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Monday, 19 September 2011

The Army That Refused To Die

The Salvation Army opened fire in Portuguese East Africa in 1916. As in other countries this was a case of Salvationists seeding themselves. It would appear that young Africans returning from working in the Transvaal Gold mines, having been converted and become Salvationists, ‘Opened Fire’. Envoy Petros Nhampose is credited with this action, commencing the work in the Inhambane province. From here the work gradually spread south and also up to Masinga, fifty miles to the north. The work was to say the least difficult, especially due to persecution by the Roman Catholic authorities. It would seem that many of these early Salvationists had found Christ under the ministry of Adjutant Tom Maqili’s compound work from 1911 onwards.

Beyond this nothing is really known about Salvation Army origins in Portuguese East Africa; but it is known that Maqili visited the districts over a three month period in mid 1917, counseling the converts that had been made.

In 1918 Brigadier Fred Clark visited the authorities, having first obtained a letter of introduction from the British Consul General, countersigned by the Acting Governor of Mozambique Province. His tour commenced in September 1918, and during his tour he found Salvationists at Inhambane, Nhampose and Inharrime. Brigadier Fred Clark was followed everywhere he went as he was considered to be a foreign spy.

The Salvation Army Year Book for 1920 records, ‘Urgent Appeals are made to us for the extension of our work in Portuguese East Africa’ These appeals were presumably received by Territorial Headquarters in South Africa for Commissioner William Eadie advised that the appeals came from the provinces of Inhambane, Gazaland and Tshopiland. It would seem that the necessary finance was available, but personnel was another matter, particularly in speaking Portuguese and French.

In March 1919 General Bramwell Booth approved the opening of Salvation Army work in Mozambique. So it was in July 1920 that Ensign and Mrs. Edwin Skotnes arrived in South Africa to ‘officially’ pioneer this work, Skotnes was an experienced missionary officer. A short time later it was reported that Skotnes, with Adjutant Tom Maqili, Ensign William Mhlotswa and Pro-Lieutenant Duwe were making good progress on their tour of the country. However Skotnes was recalled to South Africa in April 1922; a government stipulation required that there should be a European officer residing in the province who could speak Portuguese; and the government was totally unwilling to recognize the Army. However Mozambican Salvationists were still travelling to Johannesburg to work in the mines, reporting that they were preaching faithfully, but meeting with opposition from the authorities, some had been imprisoned and others given warnings. The War Cry 10th June 1922 carried this statement from one of them ‘I am going back to preach Jesus in The Salvation Army, prison or no prison, for when a man is born again in The Salvation Army, how can he live as ordinary Christian’ The following year Mozambique became a separate Salvation Army command under Brigadier Charles Soul, the Divisional Commander for the Central Division.

In 1922 came Commissioner James Hay’s ‘Great Advance’ which included Mozambique. Lieutenant Colonel Fred Clark, Captain and Mrs. Chris Christofferson and Captain Tobili were sent to support in May 1923. (Could this be what the Salvation Army Year Book refers to as the work in Mozambique being ‘Officially Officered’) The Christoffersons had been sent to learn Portuguese, in compliance with the government stipulation if the Army was to receive recognition in the country. It would seem that the Christoffersons were new reinforcements to missionary work, and though they tried hard to get a site in the capital Lourenco Marques, this was turned down, and all investigations into the possibility of obtaining official recognition of the Army came to nothing. The Christoffersons stayed for three years but were met at every turn by the stalling of the Portuguese government; which was strongly influenced by the Roman Catholic Church which opposed all protestant Churches. Captain Christofferson sat the Portuguese examination in November 1925; it was obvious that the Portuguese authorities would in no way relent to their strong opposition to Army activities. Funds were also very short, and in the end they requested that they be withdrawn. In fact Captain Christofferson had been very pointedly told that it would make no difference whether he could speak Portuguese or not, and he was advised to clear out and the sooner the better. The main objection to the Salvationist presence was the uniform and the system of military ranks. Officers would be recognized as school teachers only, and would not be permitted to do missionary work of any sort. Commissioner Hay wrote, ‘We are tolerated in some districts, approved by local authorities in others, but the central government on the whole is not favourable to us’

So it was that Maqili was promoted to Staff-Captain on 1st April 1926 and appointed to Gazaland, the district where he was born, and in November 1926, the Christoffersons were withdrawn. At the same time Captain Khoza was sent from South Africa to Papu in the Panda District inland from Inhambane, and Lieutenant Nhayombe was sent to work in Gazaland. However he was apprehended by the local government and set to work road making. The problems being that he was not able to justify his living in the area without working the land, and it was forbidden for others to pay his salary as his work as a preacher was not recognized by the authorities. On 17th November the Chief Secretary informed Maqili that he was now in charge of the work in Mozambique. On one tour he walked for a 150 miles, and conducted 24 meetings. The following year Staff-Captain Christopher Salmons and Captain Christofferson returned to the country, and established Chilbelana Corps in the Magude district. From April 1928 the Mozambique District was united with the Central Division and by this time there were 3 Corps, 11 Societies and 250 soldiers. During the next three years a further 32 Corps had been added. The first corps flag was presented to Chilbelana Corps.

