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History

HISTORY OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH IN ZANZIBAR

Increase in the Christian Population:
Having taken responsibilities for all services, the government had also to supply those services to Africans. The cloves trade was emphasized, and in the late 1960's the government began importing casual laborers from the mainland for work in the coconut and clove estates. They came in the thousands during the seasons when employment was needed. In the 1970 refugees from Mozambique (and from other countries who were on the mainland), also came to Zanzibar. Very likely the revolutionary government did not realize that most of those comimg would be Christians. Some refugees had in fact been in Zanzibar before and even assisted with the Zanzibar revolution. Many of these were given land by the new government. Many of those who came after the revolution in response to the call for work do not have land and they are the majority. These are the Christians.

Christians in a Foreign Setting:
While the general population increased greatly, the number of facilities for basic human Services did not. As a result many children did not have the opportunity for even a primary education. Those few who did had to attend overcrowded classes. But class time was reduced in order to provide two sessions of school so that more could he accepted. Christianity-less tolerated as a religion, and lacking in education, many had great difficulty finding job opportunities.

A Church Limited to Sacramental Ministry:
The first revolutionary government did not allow the building of permanent church because it was intended that the migrant workers go back home. However, since Zanzibar had no choice but to seek protection by uniting with Tanganyika, the Islands adopted the national constitution which allows "freedom of religion" and hence the freedom of worship. Only two church buildings were recognized — the Anglican Cathedral and St. Joseph's Cathedral (Minara Mwili - the Two Towers Church). Unable to provide educational and health services because of nationalization, and unable to proselytize because such activity would tarnish the relationship with the Muslims, the Church was reduced to sacramental ministry only.

 

 

NEWS BULLETIN

 

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