For a detailed discussion of the sources, their contents, state of preservation and relevant documentation, see Appendix One below.
This approach flew in the face of that espoused by one of the leading missionary organizations the Berliner Mission. At a conference in 1885 they resolved to forward "a strong set of recommendations" to the Chancellor (von Bismark) "to oblige administrators to know vernaculars, to use them officially, and to retain them as the languages of education, rather than to introduce German" (Wright 1971: 7).
"Letter from the Wesleyans 1892", Archives nationales du Togo (henceforward ANT), FA 1/560: 135; Edmund Tomlin wrote: "Its is one of our `Standing Orders' that no Missionary shall meddle with political matters, and I can safely promise that so long as we are permitted to remain here, we shall endeavour to live peaceably and quietly."
J. H. Kopytoff (1965: 214-216, 219-225, 276-277) offers some interesting examples of how missionary education lead to the development of proto-nationalism among the "Sierra Leonians" of Lagos.
Various phenomena "signal the role of power in the social history of a language--power to impose and promote, and to control and restrict. To say that controls are being imposed presupposes something (or someone) that is being controlled, and the shape of power must not be taken for the shape of reality (as is frequently done by those who wield power). The delusions of politicians and of grammarians are comparable, and often the two are allies--as, I believe can be demonstrated in the interplay between colonial policies and linguistic description. To say that the powerful suffer from delusions is not to detract anything from the effects of their decisions. There is in my mind no doubt that Shaba Swahili, like other African languages, has in its development been deeply influenced by colonial, administrative choices and by expert, linguistic decrees. Yet the constructs of power are frequently parasitic on the creative labors of the people, and they never fully explain what happens with and to a language" (Fabian 1986: 8).
Newly transcribed vocabularies are the "mirrors of ethnic and cultural diversity; they could become instruments of government inasmuch as they imposed a semblance of order on a bewildering multitude of languages and helped to create a frame for language policies" (Fabian 1986: 2).
G. A. Pasigan (1997: 640) offers a brief and precise definition that embraces the approaches of Lacan and Fabian.
The census of 1913 recorded 368 Europeans in Togo, not all of them German or Swiss nationals. I am indebted to Yves Marguerat for this and other points.
In his opinion, Togo under the German Schutzgebiet became a slave camp for the Togolese, with forced labour and indiscriminate acts of cruelty de rigueur.
He wrote in the monumental style characteristic of French positivism, attempting to encompass the entire history of the region and its contact with Europe. Because of this stated aim Cornevin has been criticized for his Euro-centrism. Despite this, most writers return to Cornevin and aspire to his thoroughness.
He claimed to be investigating the impact of the German rule on the Togolese, and suggested that the experience of those between the Volta and Mono rivers was very different to the other regions the Guinea coast. While he was able to highlight some of the achievements of indigenous people, and in particular their determination to escape to the Gold Coast colony or to Dahomey, he essentialized their action by viewing them only through the colonial records; records unsympathetic to the cultural and linguistic diversity of the region.
Using primarily missionary archives in Germany, he was able to assess the stated intentions of the colonial régime against the records of the Protestant missionaries. It is interesting to note that the colonial government was largely successful in wooing Hausa traders away from their traditional entrepôts, but only after making major concessions subsequently restricting the anti-slavery and proselytization activities of missionaries in the north.
He argues that colonial officials fudged the figures, relied on import and export data from coastal regions not under their control, claimed success in northerly regions which in fact operated with little German intrusion, and exploited indigenous labour to previously unfathomed heights. This "creative accounting" was essentially done in lieu of the information otherwise necessary to attract German companies to Togo.
She cites evidence for mining and plantation regions to show how this change came into being. As more German Gesellschaften invested in Togo, so too grew the demand for transportation of produce. Consequently, the régime of Pflichtarbeit was imposed as a form of taxation.
Schöck-Quinteros & Lenz (1986), Gründer (1982) and Müller (1958) portray every significant change as one instigated by men of god, and relegate the impact of indigenous actors, with the exception of native-born catechists.
A working knowledge of indigenous languages was central to their plan. Debrunner (1965) identifies this agenda, though he portrays it as victory for the Church, rather than as the cultural battlefield it actually became. After the publication of the Bible in Ewe, he identifies the possession of a common language as the premier accomplishment of the European missions. He does not reflect on the cultural implications of making education and the standardization of languages essential for progress.
