Afro-Christianity: Religion and Healing in Southern Africa (Lewiston NY, 1989).Google Scholar

75 West, Martin, Bishops and Prophets in a Black City (Cape Town, 1975)Google Scholar; Kiernan, James P., The Production and Management of Therapeutic Power within a Zulu City (Lewiston NY, 1990)Google Scholar; Comaroff, Jean, ‘Healing and cultural transition: the Tswana of Southern Africa’, Social Science and Medicine, xv B (1981), 367–78Google Scholar, and more generally, her important book Body of Power.

76 Lewis, R. H., ‘Medicine at Molepolole’, 411Google Scholar, and LMS SA Reports 3/3, Molepolole for 1904 (R. H. Lewis, 1905).