Salmons reported that there was a great opportunity for The Salvation Army in Mozambique, but the problem was in becoming established there. Other missions had also begun to work, but in common with the Army, they had no official permission to do, all of them were afraid that their work would be greatly hindered if proposals made by the director of Civil Administration were passed as law. These were:

•That the activities of religious missions should be strictly supervised and regulated.
•That no foreign school of religious propaganda or of elementary education would be able to establish itself in the Colony without prior permission from the Administrative Authority of the country.
•That an application indicating the religious ideas it wished to propagate and the locality in which it wished to work must be submitted to the Governor General.
•That the schools be autonomous and leaders be responsible for any transgression.
•That the locality of operation be designated by the Authority, no more than one licence to be allowed in any one area of a radius of ten kilometres.
•That is it forbidden to preach outside the school building.
•To enrol pupils of less then seven or more than fourteen years of age was forbidden.
•To influence pupils to attend, to adopt instruction books not approved beforehand, or to teach or preach in any language other than Portuguese or the language of that country was prohibited.
•That no native teachers could be employed unless they had successfully completed the necessary examinations.

These and other suggestions were passed into law in October 1929, and rendered all the Army’s efforts in evangelism and teaching illegal, and made the possibility of developing the work very remote. The Divisional Commander for the Central Division Staff-Captain Andersen wrote to the Chief Secretary, Colonel Barnett after visiting the country; ‘You will no doubt have heard about the difficulties we are faced with in P.E.A. in regard to the new law which will be enforced in a few months time. Today it looks as if we will have to close our work in that country, as there is very little possibility of us being able to fulfill the Government requirements in regard to missionary work at all the places we have. If we have to close down, our work here on the Rand will suffer very much, as most of our corps and people are natives from P.E.A. and only stay here for twelve or eighteen months, then they go home to their home corps, and if we have no work there, we shall lose our people as soon as they leave Johannesburg. These difficulties do not only involve the Army, but every other mission, and the Government has only given us five months either to fulfill the new law or to close down’

The work however did continue at local level, under the leadership of the indefatigable Major Thomas Maqili, but in 1932 there was an incident which served to remind everyone of the danger of working in Mozambique. Staff Captain Andersen had just returned from the country when he was struck down with cerebral malaria, and within a very short time was promoted to Glory at the age of thirty six. Reports did continue to filter through to Territorial Headquarters about progress in Mozambique, but also came accounts of continued opposition. Maqili also trained others to be officers, and often he would advise an Envoy or a Corps Assistant that he would be arriving on the Sunday when three meetings would be held, his work also included pioneering and administration. He would from time to time gather local officers together for a day of teaching and on certain days all the corps and societies in a certain area would combine for instruction.

For the period 1934-1939 there is a silence in The Salvation Army’s records for Mozambique, there are no War Cry reports, and nothing in the files. What is known is that opposition increased during this time but the details are completely unknown. The fact that The Salvation Army is alive in Mozambique today is because during these years, officers and soldiers remained faithful to God and to the Army. Throughout its history in Mozambique, The Salvation Army has been largely maintained through the extremely dedicated service of local Salvationists, though there were times when an officer was appointed. Visits would also be made by Divisional Commanders from the Central Division and by succeeding missionary secretaries, which did bring a measure of organization to the work.

The Year Book for 1934 makes this report, ‘Much of the work in PEA has been lay work in one place visited for the first time by the Territorial Commander, he found a colony of Salvationists in the midst of the bush land. A splendid new hall was ready to be opened, the result of voluntary local labour and gift material, with accommodation for 200 people. While around in circular array, were various buildings making up the homes of the soldiers of the Corps, each with its own garden and chicken run’ It has to be assumed that this occurred before the clamp down. Again the Year Book for 1939 records, ‘In Portuguese East Africa a Corps and Society have recently been opened and despite many difficulties converts are being won and soldiers made’

Restrictions were commonplace, Salvationists being imprisoned without compunction and uniforms forbidden, as was the beating of The Salvation Army drum. Bank drafts were refused encashment, so that much needed finance could not get through. Some times the threats were thinly veiled: The Army could go into restricted areas without permission, but as one acting governor put it, ‘…I would not advise you do so. I am sure that would prejudice your application (to interview the Governor General of Mozambique), and there would also be consequences for your people’ Heaven alone records what the Salvationists endured.