The complexity of Creole linguistic identity is given considerable attention by Spitzer (1974). Education established and prolonged "cultural differences between Creoles and up-countrymen"; the language was mocked by upwardly-mobile English-speaking Creoles and they in turn were ridiculed by Creole writers (ibid.: 139); it spread without control, and resisted the forces of colonialism and snobbish rivalry (ibid.: 140f); the language was a crucial force in the spread of nationalism and discussion of national identity post WWI (ibid.: 144f).
"Fest steht, daß durch den Kontakt mit dem Kolonialismus die Ewe aus mehreren Gründen wie Küstenlage, Missionierung, Konzentration auf die vereinheitlichte, und geschriebene Ewesprache eine gegenüber manchen anderen Völkern Togos deutlich privilegierte Stellung erreicht haben" (Adick 1981: 68).
"Vehicular" is a linguistic term which designates syntatical and grammatical change which results from the functional use of the language.
Moreover, Fabian (1986) asserts that there should be no doubt that the colonialist designs of the first settlers were paramount. Any claim that missionaries were acting with benevolence belies the functional necessity of a common means of communication. This contradicts the argument of Louis-Jean Calvet (1974). "The work of evangelization and that of linguistic appropriation [. . .] were not, and could not have been, to elevate what was low, to develop what only existed in traces or to illuminate what was in the dark. On the contrary, the real, practical task soon became, if not to eradicate and replace, then to take control of, direct and regulate what was there" (Fabian 1986: 83).
Buhler (1975: 67) writes: "[t]he hopes pinned on the seminary as a source of mission helpers proved to have been over-optimistic. The freed slaves, mulattoes and Ewes who had gained the benefit of mission schooling were not blind to the economic implications of their training. The years they had spent in the company of their European mentors lent them a certain status. Any African who had had the good fortune of becoming a member of the Christian community was included in an exclusive society of Africans set apart from their neighbours."
"Erste Sitzung...", ANT, FA 1/411: 118; Missionary Oswald (of the Bremer Mission) hoped "that within a few years the Mission schools will have shown [the value of education to the young people [of Togo. Afterall], the Bremer Mission has been in the Gold Coast for 50 years, but in Togo only 6 years".
Clearly German did not offer such a link for Missionary work: "Tagesordnung...", ANT, FA 1/411: 190; Missionary Härtter thanked the Gouvernor for exempting Latin instruction and added that he "did not hold German language and literature to be a necessary basis for higher instruction" for missionaries.
As early as 1879, when some 100 Ewes had attained the highest level of education offered and only a handful remained in the service of the mission, it was clear that the commercial possibilities of English were readily understood. "Protokoll des Bezirkstags...", ANT, FA 1/251: 49; von Zech complained: "Wir bekommen dann die schlechter Schüler, die die Mission nicht gebrauchen kann und es würde noch schlechten mit dem farbigen Personal [als] jetzt." Also, written in the column was "sehr wichtig" to emphasize the importance of this sentiment.
"Protokoll des Bezirkstags...", ANT, FA 1/251: 48; von Zech complained that in Lagos the schooling was better and the British incorporated far more natives into their administration. While in Lagos natives are used in technical matters, in Togo they are only employed in manual positions. "In Togo there are two obstacles in the way of employing more colored workers. Firstly, the German language is more difficult to learn than English, and then school instruction has a shorter history in Togo. There are no offspring from people who have already had schooling in Togo."
"Erste Sitzung des Gouvernementsrats", ANT, FA 1/411: 117-118; in the first session of the Governementsrat, Kaufmann Grunitzky was recorded as saying: "The prevailing necessity of the English language in commercial transaction means that the schools of the protectorate are in no position to supply the needed commercial personnel."
"Commercially, the partnership of mission and merchant worked to the advantage of both groups. Mission-educated African clerks were employed by the Vietors, and the company store benefited the mission" (Knoll 1978: 22).
"Erste Sitzung...", ANT, FA 1/411: 118; Grunitzky affirmed in the meeting that these companies conducted their business in English because their main factories were in Kitta. The following meeting he reiterated this statement ("Tagesordnung...", ANT, FA 1/411: 191).
"Tagesordnung...", ANT, FA 1/411: 187; The Chairman, Zech began the ad hoc meeting with this observation "The Order [to ban English instruction] was made for the following reason, that very many natives in the protectorate use English as the language of daily conversation..." and the reasons for this lie with the missionary activity in the area before the arrival of German authority and the use of English in the neighbouring colonies.
