Hans Knöpfli's collection of African proverbs now in English

Everyone who has spent some time in an African country will most likely have come across one or another African proverb. It is to Hans Knöpfli's credit that he has persistently collected - over a long period of his life - a large number of proverbs of various African origins. It is a rich catch, but not "too rich to damage the net" (Proverb from Gabon, page 88).

What also makes his booklet so valuable in practical terms is the thematic order with which he presents the collection of proverbial African wisdoms. How the proverbs can be used in today's context can be seen in the appreciation of the Kenyan writer Meja Mwangi (page 10ff.). This gives highly interesting clues to the use and understanding of these wisdoms in the course of time up to the present.

Rich harvest of a long experience

Hans Knöpfli lived from 1956-1993, interrupted by several home leaves, in Cameroon, West Africa, in the two Anglophone regions Southwest and Northwest. He worked for the Basel Mission as a pastor, school administrator and craftsman.

Knöpfli founded the handicraft centers in Bafut and Bali-Nyonga as well as the pottery in Bamessing with the aim of preventing the disappearance of indigenous handicrafts and curbing the increasing unemployment of school leavers. After his return from Cameroon, he wrote several books in English and German about handicrafts in the grasslands of Cameroon.

Text: Ruedi Küng, journalist and Africa expert

Today, Mission 21 continues the work of the Basel Mission in the Anglophone regions. This is a great challenge. The civil war between separatists and government troops and the current Corona pandemic make it difficult to help the disadvantaged and displaced people. Mission 21 is active on the ground together with its Partner Church PCC, with all our strength and in the hope of your support.

► More information about the book (PDF)

► Learn more about the projects in Cameroon

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Mission 21
Protestant Mission Basel

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