From Bearn to Southern Africa or the Amazing Destiny of Eugene Casalis (BOK)

Marie-Claude Barbier

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The end of the 20th century was a time of post-colonial repentance in the Western world. On 23rd February 2005, a law was passed in France, stressing "the positive role of the French presence overseas", triggering considerable controversy. However, the fascinating history of the French missionary Eugene Casalis illustrates that there are some cases where "the French presence overseas" is still perceived positively, as shown by the commemorative stamps issued by the Kingdom of Lesotho in 1983, celebrating the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the first French missionaries in the country. Of course, the context was unique since France had no economic or political stakes in that part of the world, and therefore the French missionary presence was totally apostolic and disinterested. Eugene Casalis was born in Bearn at the foot of the Pyrenees in 1812, and remained deeply attached to his native land throughout his life. In 1832, he was sent to Southern Africa by the Paris Evangelical Missionary Society. Unexpected circumstances led him to Basutoland, present-day Lesotho, where he struck up an unfailing friendship, based on mutual trust and esteem, with the Sotho King Moshoeshoe. In addition to his missionary task, Casalis transcribed the language and contributed largely to the economic development of the country, while concurrently supporting the King in his efforts to convince the British to help him fight Boer expansionism. He gave invaluable diplomatic aid and advice to the King during the 23 years he spent in the country. Back in France in 1855, he became the director of the House of Missions where he trained a number of young men to become missionaries. His eldest son became a missionary to Lesotho and his eldest daughter married a missionary with whom she returned to Lesotho where she brought up a large family. All this has contributed to making the name of Casalis well-known in the Kingdom to this day. To a certain extent, Lesotho's accession to independence in 1966 can be perceived as a distant result of Casalis' work. The present King, Letsie 111, is a direct descendant of King Moshoeshoe.


Språk Engelsk Engelsk Innbinding Innbundet
Utgitt 2014 Forfatter Marie-Claude Barbier
ISBN 9781443856652
Antall sider 260 Dimensjoner 14,7cm x 20,6cm x 2,5cm
Vekt 499 gram Leverandør Bertram Trading Ltd
Emner og form Biography: historical, political & military, African history, Colonialism & imperialism, Christian mission & evangelism