Buhler (1975: 44) writes: "The hinterland Ewes, whose trade activities were controlled by the merchant settlements of the coast, saw the coming of the mission in a positive light. Their expectation was that the presence of Europeans amongst them would lead both to a degree of political stability and a greater profit in European trade through the circumvention of coastal middlemen. They, too, saw the NDMG as fulfilling a commercial role similar to that of the Basel missionaries to their west, who operated trading factories in conjunction with their churches and schools"--an interpretation based on evidence published by the society itself in 1851.
"Niederschrift über die am 8. Dezember 1909...", ANT, FA 1/91: 240-249; Zech: "Es bestand aber eine Zeitland die Gefahr, dass das Schutzgebiet anglisiert würde. Noch in Jahre 1903 habe er in Lome Schulprüfungen angewohnt, in welchen Englisch geprüft wurde."
The d'Almeida family were a fine example. Buhler (1975: 160) writes: "They soon gave up the slave trade in the 1870s, realizing the British would no longer tolerate it and had the means to block its growth through drastic military action. This family chose, instead, to seek its fortunes in the shift to the palm oil trade and strove to establish friendly relations wiht all Europeans. When it became clear that Germany was to become paramount on the coast, the d'Almeidas gave land to the Administration for the building of its first headquarters at Sebbe. The entire family, working through their mission trained business manager, Aite Ajavon, earned the praise of the German Government for this and subsequent interest they took in the Protectorate."
See below. Kaufmann Freese explained that though his company used German in bookkeeping, all measurements and transactions with natives were in English ("Erste Sitzung...", ANT, FA 1/411: 114-119).
"Erste Sitzung...", ANT, FA 1/411: 118; a comment of Missionary P. Kost, shows that no one was deluding themselves that Africans were learning languages in order than they could read the Bible, though the missionary himself was obviously deluded as to the value of German in commerce: "The interest of the natives in learning the German language might be developed if merchants were to bring to their attention that a knowledge of German among their employees is preferred to a knowledge of English."
Die Entwicklung unserer Kolonien: Sechs Denkschriften (Anonyme 1892); Europäische Colonien in Afrika und Deutschlands Interessen sonst und jetzt (Anonyme 1884); B. Dernburg (1907).
"Colonialism was in part a surrender to special interests to missionaries anxious to work under the protection of the German eagle and to merchants, especially traders on the west coast of Africa who looked for imperial protection at a time when falling world prices for African products forced them increasingly to move toward the interior so as to reduce their overheads by cutting out African middlemen. However interpreted, Bismarkian colonialism had but a slender material base..." (Gann & Duignan 1977: 199f).
The government was not even capable of enforcing the use of German weights and measures, the most clarion indication of national sovereignty; Kaufmann Küster felt that in addition to the burden of instructing natives in the use of German measures, "the English exchange system is easier for the natives to understand" ("Erste Sitzung...", ANT, FA 1/411: 118).
"Kaiserliches Bezirksamt 624/08", FA 1/545: 109-111; "Lome, den 18. August 1908. Dem Kaiserlichen Gouvernement beehre ich mich folgendes zu berichten: Seit ca 1 1/2 Jahren hat die Norddeutsche Missionsgesellschaft in Keta eine hohe Schule (High School) errichtet in welcher kein Deutsch gelernt wird. Letztehin hatte ich Gelegenheit festzustellen, dass der im April dieses Jahres verstorbene seit langen Jahren in Lome ansässige Handlungsgehülfe Jona Quist, der recht wohlabend war und sich selbst gerne als Engländer bezeichnete, seine beide Söhne Charly und Robert diese höhere Schule in Keta besuchen liess, um die Jungen später in englischen Diensten unterzubringen. Die Jungen hatten vorher die Schule der katholischen Mission in Lome besucht. Nach dem Tode des Vaters haben beide die Schule aus eignem Antrieb wieder verlassen, da sie glaubten, genug gelernt zu haben. Es liegt auf der Hand, dass unsere besseren Eingeborenen, die - wenigstens soweit die ältere[n] Leute in Frage kommen - fast alle mehr oder weniger Anglophilen sind, diese verhaltnismässig billige und bequeme Gelegenheit in Keta benutzen werden, um ihren Söhnen eine Ausbildung zu teil werden