David Jakobsen was a pioneer missionary of the Lutheran Norwegian Missionary Society (NMS) in Madagascar and was a titular member of the Malagasy Academy from the time it was founded, in 1902.
Born on May 30, 1844 in Hemnes, Norway, Jakobsen was a teacher before he undertook five years of theological study (1868 to 1873) at the Missionary Seminary in Stavanger. He was ordained in 1874 and left for Madagascar to join his older colleagues M. Horgen and L. Dahle.
Along with K. Lindö, he attempted to set up a mission station in Andranompasy, north of the Mangoky estuary, but the cluster of wooden structures was destroyed by bandits and the people were dispersed. Jakobsen then decided to establish the station in Morondava, where he stayed until 1882. The climate there was very harsh, and there were eight graves there marking the final resting place of missionaries or their children. Furloughs back to Norway had not been organized yet. In order to survive, Jakobsen and his family had to return to the higher ground of the interior where the climate was more hospitable. His forty years in ministry were spent largely in the Betsileo and the Imerina: three years in Ambohimasina (1883-1886) followed by ten years in the teaching college of Fianarantsoa (1886 to 1896). He was then pastor of the Lutheran parish of Ambatovinaky in Antananarivo (1896 to 1902), and in 1898, he was named president of the mission. In 1904 he became a professor at the theological seminary of Ivory-Fianarantsoa, an institution that he directed as of 1908.
He returned to Norway in 1914 and died in Oslo on February 16, 1923.
O. Chr. Dahl, L. Molet
“A note on Andriamaro, a famous idol among the Mahafaly”, Bulletin de l’Académie Malgache [Bulletin of the Malagasy Academy], Antananarivo, 1902.
“Tantara fohy avy amy ny Soratra Masina”, [A Brief History of Christianity]. Antananarivo, 1902.
The above article, reprinted here by permission, is from *Hommes et Destins: Dictionnaire biographique d’Outre-Mer *[People and Destinies: an Overseas Biographical Dictionary], vol. 3, published in 1977 by the Académie des Sciences d’Outre-Mer (15, rue la Pérouse, 75116 Paris, France). All rights reserved.