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||Shoghi Effendi announced the Africa Campaign (1951-1953) in a cable to the British National Convention. [BW12:52; UD245–6]
The British community was to lead the campaign supported by the Bahá’ís of the United States and Egypt. [UD245]
The object was to open the Faith to three countries, Gold Coast, Tanganyika and Uganda. Shoghi Effendi termed it "the first International collaboration plan in Bahá'í history. (CG157, 159]
For the objectives of the campaign see UD245–6.
For the importance of the enterprise see UD260–3.
The plan was to be launched after a year’s respite but the British Bahá’ís begin to implement the plan immediately. [CB317]
At the time of the Campaign there was "...since the days of the Blessed Beauty and up to the early 1950s, the activities of the friends in Africa had produced the formation of one National Spiritual Assembly with its seat in Cairo, Egypt, the opening of 12 countries to the light of the Faith, and some 50 localities established throughout its vast lands. It was at such a time that the beloved Guardian ushered in the first African Teaching Plan" [Message from the Universal House of Justice To the Friends gathered at the Bahá’í International Conference at Lagos dated
19 August, 1982
; The UK Bahá'í Journal/History]
The first to arise for the Campaign was Claire Gung who departed from England on the Warwick Castle on the 3rd of January, 1951 bound for Tanganyika. [CG13, 26]
Others who pioneered were: Philip Hainsworth, Uganda, June 1951;
Hasan and Isobel Sabri, Tanganyika, July 1951; and
Ted Cardell, Kenya, October 1951.
||Africa; United Kingdom; United States; Egypt
||Teaching Plans; Africa Campaign; Claire Gung; Philip Hainsworth; Hasan Sabri; Isobel Sabri; Ted Cardell
|1951 25 Jan or 4 Feb
||Claire Gung arrived in Tanganyika aboard the Warwick Castle and obtained employment as a matron in a boys' boarding school in Lushoto. She was the second Bahá’í pioneer to the country. [CG160; CBN No 18 Mar 1951 p10]
She later pioneered to Uganda and Southern Rhodesia during the Ten Year Crusade.
An additional group of early arrivals in East Africa settled in Tanganyika in 1951. They
included Hassan and Isobel Sabri who came from Egypt, and Jalal Nakhjavání and his family
from Iran. By 1954, a Local Spiritual Assembly had been elected in Dar es Salaam including
three native believers. Among them was Denis Dudley-Smith Kutendele, the first to accept the
Faith in Tanzania. [A Brief Account of the Bahá'í Faith in Africa Since 1953 by Nance Ororo-Robarts and Selam Ahderrom p2]
||Tanzania; Dar es Salaam
||Knights of Bahaullah; Claire Gung; Hassan Sabri; Isobel Sabri; Jalal Nakhjavani; Denis Dudley-Smith Kutendele, LSA, formation
|1985 6 Feb
||The passing of Claire Gung (b. 3 November, 1904, Gladbeck, Ruhrgebeit, Germany, d. Kampala, Uganda). She was buried in The National Bahá'í Cemetery of Uganda. [BW19p653-657]
She had worked as a children's nurse or housekeeper in Germany, switzerland, Austria, the Italian tyrol, Belgium, Holland and finally settled in England in 1930. She became a Bahá'í in Torquay and after a time in Eastleigh, Dovon, later joined the small Bahá’í group in Cheltenham in 1940. She moved to the Manchester area and later pioneered to Northampton in November 1946 to become member of the first Spiritual Assembly there. In 1948 she again pioneered to help form the first Spiritual Assembly in the “Pivotal Centre” of Cardiff then to Brighton and to Belfast. In 1947 she became a naturalized British subject. In 1950, during the “Year of Respite”, Claire became the first pioneer to actually move from the British community to settle in Africa when Shoghi Effendi called for Bahá'ís to open Africa. She sailed on the "Warwick Castle" on 4 (or 25) January, 1951 and landed in Tanzania where she obtained a post as assistant matron in a school in Lushoto,150 miles from Dar-es-Salaam. [CG158-159]
She became a "Knight" for Rhodesia. Mr. Zahrai was actually the first Bahá'í to come to Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) during a Ten Year Crusade. He was followed soon after by Claire Gung, Eyneddin and Tahirih Ala'i, Kenneth and Roberta Christian and Joan Powis. All seven received the accolade of Knight of Baha'u'llah from Shoghi Effendi. Subsequently the Guardian gave her the title, "Mother of Africa".
Later she moved to Uganda where she started a Kindergarten school. She was affectionately known as "Auntie Claire".
After being in the country since 1957 Auntie Claire was granted he certificate of residence for life from the Republic of Uganda date the 11th of May, 1978. [CG118]
[BWNS275; Wikipedia; Wikipedia; Historical Dictionary of the Bahá'í Faith p.209; UD211, 482]
Also see Claire Gung Mother of Africa by Adrienne Morgan and published by the National Spiritual Assembly of Baha'is of South Africa; (1997).
||Rhodesia; Zimbabwe; Uganda; Tanzania
||In Memoriam; Knights of Baha'u'llah; Claire Gung; Auntie Claire; Eyneddin Alai; Tahirih Alai; Ken Christian; Roberta Christian