zu lassen, die sie hier nicht erhalten können, d[--]es z. Zt. noch an einem Institut fehlt, das der höhere[n] Schule in Keta zur Zeit zu stellen wäre. Dass die[,] die Keta - Schule besuchenden Eingeborenen für die Kolonie und für das Deutschtum dauernd verlore[n] sind, bedarf kaum eines Hinweises. Die höhere Schule in Keta durchkreuzt geradezu die Absichten und Bestrebungen der Regierung, allmählich einen [Stamm] von deutschsprechenden und deutschdenkenden bessere[n] Eingeborenen heranzuziehen. Sind es auch mit Rücksicht auf die unerlässliche Vorbildung in der englischen Sprache und mit Rücksicht auf die immerhin nicht ganz geringen Kosten nur wenige Eingeborene, die zur Aufnahme in die Schule in Frage kommen, so sind es anderseits die bessere[n] und wohlhabensten Elemente, die auf diese Weise dem Schutzgebiete verlorengehen und zwar kommen neben den Eingeborenen auch die Vermögen hier in Betra[cht], die den Leuten späterhin etwa durch Erbgang zu fallen. Ich bin der Ansicht, dass [züg]lich das Ansinnen an die Norddeutsche Missionsgesellschaft gestellt werden kann, die höhere Schule in Keta einfach den Schülern aus Togo zu verschliessen. Der c. Bezirksamtmann".
ANT, FA 1/411: 190. In 1905, Missionary Härtter had expressed his hope that after a few years of solely German instruction, English might once again be offered for students in the higher levels.
"Niederschrift über die am 1. und 2. Juli 1909...", ANT, FA 1/91: 159; Zech reported that he had spoken with a man who explained that he had sent his children to the English protectorates, because there they could learn a trade and make money, whereas Togo was too small for anything like that.
Ibid.: 162; Missionary Härtter explained that, not only students, but workers of all types leave to the English and French zones in droves.
Ibid.: 161. Moreover, it was in the interests of German Togo to bring back these youths, because their minds were polluted with "demokratische und revolutionäre Ideen".
Ibid.: 162; Missionary Däuble reported that of the students he knew that had learned both English and German "most preferred to speak English than German and hold it to be more useful and desireable as a foreign language".
Ibid.: 160; "Die Gleichberechtigung von Weiss und Schwarz".
Ibid.: 163. The most striking indication of anti-German sentiment in Togo among the Togolese is reported by Lehrer Ehni. It cannot be translated precisely: "das Englische ist doch besser als das Deutsche, sonst hätte es die deutsche Regierung nicht eingeführt"!
Regardless of what Amenumey (1989: 8; 1964) argues.
"Niederschrift...", ANT, FA 1/91: 163.
Ibid.: 164; "Die Fremdsprache fakultativ eingeführt würde". He also felt that all the natives were so vain (eitel), once one has learned it, everyone will want the same.
Ibid.: 165. Assessor Asmis said that Togolese in the Gold Coast chose conversational French above German. Graf Zech did not comment on this.
In 1914, shortly before the German capitulation, there were fewer than 550 Germans resident in Togo. The ratio of whites to blacks was never less than 1:11 000; more than three times the lowest figure during the French mandate.
For example, when the Reichstag voted to criticize the German government for the continuation of slavery in a Christian country, they would not simultaneously provide the fiscal means to make amends (Deutsches Kolonialblatt, Anonyme 1893: 206). Buhler (1975: 204, note 3) writes: "It was more public opinion than government reform which addressed itself to slavery in Togo. The problem of slavery was far more pressing in East Africa and funds were usually funnelled in that direction."
"...I would [like to] clearly define our Church and its position here--whoever has termed us the English Church, as informing that our object is to Anglicize the people has wrongfully named us, This of course Your Excellency well knows. We are `the people called Methodists' i[s] a Religious Society worshipping God and preaching the Doctrine laid down by our founder `John Wesley'. Wilto (sic) English, German, French or Native questions we have nothing to do. The sole object is to benefit the people among whom we labour, and lead them to the true and only God. Whether this is done through the Medium of the English, German, French, Native or any other language is not of the slightest consequence to us, so that is is done. In nothing, in anyway connected with Political Matters do we ever speak or interfere. Such Cases, when any arise we always immediately hand over by appeal to the Government of the place in which we may be labouring.
