Scopion Maftaa Dallington originally came from Nyasaland [now Malawi] where he was taken as a slave in childhood. He was liberated and educated by the Universities Mission to Central Africa in Zanzibar [now part of Tanzania]. He became a servant to H. M. Stanley, accompanying him on his journey to Lake Victoria in 1875. At Mutesa’s court he helped Stanley to translate portions of the Bible into Kiswahili and when Stanley left, Dallington remained behind at Mutesa’s request to continue to instruct him in Christianity and to act as secretary. He was only about sixteen at this time. Mutesa prompted him to debate religion at the court with Sheikh Ahmed bin Ibrahim before the arrival of the missionaries. He read Christian prayers at court. When the missionaries of the Church Missionary Society first arrived, he interpreted for them. Within a year or two he accepted a chieftaincy in Buddu and gave up all pretensions of Christianity.
This article, used by permission, was written by Louise Pirouet, as part of A Dictionary of Christianity in Uganda (Department of Religious Studies, Makerere University College, 1969), p. 17. Copies available at Africana Section, Makerere University Library (AF Q 276.761 MAK and AR/MAK/99/1); Bishop Tucker Library, Uganda Christian University and in UK at the University of Birmingham; Crowther Centre Library, CMS Oxford and Louise Pirouet Papers, Cambridge Centre of African Studies.