The missionary and the rainmaker: David Livingstone, the Bakwena, and the nature of medicine

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Abstract

The dialogue between the missionary and the rainmaker found in various forms in David Livingstone’s writings needs to be interpreted against the background of Livingstone’s relationship with the Bakwena during the late 1840s, a time of severe drought and one in which chief Sechele’s repudiation of his rainmaking functions after his baptism threatened the displeasure of the ancestors. Livingstone’s recording of the dialogue reveals his indebtedness to the moral philosophy of the Scottish thinker, Thomas Dick, but also suggests that Livingstone remained fascinated by the very African cosmology that his Christian faith and Scottish scientism led him to repudiate.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1
Pages (from-to)145–162
JournalSocial Sciences and Missions
Volume27
Issue number2-3
Early online date1 Jan 2014
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sep 2014

Keywords

  • David Livingstone
  • Sechele
  • rainmaking
  • Bakwena
  • irrigation
  • medicine

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