“Medical Practice between Two Worlds”: The Work of Samuel Gurney in Colonial Zimbabwe, 1903–1924





Samuel Gurney, Job Tsiga, medical missions, United Methodist Church, Colonial Zimbabwe


This article examines the experiences of the pioneer Methodist medical missionary, Dr Samuel Gurney, who worked for the American Methodist Episcopal Church (United Methodist Church) in Colonial Zimbabwe from 1903 to 1924. Gurney worked with an African assistant named Mr Job Tsiga. Based on archival and secondary sources and informed by the colonial encounter paradigm, this article notes the complex and contested nature of medical missionary work. Punctuated by rejections, acceptances and negotiations, their work demonstrates the fortunes of early medical missionaries. Medical missionaries, such as Gurney, laid the foundation for the present-day Western healthcare system. In the process, they set in motion the terms of debates over biomedicine, Western health practices, and healing amongst Africans in rural areas.


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How to Cite

Masakure, Clement. 2023. “‘Medical Practice Between Two Worlds’: The Work of Samuel Gurney in Colonial Zimbabwe, 1903–1924”. Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae 49 (3):15 pages. https://doi.org/10.25159/2412-4265/14107.



Received 2023-07-13
Accepted 2023-11-13
Published 2023-11-30