June 30, 2022

Over the years, several historians and skeptics have subsequently debated the arrival of religion in Africa. Even though there is a school of thought that claims its existence has been in Africa since the beginning of time, accounts and sketches of history have testified to the position that Abrahamic and Islamic religion was brought into our society.

A name that has been often trapped in obscurity and darkness in the context of the sordid past of colonialism was Belgium’s, King Leopold II. King Leopold II is not much of a popularized personality in African history. We’ve heard of Adolf Hitler, Stalin, and other fearful warlords – not Leopold II.

The Congo was under the concept of international knowledge that it was the personal property of the Belgian King. What was known as the Congo Free State, Leopold ran the Congo mainly on the premise of extraction. The natives were under the command of Leopold’s representatives who acted more rigidly and cruelly. They were victims of forced labor, amputations, maiming, and killings. King Leopold’s administration was responsible for the death of more than 10 million Africans. Thus, we now know the monstrous persona of the erstwhile Belgian ruler.

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Though dabbled in ambivalence, there is a purported 1882 letter King Leopold sent to Christian missionaries serving in the Congo. It is noteworthy to cite that there has never been any negation towards the validity of this letter.

The letter captures a message admonishing the missionaries to materialize Christianity for the benefit of the white man. Coincidentally, however, the letter is so contemporary that it synchronizes with the very arguments many Pro-African scholars have forwarded.

Here is King Leopold’s letter to the missionaries: “Reverends, Fathers and Dear Compatriots: The task that is given to fulfill is very delicate and requires much tact. You will go certainly to evangelize, but your evangelization must inspire above all Belgium interests. Your principal objective in our mission in the Congo is never to teach the niggers to know God, this they know already. They speak and submit to a Mungu, one Nzambi, one Nzakomba, and what else I don’t know.

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