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Name: KRAPF, Johann Ludwig (Dr.)
Birth Date: 11 Jan 1810 Tübingen, Germany
Death Date: 26 Nov 1881 Kornthal
First Date: 1844
Profession: CMS Missionary. 1st White man to enter the interior, saw Mt Kenya. Established Mission at Mombasa with Rev John Rebmann who joined him in 1846
Married: 1. 1842 Rosina Dietrich d. in childbirth Mombasa 1844 2. 1857 ? Jonas
Author: 'Travels, Researches, and Missionary Labours', 'Vocabulary of 6 EA Languages and various translations of parts of the scriptures.
Book Reference: Gillett, Weller, Tucker, Drumkey, CMS
School: studied theology at Tuebingen and Basel
CMS 1837 - Age 27. Of Derendingen, Wurtemberg. 1827 at Basle Seminary. Lutheran Orders. Joined CMS through influence of Peter Fjellstedt a CMS Missionary. 1837, Feb 6 to Abyssinia; 1844, Jan 4 expelled from Abyssinia and Shoa; sailed down east coast to Mombasa, and settled there in May. First Christian Missionary in East Africa, and founder of the CMS E. Africa Mission. Joined by Rebmann in 1846. Important travels followed to Isambara, Wakamba country etc. Their discoveries gave the impetus to all the subsequent East African explorations. 1850, April 5 to England; 1851, Jan 4 to EA; 1853, Oct 11 to England; 1854, Nov 7 to EA via Abyssinia, but failed to get beyond Abyssinia. Returned to Egypt in 1855; to Europe, 1856 and connexion closed. Abs. 2 years 6 months. Service 19 years. He subsequently again visited the coast to help in starting the United Methodist Mission; and also planned the "Pilgrim Mission" in Egypt and Nubia. … 1881, Nov 26 died at Kornthal. Found dead on his knees by bedside. Buried in the same churchyard as Rebmann. Married 1842, Sept 22 Rosina Dietrich, who died at Mombasa, July 13, 1844. Her grave (K. said) took possession of EA for Christ; (2) 1857, ? Jonas.
Facebook - 29 April 2016 - Historia Ya Wakenya - In July, 1846, pioneering missionary Ludwig Krapf struggled to attend to his ailing, bed-ridden wife. Krapf had suffered a debilitating fever and so had his wife, Mrs. Dietrich Krapf, who was in a worse state. She had days earlier given birth to a baby girl at their budding Rabai mission. [I think in Mombasa town, where she and the baby died - CN]
Hours to her death, she asked Krapf to bury her right there at Rabai [not so - CN], saying she needed her remains to "constantly remind the passersby of the great object which had brought the servants of the church of Christ to their country...."
Krapf would much later write that his wife "wished to be preaching to them by the lonely spot which encloses her earthly remains."
On the morning of Saturday, 13th July 1846, she breathed her last. Krapf himself could hardly get up from his bed. He looked on helplessly as she faded away every moment, her pale eyes and recoiling body telling him only too well that she was gone. On the next morning, a Sunday, they buried her [on the mainland opposite Mombasa's old port]. Krapf just managed to struggle over to the graveside. On his return, he found that his baby daughter also was ill. She passed away during the night, and was laid to rest by her mother's side. The double tragedy must have undoubtedly inflicted quite a heavy blow on the German missionary's spirits. Yet amidst the ordeal, Krapf found the energy to write a defiant letter to his employer, the Church Missionary Society.
"Tell the committee that in East Africa there is a lonely grave of one member of the mission connected with your society....
...this is an indication that you have begun the conflict in this part of the world; and since the conquests of the church are won over the graves of many of its members, you may be all the more assured that the time has come when you are called to work for the conversion of Africa. Think not of the victims who in this glorious warfare may suffer or fall; only press forward until East and West Africa are united in Christ."
Ironically, the loss of Krapf's wife meant that he could now focus on the mission for which he had been consecrated, preaching to the Wanyika, teaching their kids basic reading and writing, and even starting work on a Kiswahili translation of the Bible.
In his missionary work, Krapf had brushes with death a number of times. And if he survived, as he did several times, there was evidently a celestial hand, albeit invisible, insulating him from fate.
Soon after the death of his wife, he felt strong and healthy again. He decided to make a journey to Ukambani, about 100 miles from Rabai, to start a further mission station. But, midway, the journey ended in disaster. While he was travelling in company with a helpful native chief, some warriors - he doesn't state in his memoirs from which tribal force - attacked the chief and his retinue of followers. The chief was slain, his followers were scattered, and the missionary, whose life was spared, suddenly found himself abandoned by both friend and foe.
Suffering from hunger and thirst, Krapf tried to retrace his bearing and at last reached a Wakamba village in a state of complete exhaustion.
Afraid that the villagers would plot to kill him, he fled in the dead of night to travel to Yatta. But, still, he wasn't sure the path he had set himself on was the right one and, in despair, returned to the same village at dawn after trudging for a few miles. "Kill me if you will," he said, "but you must take the consequences." On the other hand, if they allowed him to live in peace, he promised to give them a portion of the property he had left behind at Yatta. To this the villagers agreed. Krapf made good his promise and was allowed to head coastwards, arriving at Rabai after nine days' travelling, to the great joy of his mission assistants, who were already convinced that he was dead.
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