- Mary Slessor (1848-1915)
Born in Aberdeen, her family moved to Dundee when she was 10 and she started work in the jute mills there. She was inspired by the exploits of David Livingstone> in Africa and applied to become a teacher for the Foreign Mission Board in Calabar>, West Africa, arriving there in 1876.
She scandalised the genteel missionary society by socialising with the natives and wearing light clothing - instead of the expected corsets, hats and veils. She was transferred further inland and she continued her unconventional approach to the barbarity she found there. On one occasion she waded into a group of attackers with her umbrella, dispersing the "warriors".
She had to persuade local people that twins were not a sign from the devil - but in the process gathered a large "family" of adopted children. Local tribes people ended up calling her "Ma". She ended the ritualistic killing of the wives of rich men who died. She set up churches, schools and hospitals all over her area of Africa and despite being crippled by arthritis in later years, refused to leave her post and died in Calabar at the age of 67.
The illustration of Mary Slessor is from a commemorative Scottish bank note.
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