Classic DACB Collection

All articles created or submitted in the first twenty years of the project, from 1995 to 2015.

Chidinda, Paulo

Anglican Communion (Church Missionary Society)

Paulo Chidinda was originally from Mima village, southwest of Mvumi. He was appointed quasi-pastor at Handali, at the start of the competition between the CMS mission and the Roman Catholic Benedictine Mission. Handali was commenced in 1902 together with Mwitikila, as outstations of Mvumi. [1] At this time, there was fear among the CMS missionaries that it could “fall” into the hands of “enemy,” so Chidinda was posted there “to fend off” the Roman Catholics. On the whole it was the CMS missionaries who chose the indigenous staff and recommended them to the executive committee. However, some senior indigenous teachers, such as Chidinda, did the same. At Handali, Chidinda supervised his fellow indigenous staff who were located at smaller churches and was able to appoint junior teachers working under him and arrange their transfers. The teachers working under him before the First World War included Daniel Chalo Chilomo, Zakaria Mazengo Mbishai, Eliya Malugu Chisavilo, Musa Kongola Munyangwila, Nathaniel Fundi Magawa, and Yohana Mulowezi Lukuna. [2]

In 1909, Yosia, Benyamini Lungwa, and Nataneli Chidosa,–the teachers at Mvumi of which Handali was an outstation, resigned their jobs. The reasons given for the resignation was that two of the teachers were “blinded by Satan”–perhaps a reference to a moral lapse, and the third, possibly Nataneli Chidosa, had ill health. [3] While lamenting these resignations, Elizabeth Forsythe expressed the encouragement she and her colleagues received from Paulo Chidinda. Forsythe wrote,

To compensate us for this disappointment we have been much cheered by the faithfulness of the others and especially our head teacher Pawulo Chidiuda [Paulo Chidinda] who has proved most trustworthy during our long absence at Kiboriani. [4]

“Absence at Kiboriani” refers to the time when the CMS missionaries took refuge at a sanatorium on the Kiboriani hill, near Kongwa, from September 1905 to May 1906 owing to the Maji Maji uprising.

Unfortunately, despite such praiseworthy service, several years later, Paulo Chidinda’s ministry ended rather sadly around 1936 or 1937. His wife Rebeka became mentally ill and he left her. He then married his brother’s wife, for which he was excommunicated. One oral source suggests that he possibly made a public confession, was restored, and then posted to Chibogolo towards Iringa. [5] Another suggests that after the excommunication, Chidinda never rejoined the mission service, but went to live at Kibogolo, and became a cattle farmer. [6] Only further interviews, particularly with members of his family, could help resolve the discrepancy. However, the two oral sources consulted agree on two things. First, that some action was taken against Chidinda for his offence; and secondly, that when he retired, he went to live at Kibogolo. Despite that unhappy ending for Chidinda, his role as a supervisor of his fellow African workers show that he was a trusted worker at Handali. He played a rare role among the indigenous teachers, and records show only Andrea Mwaka and Yohana Malecela doing the same at Chamuhawi and Ihumwa respectively.[7]

Raphael Mwita Akiri


  1. Proceedings of the Church Missionary for Africa and the East (PCMS) 1903, 104.

  2. Ernest Musa Kongola, oral interviews, 20 & 24/6/1997; Stephano Malecela, oral interview, 24/6/1997, Mbogoni, oral interview, 11/6/1997.

  3. Minutes, Executive Committee of the CMS Mission (EC), 9 & 10/11/1910, G3 A8/0/1910/76.

  4. Elizabeth Forsythe to Baylis, annual letter 28/11/1910, G3 A8/0/1910/92.

  5. Kongola, oral interviews, 20 & 24/6/1997).

  6. Cleopa Mwaka, oral interview, 4/7/1997.

  7. Doulton to Baylis, 21/11/1910, G3 A8/0/1910/83.

This article is reproduced, with permission, from “The Growth of Christianity in Ugogo and Ukaguru (Central Tanzania): A Socio-Historical Analysis of the Role of Indigenous Agents 1876-1933,” unpublished Ph.D. thesis (University of Edinburgh, 1999) by Raphael Mwita Akiri.