2nd. In reference to German being taught in our schools, In accordance with Your Excellency's comment. I laid that matter before our committee by letter mailed May 23rd. Giving copies of all [recent and past] correspondance thereon, and asking them to deal with Your Excellency direct or with the Berlin Government as they deemed best.
3rd. As to preaching, I would beg to remind Your Excellency that I am the only one regularly here who does not preach directly in the Native language (any words h[...] are at once translated). Moreover, we are doing our very utmost so to perfect the language as to be able to produce it in writing to the people. I shall scarcely [now?] to [...] your in reference to the changing of the language into German, that this cannot be done in a day-but as soon as means and directions shall come to us, we shall begin earnestly to train the [young] in the German language so that as soon as may be your wish in this respect may be carried into effect. I trust Your Excellency will acknowledge the reasonableness of this statement.
4thly. I further beg to ask Your Excellency to please officially communicate to me in writing any ma[ndates] you may wish to give in reference to our future action whether as to building a New Church which we contemplate or other matters... Until any contrary which shall reach me I am acting simply under the belief that the same law appertaining to Religious Liberty accorded to our Society and others by your [most?] Imperial Government in Germany, for our work there and in all other German places of which I turn as in force here,
We have as Your Excellency will be fully aware a branch of our society - the German Wesleyan Church with nearly 40 ministers besides teachers and preachers in Germany and in our own country German Churches abound in all of which I believe perfect religious liberty exists. If the law in this colony in anyway differs from that we have previously known and laboured under by permission of Your Government - I shall be glad to know and will communicate it, so that we may at once take measure to conform there to if possible.
I beg in conclusion to state that in all matters affecting the progress, benefit and uplifting of this people you will ever find our mission most willing to cooperate and to serve, loyally and honestly your honourable Government. And in this subject it will ever so great a pleasure for me to lead my people.
`To serve God and to be subject unto the Powers that be' are cardinal doctrines of our Church.
With highest regards Believe me Your Excellency's most Obedient Servant.
Bryan Roe, Supt. of Wesleyan Mission, Klein-Popo" (ANT, FA 1/560: 315-317).
"Der Verbreitung der deutschen Sprache im deutschen Schutzgebiet Togo wurde seitens der Deutschen Kolonialgesellschaft eine wesentliche Förderung dadurch zuteil, daß auf Antrag der Norddeutschen Missionsgesellschaft in Bremen zur Herausgabe eines Ewe-Deutschen Lexikons, dem der Anglodialekt (sic) zugrunde gelegt ist, ein Beitrag von 3 000 Mark bewilligt wurde. Nachdem wurde auf Antrag des Steyler Missionars P. Litzenburger für die Herausgabe einer deutschen Fibel für farbige Kinder, die den Anechodialekt sprechen, eine Beihilfe von 350 Mark gewährt" (Die Deutsche Kolonialgesellschaft 1882-1907, Anonyme 1908: 180).
Some Germans became very excited about the most trivial achievements. "Allgemeine Befriedigung, unter den Eingeborenen sogar den größten Enthusiasmus, hat die so lange sehnsüchtig erwartete Errichtung der deutschen Schule in Klein-Popo erregt. Wenn man vor Kurzem (sic) noch allgemein Englisch begrüßt wurde, treten die Kinder auf der Straße jetzt mit einem deutschen Gruß an den Spaziergänger heran. Auch die erwachsenen Eingeborenen sind stolz, den von den Kindern erlernten deutschen Gruß anzubringen. Die englische Wesleyanische Mission hat ebenfalls einen deutschen Lehrer angenommen. Der ursprüngliche Andrang von Schulkindern, welcher in der gespannten Erwartung der Eingeborenen auf die Errichtung der Schule begründet war, ließ naturgemäß nach. Erstens, weil manche Eltern ihre beim Ackerbau und sonstigen Geschäften nötigen Kinder aus der Schule zurücknahmen, sodann, weil die zu gering begabten Kinder vorerst zurückgewiesen werden mußten, um die Entwicklung der Schule nicht aufzuhalten. Die im Juli gegen 60 Schüler betragende Anzahl schreitet gut vorwärts. Die Fortschritte im Rechnen überraschen. Die vom Lehrer mit Gewandheit geleiteten körperlichen Übungen erfreuen die Kinder sichtlich und sind von gutem Einfluß auf ihre Entwicklung" (Anonyme 1892: 7).
"Erste Sitzung...", ANT, FA 1/411: 118.
