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„Wäre sie heim gerufen, meine Wirksamkeit hätte einen harten Stoß bekommen“

Hanna Kleinschmidt und die Umsetzung der Sprach- und Sprachenpolitik der Rheinischen Missionsgesellschaft

Stefan Castelli


On the basis of historical sources, such as deputation reports, diaries and letters from early mission activities in South-West Africa, which are stored in the archive of the United Evangelical Mission in Wuppertal (Germany), the essay at hand shows the significant role of Hanna Kleinschmidt for the missionary work her husband Franz Heinrich Kleinschmidt has started in Namaqualand, Great-Namaqualand and Damaraland since 1840 and her merits concerning codification and translation of Khoekhoegowab. Not only does this article reveal the valuable social and linguistic capabilities of the daughter of the German missionary Heinrich Schmelen and the Nama-Christian Zara Schmelen but furthermore her contribution to fulfil the guidelines for language policy formulated by the Rhenish Missionary Society. The widespread paradigm is examined critically according to which the contribution of women to the Christian missionary and thus linguistic work was systematically concealed in historical records.

© 2018 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Munich/Boston