Below is a letter written in 1883 by King Leopold II of Belgium to Belgian Christian missionaries being sent to Congo. These Christian missionaries would eventually become the spearhead of Belgian colonialism only to be followed by Belgian traders and lastly the Belgian army.
Reverends, Fathers and Dear Compatriots:
The task that is given to fulfill is very delicate and requires much tact. You will go certainly to evangelize, but your evangelization must inspire above all Belgium interests. Your principal objective in our mission in the Congo is never to teach the n!ggers to know God, this they know already. They speak and submit to a Mungu, one Nzambi, one Nzakomba, and what else I don’t know.
They know that to kill, to sleep with someone else’s wife, to lie and to insult is bad. Have courage to admit it; you are not going to teach them what they know already. Your essential role is to facilitate the task of administrators and industrials, which means you will go to interpret the gospel in the way it will be the best to protect your interests in that part of the world. For these things, you have to keep watch on dis-interesting our savages from the richness that is plenty [in their underground. To avoid that, they get interested in it, and make you murderous] competition and dream one day to overthrow you.
Your knowledge of the gospel will allow you to find texts ordering, and encouraging your followers to love poverty, like “Happier are the poor because they will inherit the heaven” and, “It’s very difficult for the rich to enter the kingdom of God.” You have to detach from them and make them disrespect everything which gives courage to affront us. I make reference to their Mystic System and their war fetish – warfare protection – which they pretend not to want to abandon, and you must do everything in your power to make it disappear.
Your action will be directed essentially to the younger ones, for they won’t revolt when the recommendation of the priest is contradictory to their parent’s teachings. The children have to learn to obey what the missionary recommends, who is the father of their soul. You must singularly insist on their total submission and obedience, avoid developing the spirit in the schools, teach students to read and not to reason.
There, dear patriots, are some of the principles that you must apply. You will find many other books, which will be given to you at the end of this conference. Evangelize the n!ggers so that they stay forever in submission to the White colonialists, so they never revolt against the restraints they are undergoing. Recite every day – “Happy are those who are weeping because the kingdom of God is for them.”
The letter which follows is Courtesy of Dr. Vera Nobles and Dr. Chiedozie Okoro.
Letter from King Leopold II of Belgium to Colonial Missionaries, 1883.
Convert always the Blacks by using the whip. Keep their women in nine months of submission to work freely for us. Force them to pay you in sign of recognition-goats, chicken or eggs-every time you visit their villages. And make sure that n!ggers never become rich. Sing every day that it’s impossible for the rich to enter heaven. Make them pay tax each week at Sunday mass.
Use the money supposed for the poor, to build flourishing business centres. Institute a confessional system, which allows you to be good detectives denouncing any Black that has a different consciousness contrary to that of the decision-maker.
Teach the n!ggers to forget their heroes and to adore only ours. Never present a chair to a Black that comes to visit you. Don’t give him more than one cigarette.
Never invite him for dinner even if he gives you a chicken every time you arrive at his house.
“The above speech which shows the real intention of the Christian missionary journey in Africa was exposed to the world by Mr. Moukouani Muikwani Bukoko, born in the Congo in 1915, and who in 1935 while working in the Congo, bought a second hand Bible from a Belgian priest who forgot the speech in the Bible. – Dr. Chiedozie Okoro
Africans Should Note:
1] that all missionaries carried out, and still carry out, that mandate. We are only lucky to
have found King Leopold’s articulation of the aim of all Christian imperialist missionaries to Africa.
2] Even the African converts who today manage the older churches in Africa (the priests, bishops, Archbishops, Cardinals etc of the Roman and Protestant sects), and especially also those who evangelize Born-Again Christianity, still serve the same mandate. Which is why they demonize African gods and Anglicize African names, and drop the names of African deities which form part of African names; and still attack and demolish the African shrines that have managed to survive, e.g. Okija.
3] Those Africans who voluntarily converted to Christianity before the colonial conquest such as Affonso I of the BaKongo in the 15th century probably did not discern the purpose of the brand of Christianity that was supplied to them. Which was probably why they fell easy prey to the missionaries and the White traders and pirates who followed them.
But their Japanese counterparts probably did discern the game, even without access to some version of Leopold’s letter. But even if the Japanese Shoguns did not intuit what Leopold makes explicit, they clearly realized the danger of Japanese converts to Christianity forming a fifth column within Japanese society and state, a fifth column loyal to their co-religionists in Europe.