In 1942 Territorial Headquarters in Johannesburg received a letter from Maqili stating that the Administrator of the Magude District wanted to meet with a responsible European officer from Headquarters. In addition to this there was some concern as statistical and financial returns had not been received for some time. As a result of this the Financial Secretary Brigadier William Wotton and Major Harold Skjoldhammer, the Assistant to the Chief Secretary made the journey. It was war time and after a ninety minute wait at the border they finally did cross into Mozambique, only to find that petrol rationing had begun that very day, but with the assistance of the South African Vice-Consul they were able to secure enough for the journey. They met up with Maqili and the next day continued the journey. At Mbuyeni they were met by a march of over one hundred and fifty people and proceeded to the wattle and daub hall where five soldiers were enrolled. A survey conducted in the village found that sixty five per cent of the Salvationists there had direct contact with Army work on the Johannesburg mines, through husbands, brothers and fathers. At Chibelane four new soldiers were enrolled. Maqili at this time was being assisted by Envoy and Mrs. Matimbe whom he was training, and following the meeting, they along with Maqili, Lieutenant Litsuri sat down with the visitors for an inspection and audit which lasted well into the night. It was discovered that with Maqili’s advancing age, he was finding the administrative responsibilities and the command of Mozambique impossible. Some Corps had sent in reports, others had not, and it had proved impossible for him to complete the forms, also postal services were very difficult and this meant that letters just did not arrive. Some Corps were being run by people who had little or no administrative training and Maqili with his love for evangelism and pioneering was clearly not the man to teach them that particular aspect of Army responsibility. The situation was similar with inflation as it had been impossible to keep up with the payments to the Envoys in the more distant corps; and some had worked for months without salary. Litsuri reported that at times they had been so hungry that they were forced to eat wild fruit and drink water, it was clear that the grants to Mozambique were inadequate and that Maqili required help in organising the region.

Their visit to the Administrator at Magude did prove valuable. They were received kindly and graciously, and they were able to explain the work of the Army, and its hopes for involvement in the area. However they were informed that official sanction would be required to continue working among the native people of the colony. There was a Roman Catholic school within three hundred yards of Maqili’s quarters and they had objected to the presence of the Army. He was to repair his buildings, refrain from using the bell to call people to worship and all children had to attend the Catholic school.

This though did not deter the Army from once again attempting to send a European officer into Mozambique and continue the work. The authorities rejected the demand and stated that existing work would be suppressed unless a permit was obtained, but the conditions that were laid down for this were impossible to meet – the erection of stone buildings and Portuguese education for teachers and Envoys. Yet in spite of this opposition the work continued to grow, and in October 1943 three cadets from Mozambique were welcomed at the Fred Clark College in Soweto. It was also during this year that the Territorial Commander – Lieutenant Commissioner Henry Bowyer, accompanied by Major Harold Skjoldhammer visited Mozambique by car. Arriving near Nhakutove late one evening after travelling for miles along a dusty track, they saw Salvationists marching towards them beating drums and waving flags. The car was surrounded and the Commissioner and his party alighted and made their way to the village. The next morning the Commissioner dedicated a new hall, and during the meeting sixteen senior soldiers and five junior soldiers were enrolled. They continued the journey towards the central corps in the Zavala region, Makulube West, but the road was difficult and they were often stuck in shifting sand, and they spent the night in the home of Chief Phillip Makulube before attempting to resume the journey the next morning. However the roads proved too much for the car and eighteen miles short of their destination they could go no further. A runner was sent to break the news to the corps that the Commissioner could not arrive, and immediately the Sergeant Major organised a march, determined that nothing should prevent them from hearing the Commissioner. Late that night the visitors heard the beating of drums and saw an army of several hundred singing Salvationists march into the clearing. The women had mats, cooking utensils and food on their heads, and babies on their backs. A great campfire was built, lanterns hung in the trees and the meeting was soon under way. A visit from headquarters was not to be missed at any price. The next morning another meeting was held in which thirty one senior soldiers and six junior soldiers were enrolled, seven local officers commissioned and thirteen babies dedicated. The car was then repacked and to make it lighter many of the soldiers carried some of the luggage on their heads. Once they reached a good road the car was fully loaded and the journey continued to Zavala, where they were warmly greeted by the Administrator.

