Johann Ludwig Krapf

1810-1881. Pioneer missionary to Kenya. Born at Derendigen, near Tübingen where he received his education, he spent a short time in the Lutheran parish ministry before offering to the Anglican Church Missionary Society in 1838. After a frustrating six years in Abyssinia from which he was finally expelled, he transferred to Mombasa in 1844. Here he laid his wife and newly born child in “a lonely missionary grave.” He took a house in Mombasa and studied Swahili, into which he translated the NT, and produced a standard dictionary and grammar. In 1846 he was joined by a fellow German Lutheran, Johannes Rebmann,* and they moved to Rabai, about ten miles inland from Mombasa, to work among the Wanyika. From here he and Rebmann went on several important journeys of exploration inland. In 1850 he was in Europe on furlough and returned to Kenya in 1851, but in 1853 had to return to Europe due to ill-health. He maintained his interest in East Africa* and continued important linguistic work. He was twice back in East Africa, once conducting a pioneer party of British Methodists to their new station of Ribe to the north of Mombasa in 1861, and again as interpreter to the Napier expedition to Abyssinia in 1867. He died at Kornthal near Stuttgart.

W. Claus, Dr Ludwig Krapf, weil Missionar in Ostafrika (1882); J.L. Krapf, Travels, Researches and Missionary Labours in Eastern Africa, (1860); E. Stock, History of the Church Missionary Society, (1899).