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James Henderson

James Henderson (1867 - 1930) was a Presbyterian missionary in South Africa and the third principal of Lovedale. Of Scottish birth, Henderson studied divinity at the University of Edinburgh, and in 1895 travelled to central Africa to begin work as a missionary. He later became principal of the Lovedale missionary institution in the Eastern Cape. Henderson was chairman of the provisional committee responsible for setting up Fort Hare University College in 1916. He was involved in the general missionary conference and the temperance movement and also served on the Alice municipal council from 1913 until 1930. It seems that “On the day of his burial the students of Lovedale worked from dawn to make a road so that he could be buried on Sandile’s Kop [a local mountain top], overlooking Lovedale” (Shepherd 1968: 356).

Schreiner’s extant letters to Henderson centre on the General Missionary Commission’s 1911 investigation into the so-called ‘black peril’, in which white women in South Africa were alleged to be under threat from the violent sexual predations of black men. Schreiner’s analysis of the ‘black peril’, expounded elsewhere, is also dealt with in her letters to Henderson, in which she emphasises that it was not white women who were in danger from black men, but rather black women who were ‘in peril’ at the hands of sexually exploitative white men. As she comments to Henderson in December 1911, “My feeling of course is that peril which has long over shadowed this country, is one which exists for all dark skinned women at the hands of white men.” Schreiner’s letters to Henderson also indicate her practical involvement in the investigation, including by being on its organising committee, distributing questionnaires, and also filling in a questionnaire herself.

For further information see:
R.H.W. Shepherd (1968) ‘Henderson, James’ in (ed) W.J. de Kock Dictionary of South African Biography¬† Vol I Pretoria: National Council for Social Research, pp. 356 - 357
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