Missionaries of Africa

Missionaries of Africa

The Society of Missionaries of Africa (Missionari d’ Africa) – also known as the “White Fathers” (Pères Blancs) – is a Roman Catholic international missionary society of priests and brothers founded in 1868 by the first Archbishop of Algeria, later Cardinal Lavigerie. The name “White Fathers” comes from their religious habit (dress), which resembles the traditional clothing worn in North Africa – a white tunic (gandoura) and hooded cape (burnoose). Their sole missionary focus is Africa – primarily central Africa. 

In 1878 its members founded the first Catholic missions in the Rift Valley lakes region of then German East Africa (present-day Burundi, Rwanda and large part of Tanzania).  From there, the White Fathers moved south and entered the high plateau of North-Eastern Rhodesia, beginning first with the Mambwe peoples in 1891.

Kayambi (Kayambe) Mission was established 1895, prior to the effective rule of the British South Africa Company.  The White Fathers next turned their attention to the more numerous Bemba (BaBemba) peoples.  Under the leadership of Bishop Dupont, the White Fathers sought influence with Chief Mwamba. Upon his death, they secured favorable access to the Bemba territory (sometimes referred to as “Bembaland”), establishing missions at Chilubula and Chilonga in 1899.

As of 2018, there were 1200 White Father missionaries in Africa.


Northern Rhodesia
  • 1895 – Kayambi
  • 1899 – Chilubula
  • 1899 – Chilonga
  • 1903 – Chilubi
  • 1905 – Kapatu
  • 1905 – Lubwe
  • 1914- Ipusukilo
  • 1922 – Rosa
  • 1922 – Malole



  • Mark Loomis