Thursday, December 31, 2009
Kalukembe Hospital - An Interesting History
I love researching history and this hospital most certainly has an interesting background and foundation.
Swiss missionaries opened a mission in the village of Kalukembe back in the 1880's with the intent on being an independent, self financing, industrial mission supported by its own craft industries, agricultural plantations and merchant activities. It was also intended to rescue slaves who escaped from the trade caravans going to the coast to be sold to the cocoa planters of Sao Tome and Brazil. The controlling Portuguese authorities were outraged when the mission was originally called Lincoln, in honor of the American President had outlawed slavery in the USA and claimed in denial that any Angolan colonial subject was in danger of being enslaved and in need of being rescued.
Additionally, the mission was a haven for Angolan slaves who escaped the hard labor and cruel punishment of local white Afrikaner farmers who themselves escaped the British rule in South Africa. The Afrikaners threatened to withdraw their business dealings with the mission stores and workshops for the harboring of their slaves but quickly realized that there was no better source and quality of supplies than from the highly skilled mission craftsmen. (Info from David Birinham's book, Portual and Africa)
Amidst the history and turmoil that the hospital has endured over the years, it is enthralling to see how the Angolans are empowered to continue the ministries of the hospital on their own.