Progress and Remembrance of the Finnish Lutheran Work in the Ondonga Kingdom in South West Africa

A4 Conference proceedings

Internal Authors/Editors

Publication Details

List of Authors: Kim Groop
Editors: Mário S. Ming Kong, Maria do Rosário Monteiro, Maria João Pereira Neto
Place: Leiden
Publication year: 2017
Publisher: CRC Press
Book title: Progress(es)- Theories and Practices: Proceedings of the 3rd International Multidisciplinary Congress on Proportion Harmonies Identities (PHI 2017), October 4-7, 2017, Bari, Italy
Start page: 299
End page: 304
ISBN: 9780815374152
eISBN: 9781351242691


The concept of progress has always been pivotal in the Protestant missionary movement. At the same time, this movement has had an ambivalent relationship with progress. On the one hand, progress has been needed in terms of advancement of the missionary and development of his or her work. On the other hand, the concept of progress has been questioned, as something worldly, self-seeking and potentially immoral.
Under scrutiny in this article is the work of the Lutheran Finnish Missionary Society in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in Ovamboland in South West Africa, in what is today northern Namibia. Both among Finnish Lutherans and among Ovambo traditionalists there was a desire for progress. The encounter between Lutheran Pietism and Ovambo culture was at times uneasy. Yet, at the end of the day, it gave rise to other, sometimes unexpected, kinds of progress.

In this article, also the legacy of the Finnish Missionary Society in Namibia is studied. In the cultural memory among the Ovambo, the relative tension between faith and culture is visible. Nonetheless, the progressive dimensions in, and discernible achievements through, the Finnish-Ovambo relationship assume a far more prominent position in northern Namibian remembrance

Last updated on 2020-06-08 at 08:02