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The fact that aba Kweta (circumcision initiation) ceremonies take place two miles from the University College of Fort Hare in the year 1959 symbolises the missionary failure significantly to influence the way of life of the rank and file of the tribal ama Xhosa." (Williams 1959)A change of heart appears to have occurred from the 1880s onwards when the initial success of the first trade schools at Morija in 1841 and Lovedale in 1857 spurred others to follow their example.
By 1902 fifteen such institutions had opened their doors in southern Africa alone, and fifty-six throughout the African continent, all but seven of the latter having been founded after 1880 (Dennis 1902).
European missionaries to southern Africa during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries played a strangely ambiguous role in the history and affairs of the region.
Ironically enough, in the long run it was found that changes wrought by missionaries at a practical and economic level did more to further their spiritual cause than any amount of moralistic sermonising ever did from the pulpit.Despite the continuing spread of a missionary presence into southern Africa during the 19th Century, by the time of the Anglo-Zulu conflict of 1879 very few converts had been won over to Christianity (Etherington 1977).