Capturing Souls and Capturing Labour: Slavery and the Holy Ghost Fathers in Bagamoyo, Tanzania

Keld Buciek, Elgius Ichumbaki, Thomas John Biginagwa

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review


Studies on slavery and the slave trade and the activities of missionaries maintain that the ‘Christian villages’ established by missionary societies in Africa evangelised, civilised and developed African teenagers after they had been liberated from slavery. A recent study in Bagamoyo, Tanzania, however, in contrast to this received wisdom, indicates that the Holy Ghost Fathers used the supposedly ‘freed’ or ‘liberated’ slaves for agricultural activities. This was after the Holy Ghost Fathers had acquired enough land at Bagamoyo, along the Central Coast of Tanzania – a fertile area with favourable enough conditions to establish plantations. A review of historical documents and an analysis of the spatial organisation of the mission area where the so-called ‘Christian village’ was located indicate that social control instead of surveillance was used to maximise efficiency of the workers and allow oversight of their labour.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date1 Apr 2016
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2016

Bibliographical note

Department of History Papers, University of Dar es Salaam Press. ISBN 9789976605632


  • Bagamoyo, Holy Ghost Fathers, missionary society, slave trade, Christian Freedom Village, freed slaves.

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