Diligently collected African proverbs

Hans Knöpfli worked as pastor, school administrator and craftsman from 1956-1993 in Cameroon. In his book "A good word is the best gift" he collected a substantial number of proverbs and sayings, originating from various African origins.

Anyone who has spent some time in an African country will most likely have come across one or another African proverb or saying. It is Hans Knöpfli's merit to have – over a considerable span of his life – diligently collected a substantial number of these, of various African origins. It is rich a catch, but not "too rich to damage the net" (proverb from Gabon, Page 88).

What makes his booklet so valuable also in a practical way is the thematic order he uses to present the collection of African proverbial wisdom. And, it is the Kenyan writer Meja Mwangi's Appraisal (Page 10ff.) to provide most interesting references to the use and the understanding of this wisdom over time, up to present days.

Rich harvest of a long experience

Hans Knöpfli lived in Cameroon, West Africa from 1956-1993, interrupted by several home leaves, in both anglophone Regions South West and North West. He worked for the Basel Mission as pastor, school administrator and craftsman.

He founded the handicraft centres in Bafut und Bali-Nyonga as well as the pottery in Bamessing with the aim of preventing the disappearance of the indigenous craftsmanship and to stem the increasing unemployment of school leavers. After his return from Cameroon he wrote several books in English and German about the traditional crafts in the Grasslands of Cameroon.

Text: Ruedi Küng, journalist and Africa specialist

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 forces and the current Corona pandemic make it difficult to provide aid to the disadvantaged and displaced persons. Mission 21 is continuing its work together with its partner church PCC  with all its might and in the hope of your support.

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