Writings from the Berlin Mission as means of communication for the distribution of transcultural knowledge concerning South Africa. Analysis and edition of texts by Albert Kropf and Johannes Winter


The wider academic context of the project is the importance of missionaries as "cultural brokers", which is progressively accepted by scholars of history and ethnology. Missionaries have made major contributions to the research on languages, history, cultures etc. of ethnic groups in different parts of the world. They have been transmitters of knowledge in both directions between their home countries and their places of work (in the current project Germany and South Africa), and they have participated in the formatting of transcultural knowledge. In the current project, the scientifically relevant writings of two missionaries from Berlin are being edited and commented for further research: Albert Kropf (1822–1910) and Johannes Winter (1847–1921). Besides the project, translations will be prepared to facilitate accept to the documents by researchers from South Africa. Kropf is the author of a printed book on the largest ethnic group of South Africa, the Xhosa. During 21 years, he has added handwritten notes, which were meant to prepare an updated second edition. This new edition has never materialized so far and is now being prepared as a critical edition with scientific comments and introduction. Johannes Winter is important for his ethnographic research among the Pedi in Transvaal, with initially was still an independent republic. Additionally, he is a witness and participant in the emergence of a Bapedi Church which was independent of the Berlin Mission. An extension of the project is necessary, because the complicated deciphering of Kropf’s handwriting and the acquisition of Winter’s widespread writings have consumed much more time than predicted. Whereas the work on Kropf has proceeded far, concerning Winter most of the written sources have been collected, but not yet many of them have been digitally captured and scientifically been researched upon. The extension period will therefore focus on the writings of Johannes Winter.


Principal Investigators
Feldtkeller, Andreas Prof. Dr. (Details) (Theology, Missionary Science and Ecumenics Specializing in Religious Studies)

Duration of Project
Start date: 01/2018
End date: 05/2019

Research Areas
Protestant Theology

Research Areas
Globale Geschichte, Missionsgeschichte

Last updated on 2020-25-09 at 09:17