However this would seem to be the exception rather than the rule, for in 1945 the Chief Secretary, Colonel William P. Sansom forwarded a copy of a letter to International Headquarters in the absence of the Territorial Commander Lieutenant Commissioner Geo Bowyer. The letter had been received from Lieutenant P. Matimbe, the recently appointed Commanding Officer of the Inhambane Section and is addressed to Major Skjoldhammer. The letter speaks for itself, ‘I am writing you with regard to our work here in Portuguese East Africa at the Nhamachacha Corps. Great difficulties and trials have come upon us here in our land. I am writing to let you know that I went to Nhamachacha because I heard of difficulties there. At first I went to see the Administrator of Homeoine. Now the Administrator gave me a letter to go there. I went to the Chef de Post who read the letter and then said, “Well, have you any work here? I answered “Yes we have” He said to me, “Who is in charge of the Army’s work at Nhamachacha?” I said, “Envoy Andrew Nhamposse” He then said to me, “He must go back to his home at Homeoine where he comes from because you have no work here. There are two churches here already who have permits to work in this district” Then as he spoke he opened the book of the country and pointed to a page and said, “Where is the work of The Salvation Army? It is not registered. Go away and don’t go to Nhamachacha because you have no right to work there at Nhamachacha” I said, “I understand. But now, as the Administrator has given me this letter to go and preach at Nhamachacha, then you, Chef de Post, must allow me to go there” He said, “No, I refuse. Go back to your home”.

At that time, as we were speaking, the Administrator who had given me the letter came in. He and the Chef de Post started talking together. He said, “Yes, I gave him this letter concerning their work” The Chef de Post answered, “I opened the book of the country and I cannot see mentioned there the work of the Salvation Army” The administrator then said, “This is true, Chef, it is not there” He then said to me, “Go to your home, we are afraid because the work of the Salvation Army is not registered in this country. Go home to Chitata”. All my strength and courage was finished, and I went back home on the 17th February. I don’t know, perhaps you could try and write to the Administrator at Homeoine; perhaps they will be willing to let us continue our work at Nhamachacha. Our people there will not be allowed to meet for prayers. The Soldiers have been arrested and have been handed to the Roman Catholics. We have been forced to pull down our Hall. They say that the Roman Catholics only have the right to work there. The Envoy has also been arrested. They say they are going to send him to Panda where he comes from. Even though the Envoy has the cheque on which they put their stamp, as the law is, the Chef does not agree. He says, “You must give that money to the people. It is not yours. It does not mean anything that your name is written on the cheque”. The Chef de Post has given our place to the Roman Catholics to build there near our place at Nhamachacha. This is our difficulty here, Major. I don’t know, perhaps that you could write to Homeoine, or perhaps to the Chef de Post at Maxixi”

In his covering letter the Chief Secretary writes of the close attention given to the work in Mozambique over the previous three years, by means of annual visits and careful instruction to the Envoys. He expresses his concern very strongly concerning the breakdown of the arrangements for the appointment of Adjutant Steinmetz, and also of the fact that they were unable to get Adjutant Martinez from the U.S.A. He goes on to state that they were not permitted to appoint Major George Tabor or some other competent European Officer, who could use influence at Lourenco Marques and watch the Army’s interests in high circles. He then states that up to the present the Army has failed to secure permission to work in the Colony, and that at any time the work could be closed down in every district, notwithstanding the fact that we have large forces of African Salvationists there. He reports that he will shortly be visiting Mozambique again, and that all the District Administrators will be visited and that no doubt they would be received very cordially by them; but the truth being that in reality they are all thoroughly scared of the Roman Catholic Church, and the possibility of losing their jobs or even their lives.

By 1947 the opposition of the Government seemed to be less stringently enforced and a visit by the Territorial Commander became an annual event, Lieutenant Commissioner William Ebbs made at least three tours of the country, and writes a very optimistic report in September 1950 to the International Secretary for Africa – Commissioner A. Moffatt. By 1950 the total soldiery numbered 730 but numbers attending meetings were much greater.

