THE MENACE OF ETHIOPIANISM
UNREST AMONGST NATIVES
United Press Association —By Electrio Telegraph—Copyright.
CAPETOWN, May 23.
The Zulus and Swazis exhibit discontent and unrest, as the result of American negro agitators preaching Ethiopianism, meaning Africa for the African natives.
The pseudo-religious movement known as Ethiopianism is a very important, if one of the less obvious, factors in the problem of government and social progress in South Africa. It might be inferred from the name that there was some connection between this movement and the ancient Ethiopian Church, but such is not the case. The modern native creed of Ethiopianism is an offshoot of the American Episcopalian Methodist body, of which community a large number of wealthy negroes are members. From them, according to a writer in “Chambers’ Journal” a few months ago, the whole scheme of Ethiopianism emanates and by them it is financed. Ethiopianism is the Christian religion adapted by and taught by natives. “The Gospel of Ethiopianism,” wrote the writer already referred to, “presents an emasculated Christ set in the centre of a very abbreviated Decalogue.” Ethiopianism countenances polygamy and certain other highly undesirable customs, including the disgusting “beer feasts.” While this (strange creed makes acquiescence in the narrowest literal interpretation of the tiret six Commandment- compulsory, it considers the rest to be “admirable, but impracticable.” The essential constitutional feature of this Church is that candidates for holy orders must be black. In other words, the colour and, therefore, the race distinction is marked very emphatically, and under the apparent spiritual mission of a religious community which is perforce confined to Africa, can very plainly be perceived the really political character of the object it is desired to promote, and which is summarised in the cable message in the words “Africa for the African:’.” Although the corporation has become one of a purely African national description’, the Episcopalian Methodist body of America still supplies funds. Ethiopianism has scored widespread successes in South Africa, mainly on account of the story assiduously propagated by the black ministers to the effect that the white ministers- desire to keep their converts in perpetual tutelage, and so retain a large part of the European contributions sent out for the native church. The creed spread in Zululand, Bosutoland, Pondoland, Cape Colony, and elsewhere, and although a few chiefs here and there would have none of it, the large masses of the natives embraced it eagerly. Ethiopianism is a very dangerous and disquieting influence, both on account of its selective principle, which pander, to the extraordinary vanity characteristic of all inferior races, and also because it perpetuates the belief that “the governing race is unable in the eyes of the Almighty to minister .to the superior souls of black people.” It creates schism amongst-Christian communities. At first no doubt it was professed from purely religious motives by large numbers. A few years ego, however, some thousands of Ethiopian– seceded to the Anglican Church, as they questioned tlhe validity of their orders, and since then the Ethiopians have frankly degenerated into an unscrupulous political and racial organisation. The Ethiopian communion possesses, nevertheless, a number of educated men in its ranks, and it sends students to the American negro universities.”