"In keiner zur Gewährung von Beihilfen angemeldeten Schule darf neben der Landessprache eine andere Sprache gelehrt [werden] als Deutsch. Wenn in einer solchen Schule nur einzelne Klassen zur Gewährung von Beihilfen angemeldet sind, so darf in den nichtangemeldeten Klassen derselben Schule neben der Landesprache eine Fremdsprache doch nicht gelernt werden" ("Schulordnung...", ANT, FA 1/142: 114).
"Schulordnung..." ("Anhang an Nr. 2"), ANT, FA 1/142: 115-16.
ANT, FA 1/411: 187; the meeting was on the 7th January and he was leaving Lome on the 15th.
The Deutsche Kolonialgesellschaft (DKG) was a major player in this field, as their official, contemporary records cheerfully boast in Die Deutsche Kolonialgesellschaft 1882-1907 (Anonyme 1908: 171). For the Gesellschaft the German language offered was a keystone of imperialist policy. Before 1903 they awarded the Lomé government a grant of 8,000 Marks to encourage the use of German. The following year, the director of the company, Graf von Arnim-Muskau, a leading campaigner in Berlin to ban instruction in English in mission schools, gave 3,000 Marks to the NDMG toward an Ewe-German dictionary, in the hope that this might spread the language.
"Er glaube, dass gerade die Missionen ein Interesse daran hätten, wenn derartige Schulen, in denen [e]i[n]gewissermassen degeneriertes Christentum gelehrt werde, unterdrückt wurden" (ANT, FA 1/411: 189).
Ibid.: 191; for example Kaufmann Grunitzky: "Die Kaufmannschaft sei der Regierung dafür dankbar, erkenne auch dankbar an, dass die Missionen in so bereitwilliger Weise die Regierung in ihren Bemühungen unterstütze."
"Protokoll...", ANT, FA 1/251: 48.
Ibid.: 50; a minor clerk, Dustert, asked that more emphasis be put on the use of the German language, as if nothing has been achieved in the preceeding three years.
ANT, FA 1/91: 149.
"Die jungen Togoleute, die ihre Erziehung in höheren Schulen des englischen Gebiets geniessen, kommen mit Vorurteilen und mit Misstrauen gegen die deutsche Schutzherrschaft zurück und verbreiten demokratische und revolutionäre Ideen im Schutzgebiet" (Ibid.: 161).
Ibid.: 241; clearly these examinations were taking place because there was a demand.
These activities were publicized in German newspapers and clippings of relevant articles can be found in the ANT; e.g. FA 1/492: 250: "Ausschnitt aus folgender Zeitung bzw. Zeitschrift: Deutsche Nachrichten, Berlin Nr. 211, v[on] 9. Sept. 1909. Aus den Kolonien: Schulerziehung in Togo. Eine Missionsgesellschaft in Togo hatte beantragt höhere Schulbeihilfen zu gewähren. Der Gouvernementsrat hat diesen Antrage jedoch abgelehnt, da es zweckmäßiger [ist], die Farbigen zu systematischer Arbeit zu erziehen, als ihnen eine ganz überflüssige Halbbildung in der deutschen Sprache zu geben. Es werden auch im laufenden Jahre also nur solche Missionsschulen, und zwar zusammen mit 5 000 Mark unterstützt werden, welchen ihre Schüler neben dem üblichen Unterricht zur Feldarbeit anhalten oder ihnen nützliche Handwerkskünfte beibringen. Eine solche Handwerker-Missionschule besteht schon seit einigen Jahren in der Hauptstadt Lome. Sie hat schon viele Farbige zu Schlossern, Tischlern, usw. ausgebildete. Hierbei kommt soviel als möglich die deutsche Sprache zur Anwendung, z. B. werden alle Werkzeuge und Materialien in deutscher Sprache bezeichnet, auch die Befehle werden deutsch eingeübt." The same article can be found in the Westfälische Zeitung, Bielefeld, Nr. 210 v. 8th Sept. 1909.