It would seem that the variation in official attitudes was from intolerant to openly hostile, though at times there was relaxation of the strict controls, depending a great deal on the attitude of the local official. In 1953 more stringent measures were introduced and the local administrators lost some of their powers and the progress of the work had very much depended upon their good will. The Army suffered through personnel not being allowed to return to the country, and black church leaders were imprisoned. This included Salvationists. Meetings were banned, books were burned, records destroyed. Salvationists became increasingly isolated as visits from Territorial Headquarters were also banned, yet Salvationists continued to preach the gospel, winning hundreds of converts, but any official pleas to the Portuguese authorities were ignored. However the Salvationists continued to hold kraal meetings, they would place food on the table as if they were about to eat a meal and begin their meeting. A sentry would be posted in a tree to warn them if anyone approached the house, and if somebody knocked they quickly closed their Bibles and pretended to eat. If it was someone known to them, the meeting continued; and if strangers asked what the Bibles were doing on the table, they told them that they always prayed before eating. The wave of persecution most likely came about as the aftermath of a declaration by a newly appointed Roman Catholic Cardinal to Mozambique who had declared that within three years he would rid the colony of three ‘isms’ – Protestantism; Mohammedanism and Communism

By 1954 there had been no resident Salvation Army Officer for 20 years and serious consideration was given to The Salvation Army’s withdrawal from the country, unless some form of development programme could in some way be introduced. Church friends did remain supportive, though they walked the same path. Attempts were made again in 1955 and 1956 to register the Army’s work in Mozambique. The Chief of the Staff – Commissioner Dibden requested that the British Ambassador in Portugal might be asked to investigate the matter with the Portuguese Government to help prepare the way for an application for a licence and recognition. However although a great deal of time and effort was expended in preparing an application which the Territorial Commander – Commissioner Herbert Lord, could submit to the Governor General in Mozambique, the advice of the British Foreign Office was to wait. The difficulty being that the law of 1929 still applied, that candidates for missionary posts must go to Portugal to learn Portuguese, pass and examination and reside there for two years. Also authorization would only be given by the Governor General to work with, as the documentation stated, ‘civilized people’ and that to work with ‘uncivilized people’ would need permission from Lisbon and there was no way that would be granted. It was also considered that the military appearance of The Salvation Army made it most suspicious in the eyes of the government in Lourenco Marques and Lisbon. In 1957 Major and Mrs. Skjoldhammer entered Mozambique once again and met the British Consul whom the Territorial Commander had contacted in connection with an application for the official registration of the Army in Mozambique. He was informed that all approaches to the Governor General had met with a negative response, and that the request for an interview had been refused; also no reply would be sent to the Commissioner’s letter. This suggested that it would be very difficult for the government to refuse the Army’s application, hence the decision to ignore the letters of application. The Major also visited the bank where he obtained a list of bank drafts, some dating back to 1950, which had not been cashed – the salaries of the officers and the envoys. They had not received their salaries as the government had instructed that the cheques be changed at the bank in Lourenco Marques, but they did not know how to open the necessary accounts there, it was also a long way to travel. Also during this tour the Major’s were informed of some of the details of the persecution – one Envoy reported that in November 1955 he had been called to the Administrators office with the instruction to bring all Corps Books with him, and that these were kept until February 1957, others had been cross examined about their work and Christian faith and how they were paid for their services. This situation continued until the late 1960’s though it was possible for visits to be made from Territorial Headquarters, this being brought about by a change in the relationship between Mozambique and South Africa. The Year Book for 1961 reports ‘The Territorial commander Commissioner Grottick was also received in audience at the residence of the Governor General of Mozambique by His Excellency Senhor Bedro Correia de Barrus’

Envoy Andreas Nhampossa had been instructed by the priest that as his own church was dead, they must all become Catholics, but he replied that in no way would they be disloyal to the Army. He assured Lieutenant Colonel Usher that no one had left the Army in spite of the fact that there had been no contact with Headquarters for eight years. Many of the lay Salvationists from the 1950’s and 1960’s remain unsung and unhonoured, some are still unknown to this day. They often went without financial support for years at a time.

In the late 1960’s church bodies were advised to register, and this resulted in Captains Malinga and Makakule being sent to help Major David Litsuri at Mbuyeni, but their travelling documents were seized and only with great difficulty were they brought back to South Africa. The main problem was finding a leader for the work as the stipulation was that the leader must be a Portuguese national, Portuguese speaking Brazilians were unacceptable to the government. The possibility of appointing Major William Langa as an associate was not followed through, Langa was a Shanaan who had trained as an officer in South Africa. This suggestion was not accepted and persecution continued, uniforms and song books were buried in the sand, songs were learned by heart and many remained faithful. In 1967 Brigadier Litsuri was able to register the Army in the Inhambane district and in the same year came reports of young people offering for officership, but in other areas the persecution continued. Though during this period there were persistent attempts to register the Army.

