COLONIALISM AND MISSION

Inspector Schreiber and missionary Schosser travelling in the Amedzofe district.

Between mediator function and non-critical attitude

The Bremen Mission, founded in 1836, found itself in a special situation when its missionary region was split up between two colonial powers: the British Gold Coast constituted foreign territory, whereas, in the German colony Togo, it was considered the national mission. Embedded in this colonial area of conflict, Bremen Mission sought to find its way between the front-lines.   

specially in the field of schooling, it maintained its independence towards the government, preferring the local language Ewe to the colonial language German. Advocating the preservation of traditional local structures, it adopted a mediator function towards the colonial power. Additional tensions arose from the fact that although the missionaries did not present themselves as conquerors they had the same skin colour as the occupants.  

Under the leadership of Mission Inspector Franz Michael Zahn (1833-1900), Bremen Mission attracted attention by its attitude of criticism of colonial policy. This is witnessed by lengthy petitions, addressed to the emperor and legislative assembly, asking for a revision of colonial policies. Inspector Schreiber and missionary Schosser travelling in the Amedzofe district.