In one day in 1897 over 400 members of a Dagomba-speaking village were massacred by machine-gun fire. For a very different spin on the march inland cf. Knoll (1978: 28). As German influence spread inland "chiefs assumed that they were getting something tangible for a minimum of risk; a few Germans interested in trade did not appear to be precursors of foreign domination. Force was thus not a factor in any of these treaties. The Germans entered the interior without troops. They were viewed as potential allies by chiefs who had scores to settle with rivals. Thus the chief of Kewe asked the Germans for aid against brigands from the Anlo tribe. Treaties concluded between equals were written in English as well as in German in the event that Gold Coast forces competed for the same areas. In attempt to explain their relation to their new treaty partners, the Germans sometimes represented Emperor William I as sort of a paramount chief who had adopted his African subjects." Though here we must again note the indispensible nature of English in concluding the "treaties".
"Niederschrift über am 18. Oktober 1910...", ANT, FA 1/91: 258; Hauptmann v. Doering is referred to as Stellvertreter (deputy). He was deputy for the soon-to-arrive Edmund Brückner (1911-1912).
Protestant missions placed a very high priority on the establishment of administrative independence of their new churches: "Independent churches [are] the goal of evangelical missionary work" (Zahn 1890). For others, independent churches were the only tangible sign of success in their endeavor and something inseparably linked to Germanity. Thus Gustav Warneck (1901: 104) wrote: "Only when Christianity has been so planted in the soil of heathen nations that it becomes naturalised there as a domestic growth, can a really independent native Christian Church be brought into being. The naturalisation required a shaping of the whole process of Christianisation of the people, of the social ties of the people... Two leading dangers are to be specially avoided: the treatment of strange customs in a spirit of religious rigour and a confounding of Christianisation with Europeanisation or Americanisation. Pietistic narrowness brought with it the national egoism of the conductors of missions: and both are favoured by lack of pedagogic skill in dealing with those who are the objects of missions. The capacity and the will to accommodate oneself to foreign peculiarities is especially a German charisma, while the English and American nature accommodates itself with difficulty. Even in respect of the cultivation of native languages, this difference asserts itself" (cited by Wright 1971: 4).
Missionary Brutschin, 1859: "It often happens that Anglo traders bring out slaves, including young boys and girls from the interior. If we only had money, we could free some of these boys and girls. Their price is unusally 30 to 50 dollars. How good it would be for them, and for us too; for then we should have people of our own whom we could educate on Christian lines. Would there not be folk in Bremen, or in North Germany, as a whole, who would find pleasure in ransoming these poor slave children so that they might obtain freedom, not only of the body, but also of the mind" (cited in Debrunner 1965: 85).
If such action were not taken, the children would probably be on a ship to the Americas. Strangely, it does not seem to have occurred to the proponents of ransoming that such an explanation completely sidestepped the simple laws of supply and demand. They were, perhaps deluding themselves that rescuing some children would somehow counteract the process whereby children were pawned or enslaved.
"Niederschrift über die am 8. Dezember 1909...", ANT, FA 1/91: 241; A government conference to establish the success or failure of the schooling in the Schutzgebiet reaffirmed that the usefulness of Ewe as a medium of instruction especially for the Untalentierten. "Für Missionszwecke genügt die Eingeborenensprache. Statt des vielen Deutschlernens könnte man mehr Zeit auf landwirtschaftliche Arbeiten verwenden."
Spitzer (1974) observes a similar situation in the British colony of Sierra Leone presents.
It is important to remember that the practice of "standardization" of indigenous language was omnipresent in Africa. Fabian (1986: 60) cites this interesting example of one British missionary's response to a Belgian government questionnaire "at least five principal `classic' dialects, which are, in order of importance: Ngala and Swahili, Luba, Nkundu [Mongo], Nkongo (if the three missions in the lower Congo - Scheut, Jesuits and Redemptorists - reach an agreement to unify their three dialects). Under these conditions a single native official language would seem utopian; five, on the other hand, too much" (sic).
The reasons for this are presented in greater detail in the earlier subsection.
"The intention of the Germans was to train their students in both Ewe and English in order to create a core of educated Africans who would assist the Christian cause. Those who learned quickly and well would be educated in a six year program which included the fundamentals of reading, writing and speaking the English language, as well as the rudiments of mathematics. Included also would be a liberal amount of religious and cultural training in the form of European history and geogaphy. As missionary knowledge of the Ewe language increased, and with the help of assistants who had already been trained, the students, too, would become literate in the Ewe tongue" (Buhler 1975: 65).
It is a phenomenon that befell all languages encountered by Europeans. An examination of the contents of the Kaiserliche Bibliothek in Lomé, as it is preserved in the Archives nationales du Togo, reveals that similar, contemporary, scientific approaches to African languages were studied in Lomé (eg Rochl 1911). Of course, all these books take as their guide the German Chefphilolog, Konrad Duden. Editions of the Duden series were also to be found in the Bibliothek in Lomé.