In 1970 the Territorial Commander Lieutenant Commissioner Fred Griffin, along with Lieutenant Colonel and Mrs. Victor Milne visited the country. Colonel Milne on returning pointed out that the name of the Army in Portuguese ‘Exercito’ could give the impression of violence and fighting. Mozambique was now involved with a civil war. Some effort was made to find a piece of land which could be purchased in the name of the officer in charge Major Litsuri, and with the ownership of the land there would be base from which to apply for recognition, a piece of land was found in the Capital but the application was turned down by International Headquarters.

In 1971 a further attempt was made to see the Governor General, but beforehand there was a great deal of deliberation to make sure that the wording of the application was correct. Other missions though they were suffering were allowed to work in the Colony, but yet again the Army’s military type of organisation caused suspicion. Great care was needed to ensure that it was presented as no threat to the government, but as a peace loving and peace promoting church. Lieutenant Colonel Milne visited many officials including the Portuguese Consul in Johannesburg and the South African Consul in Mozambique. It all came to nothing as the Governor General was in Portugal and the suggestion was made that the application again be made through the Portuguese authorities in South Africa, with an outline of the Army’s work, teaching and constitution.

At the same time Lieutenant Colonel Milne met with the Anglican Bishop in Mozambique regarding the Army receiving recognition. Though the Anglicans had been operating in Mozambique for 80 years they still had no permission to purchase land. There had been some talk of obtaining five hundred signatures to a letter requesting that the Army be permitted to operate in Mozambique. However the Bishop who was also an advocate was able to clarify the situation. This style of application had to be made by adults, giving full name, address, identification number, occupation, denomination and they must also have reached a certain standard of education; it was clear that this approach would not be possible. The Bishop further explained that the government had to feel that the doctrines were acceptable to them, that the religion was ‘lawful’ and that the operation of that denomination would in no way endanger the constitutional order. Again the army’s military organisation would be a problem. The Bishop advised waiting until the Portuguese had more tolerance in their own country as the Army was not accepted yet, there.

The Year book for 1974 reported, ‘This year has seen a tremendous breakthrough in Army work in Mozambique, where official permission was given to hold meetings at Inhambane. A contingent from the nearby Roman Catholic Church came to a meeting where 500 gathered, bringing greetings to The Salvation Army and a thank offering of 50 Escudos. Seventy soldiers were also enrolled. A shed has been erected on the site near Lourenco Marques where cement will be stored for the erection of a hall and quarters, when the site has been registered. A District Officer has been appointed with headquarters at Kongaloti near the capital. Major Roderick Malinga D.O.’ It was to be another false dawn, and Major Roderick Malinga had to return to South Africa.

However in 1974 during the War of Independence Major and Mrs. Malinga were able to again make their way to Lourenco Marques and they described the situation as something like doomsday. They were only to leave the country after many dangers. Again in 1975 Major and Mrs. Malinga were able to enter the country and they were able to hold extremely well attended meetings at several corps. The people were pleading for second hand uniforms, tambourines and song books. They had been faithful through so much opposition that nothing – not even the revolution was going to stop them now. It seemed that the new independent African Government did not seem to be opposed to the Army holding meetings and though there was danger from political fighting, the religious opposition was far less. Although some of the older Envoys had been promoted to Glory, others were continuing in spite of their age and infirmity, even though their salaries were not getting through. Again there was a cry for an officer to live in Mozambique and be responsible for the work.

The Year Book for 1976 reports, ‘Despite anxiety about the situation in Mozambique, Army work has not suffered there and new efforts are being made to secure full recognition’ After this there is again silence, as the war interrupted communications but the faithful soldiers continued to hold prayer meetings every day and Sunday Meetings, in spite of the danger that continued from the fighting factions on both sides. Though the Army was uninvolved with party politics, the uniform marked them out and some regarded them as a threat.

By the early 1980’s a new era was beginning as age began to take its toll on the elderly envoys. In 1973 Maurico Macuacua was made a sergeant and in 1980 was made an envoy, he had joined the Army in 1971 after he had had moved to Maputo and his uncle who was a Salvationist had encouraged him to attend. By this time freedom of worship was a fact but Mozambique was still a very dangerous place.

In 1982 Brigadier Manpone – the Assistant Field Secretary along with Major Makukule were able to make the first official visit in almost a decade, to conduct Easter Meetings and found the Army very much alive but the country was in a mess. However there still remained the problem that The Salvation Army was not registered, whilst other churches had already completed their registration and had been accepted. Whilst they were in Maputo they visited the government authorities, particularly the Methodist minister the Rev. S. Mahlalela – he was the Secretary representing the government in all church matters, and he explained that in order to be registered, the Army would need to deposit a sum of at least R100. Brigadier Mampone was able to report that Envoy Maurico Macuacua was making good progress and that he might be the one who could carry out the necessary negotiations with the government, he was also able to ratify Macuacua’s appointment as an envoy and give him his commission to conduct meetings in Maputo and visit the outlying corps. In order to do this he was supporting himself financially by working in a factory in Maputo – the apostle Paul must have been smiling.

