Henri-Alexandre Junod was a missionary and a prolific student and writer, whose interests also included the natural sciences and anthropology. In the last two decades he has increasingly come under the spotlight of scholarly studies as a worthy point of reference for his era and a significant individual. This study approaches Junod’s life and work from a biographical perspective, attempting to identify aspects of his work, in particular his fiction, that have not been studied and therefore to shed new light on him. This study begins by considering the nature of biography, its features and problems, and missionary biography in particular. It then examines the literature available on Junod in order to establish the prevailing view of him and his work. This historiographical overview of Junod is then weighed against the available sources on Junod in order to determine whether any areas of study have been overlooked. From the examination of the sources, Junod’s only novel, Zidji: étude de mœurs sud-africaines , is highlighted as one which has never been studied in the literature on Junod. In this novel Junod attempts to give a complete picture of South Africa at the beginning of the twentieth century by telling the story of a black convert’s experiences of tribal life, the mission station and white society. This study examines his use of fiction in presenting this picture and also considers whether this novel adds insight to the understanding of Junod himself, in light of what has already been written about him. Thus, this study aims at contributing to a more complete picture of Junod by unlocking his perspective as it is shown in his novel.
Dissertation (MA (History))--University of Pretoria, 2005.