THE CHURCH GRAVEYARD: UNDERSTANDING MISSIONARY MORTUARY PRACTICE IN IBADAN, 1853-1960
Ibadan Journal of History
Missionary activity took root in Ibadan in the nineteenth century as religious agents immediately began to engage with local cultural practice. Several interesting compromises and negotiations were made in the mortuary sphere. While Christians introduced the idea of the Church graveyard and its accoutrements such as wooden coffins, several aspects of local funeral rites found their way into the evolving Christian mortuary culture. In the twentieth century, colonial authorities attempted to enforce the idea of the public cemetery. But while the Church graveyard became increasingly popular within the Christian community, the colonial public cemetery was avoided like a plague by the local populace. The paper argues that the popularity of the idea of the Church graveyard was due to the religious privatization of the graveyard through a Christian discourse, whereas colonial cemeteries remained distinctly secular and ‘public’, far removed from domestic engagements and impervious to any form of privatization. This highlights the ‘public’/’private’ debate and also underscores popular irritation at what was perceived as the intrusive policies of the colonial authorities.
Missionary activity , Cultural practice , Religious agents , Church graveyard , Research Subject Categories::SOCIAL SCIENCES::Social sciences::Education
Adeboye, O. “The Church Graveyard: Understanding Missionary Mortuary Practice in Ibadan, 1853-1960” Ibadan Journal of History, 1 (2013), 44-61