In 1984 Major Roderick Malinga was again able to enter Mozambique but was only able to visit Maputo due the activity of the resistance movement making travelling dangerous, but the Salvationists in the rural areas were still being visited by Envoy Macuacua. During this visit he was also able to visit the minister responsible for religious affairs, Rev Phillip Mbandze, who informed him that it was essential for the South African Salvation Army to recognise a Mozambique national as the leader of the Army in the county. So Envoy and Mrs. Macuacua were brought to Johannesburg for a short period of intensive training, commissioned as officers and made responsible for the work in Mozambique. The Minister for Religious Affairs had instructed Macuacua to take a census of the total Army membership in the country, and that each Salvationist was to carry an identity document. Out of their poverty the local Salvationists collected the R100 necessary to accompany the application for registration, so great was their desire to be recognised as a church.

In late 1985 Major Malinga was able to visit Maputo where he met with Captain Macuacua who told him that the Army had been registered as a member of the Mozambican Church Council. To clarify whether the Army could be legally registered as well, they visited the Minister of Justice, whose deputy received them and assured them that there was no hindrance on their part, they were only waiting for the application. Major Malinga reported that much of the country was a war zone, that on the roads were hundreds of hungry soldiers begging for food, and that petrol prices were exorbitant.

Then came the bolt from the blue, in March 1986 a letter arrived at Territorial Headquarters from Macuacua informing them that The Salvation Army had been registered as a religious body. All that was required was a form to be signed by an official at Territorial Headquarters and delivered to the Government. There was nothing to pay, a site had also been granted and all the army had to do was to take over the land and build. When the Field Secretary Lieutenant Colonel Charles Hall visited Maputo he was able to meet with Mr. Job Chambale, Director of Religious Affairs, who had had some contact with the Army as a refugee in Tanzania and Zimbabwe who declared, ‘This is the kind of Church we need in Mozambique’.

Shortly after this Lieutenant Colonel Hall was able to hold congress meetings in Maputo to which Salvationist from all over the country gathered, he also presented a flag to Maputo Corps and on the Sunday hundreds of Salvationists marched behind the flag through the streets – the first Salvation Army march in Maputo. The Field Secretary was also informed that there were more than two thousand Salvationists at twenty six corps in Mozambique, and that one hundred and forty five soldiers had been enrolled and five outposts had opened in the last year.

Although the Army was now registered there was still danger, mostly caused by the civil war, also the envoys and officers could not receive money. So it was arranged for Major Israel Lengoasa to fly into Maputo once a quarter to conduct meetings, share in fellowship and pay the allowances. In addition to this, financial help was given to Captain Macuacua for a feeding scheme he had commenced in the shanty towns where he was living – he had been funding this himself. In March 1987 the Territorial Commander Commissioner Stanley Walter visited Maputo but only three envoys were able to join him due to the difficulties and dangers in travelling. He learned that there had been a fifty per cent increase in the Soldiers Roll during the year. Also a flat was being offered for sale which was inspected and the question of the purchase of land was investigated. In addition the Commissioner learned that Captain Macuacua had been appointed chairman of the Refugee Committee and that he was serving in the region of five hundred three times a week to the poor in the shanty towns, and so it was organised that cooking utensils and food be provided. A few months later the Territorial Commander was able visit the country once again and many soldiers and envoys travelled for days through the war torn country to be present at the Congress in Maputo, and it was a very proud moment when six flags were presented to outlying corps – some of which had never had one before. The meeting was in fact shown on television, showing how far the Army had come in such a short time since official recognition. The flat in Maputo had been purchased, and Captain and Mrs. Macuacua had been able to move in, leaving their makeshift accommodation. All seemed set fair for the future, except for the constant danger to the work, caused by the civil war. Whilst persecution by the colonial government had caused hardship and imprisonment, the civil war began to take lives. Whilst returning home from the Congress – Envoy Joseph Nhampossa was killed in a military ambush. He was the first but by no means the last of the Mozambican martyrs.

