The Zambesi Mission was started by Joseph Booth, an Englishman farming in Australia who established a Christian outreach in the Lake Nyasa region of southern Africa.
He founded the Zambesi Industrial Mission in 1892 with the joint aims of sharing the Gospel and helping Africans to advance in the trades and skills which would enable them to fulfil their immense potential. The early days of the mission saw such activities as coffee growing, cattle rearing, skin curing and printing. In this, Booth, was following the thinking of David Livingstone who had pioneered Christian mission in Central Africa during the middle years of the century.
Booth’s spirit and vision made him a difficult person to contain and the mission’s Council in the UK soon fell out with its founder in Nyasaland. Booth left the mission in 1897, but it continued as a largely self-supporting Industrial mission until 1930. After this, it continued as a conventional mission church with growing numbers of congregations and members. After Malawi became independent, the work of the mission church was split into a locally led and funded Zambezi Evangelical Church, partnered by a UK headquartered Zambesi Mission with a local Blantyre office.
The mission is an evangelical, non-denominational agency working in Malawi and northern Mozambique and continues to run today.