In early 1991 Captain and Mrs. Gerald Peacock were appointed to Mozambique as Regional Commanders, and they immediately set to work in organising the Army’s work within the country. Captain Peacock reported that the Army was very much alive but that it needed to be brought more in line with Salvation Army principles and practices. Poverty prevented many of the six thousand Salvationists from obtaining full uniform, but some attempt was made at regularising the uniform worn. He was also able to visit around the country, but continuing civil war made this dangerous. Also during this time, Lieutenant Colonel Christopher Parker, the Officer Commanding Portugal had visited Mozambique on a fact finding mission. He stressed that leadership in every way was a real problem, and that something had to be done to train local leadership and officers, so that the ever growing Army could be developed and consolidated. Many corps were being opened by people with very little knowledge of the Army; its methods and its doctrines and practices.

In 1992 Commissioner Carl Eliasen from Brazil made a tour of Mozambique. Salvationists were thrilled to attend a Congress led by someone who spoke their own language. They flocked to Maputo by every means available. Commissioner Eliasen wrote, ‘The scars of dilapidation and civil war are to be seen all around. It is common to see crippled people (including little children) who have had their legs blown off by land mines. Thousand of refugees who flee from the war zones are attracted to the cities where they build make shift reed dwellings, and a severe drought has added despair to their existing sufferings’ The Commissioner was also able to visit Beira where a flag was presented to the five hundred and fifty strong corps, he also heard stories of the risks that the Salvationists faced. The Congress Meetings led by Commissioner and Mrs. Eliasen were inspiring and eighty seven year old Envoy Lucas Nhampossa proudly led scores of Salvationists in a march, singing, waving flags and playing tambourines. Within a week he was promoted to Glory, killed with others in an ambush.

In 1993 there was a change of command with Major Israel Lengoasa being appointed as the Regional Officer. He had already established a good working relationship with the people and had begun to learn the language. In his reports he spoke of new corps such as Matola East where a sergeant major had heard of the Army whilst working in the mines and there were two hundred people he had attracted to the Army in his home area. At Beira a group of Christian friends approached the Army in Zimbabwe for leaders as they felt led to join the Army. They were visited and two hundred and seventy adults and sixty children were waiting, three outposts had already opened and there were rumours of others, and similar reports came from all over the country including Gaza where Major Maqili had worked forty years before.

Although Envoy Nhampossa and others were gone, more took up the fight. The remaining elderly envoys continued faithfully and the army opened up in various parts of Maputo, with a short time there were three corps and nine outposts, and the feeding programme continued to grow. Slowly but surely the buildings at Bagamoio was taking shape, this was a large hall with houses for the Regional Commander and other officers. As the war gradually gave way to an uneasy peace it looked as if the Army could plan an opening ceremony.

Invitations were sent to the President, Joachim Chissano, the South African Trade Mission, and various members of the Mozambican Government and churches. The Kwa Thema Band travelled from East Rand for the occasion along with the Territorial Commander – Commissioner and Mrs. Roy Olckers and several members of the Territorial Headquarters staff. Captain and Mrs. Macuacua now stationed in South Africa returned to Maputo as did several bus loads of Salvationists from the Inhambane area. The Maputo Songsters were on duty. Saturday 20th February 1993 was fine and hot and when the motor cycle out riders arrived, heralding the arrival of the President, the hearts of The Salvation Army soldiers present were full. Many of them had been singing and marching around the site for hours. The first brick built Salvation Army hall in Mozambique was about to be opened after more than seventy years of work and witness in the country. In speaking to the congregation which packed the newly opened hall the President gave his total support to the work and witness of The Salvation Army in Mozambique. He thanked the soldiers for their faithfulness and reminded them of their Christian duty to promote peace in their land. Brass instruments were also dedicated, gifts from the Kettering Corps in the United Kingdom. The weekend was also an opportunity to renew acquaintance with Mr. Job Chambale, Minister for Religious Affairs, who had for many years supported the Army’s work and encouraged its official recognition. Salvationists from Inhambane had brought a small tree to be planted in the grounds by the Territorial Commander, a sign of growth and life. They had also had a collection among themselves and brought a present of collecting baskets for the new hall. The Army in Inhambane had been operating for so much longer than in Maputo, but they wanted to express their love and joy for the Maputo Salvationists, joy in the knowledge that though their country remained poor, they could worship openly, fly their flags, beat their drums, wear their uniforms and proclaim to all that they were Salvationists.

The long hard fought battle was over. The Salvation Army in Mozambique has continued to flourish and grow and in 2008 the work in the country was separated from the Southern Africa Territory and the Mozambique Command came into being. To God Be All The Glory!

Dunwoodie, Joan - The Song Of The Unsung Heroes
Tuck, Brian - Salvation Safari
The Salvation Army Year Book and Various Papers

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