Almost all language manuals are of doubtful (modern, scientific) linguistic value. They were for men with limited and specific interests. They were petit or abrégé; truncated descriptions of reduced variants of a variety of forms of vehicular Swahili. However, the same characteristics as makes these manuals almost worthless as technical descriptions of a language provide valuable indicators of a communicative praxis. If properly interpreted that can be made to reveal what they hide and to release what they control, at least up to a point. Fabian (1986: 9) writes: "Vocabularies and other language manuals are texts. Like other texts, from government decrees to ethnographic notes, they put before the anthropologist-historians the task of historizing a record by working back from codified products of communication to the praxis and processes which produced these documents. From this point of view, which owes as much to literary theory as it does to historical methodology, there is not difference in kind between texts which advertise themselves as historical documents and those which were created for other purposes."
The earliest simple vocubulary was first begun in 1857.
A syllabus for children. Lorenz Wolf, Wiingje aballe dekaeibe kasem, 1848, 16 p.
The first song book, edited by L. Wolf, Ele dzi-eibe fiã, 1849; the first grammar by Schlegel (1857); the first map, edited by Hornberger ("Geographische Landskarte", 1860); the first translation of the Pentateuch by Johannes Binder (1870); The first Sunday School book, by F. J. Zahn & J. Merz, Mawu agbalea me nyawo le uegbe me, 1880; the first math guide by J. Jüngling, Akontafiagbale, 1881.
Their work spanned from 1887 to 1906: Bürgi, E., ed., Hadzigbale (1887)--a book of 31 songs in Ewe; Bürgi E., Nufiafia monu, 1906--a guide for teaching practices.
Bürgi, E., ed., Eve hadzigbalegã, 1887, 289 p.
Ewe School Songs for Advanced Classes and Middle Schools, 1887, 76 p.
Xexeme ngutinya, 1894, a universal history in 157 p.; Ngutinyagbale: fe alafa wuisiekelia, 1906, a brief history of the 19th century in 81 p.
English-Ewe Dictionary, 1896, 68 p.
Homiletik -- Ewe, 1899, a preaching guide, 111 p.; Bibelkunde: Soeto na titina sukuwo, 1900, a Bible study guide 150 pages; Nufiafia monu, 1901, a pedagogy guide, 109 p.; Nufiafia monu, 1906, a pedagogy guide in 100 p.
Knüsli, J. & A., Akonta gbale, 1887, 318 p. in four volumes.
Buch der Orthographie der Ewe-Sprache, 1890, 87 p.
Ewe-Deutsch-English Dictionary, 1891, 1 048 p. The final work was a shorter German-Ewe dictionary: A. Knüsli, Deutsch-Ewe Wörterbuch, 1892, 413 p.
J. Spieth's two most influential books were Die Ewe Stämme: Material zur Kunde des Ewe Volkes in Deutsch-Togo, 1906, and Die Religion der Eweer in Süd-Togo, 1911. The latter contains fascinating fables and children's tales.
Schlegel's most important contribution was an Ewe-German dictionary.
Of J. Becker's La vie en Afrique, Fabian (1986) has written: these "were determined efforts at in-scription. By putting regions on a map and native words on a list, explorers laid the first, and deepest, foundations for colonial power. By giving proof of the `scientific' nature of their enterprise they exercised power in a most subtle form--as the power to name, to describe and to classify."
Buhler (1975: 65) explains that the agenda of some linguistically-minded missionaries often overrode the cultural realities: "The initial conception of the missionaries had been that the tongue would be spoken most `purely' in the hinterland. However, in time, it became clear that concessions would have to be made to the dialects that were mostly widely spoken."
Westermann's huge two volume dictionary finally arrived between 1913 and 1915, too late for the German high command. After the loss of Togo he continued to work on language and ethnography, and his Die Glidyi-Ewe in Togo (1935) is a canonical work for students of Ewe culture.
One consequence of linguistic colonialism considered by Adick (1981), as reviewed above.
Missionary Bavendamm wrote the pompously titled: "Tribal pride and tribal hatred, two torrential streams, yet bridged by the Gospel" (Anonyme 1894).
Father W. Schmidt, in Anthropos 1906, cited by K. Müller (1958: 557-559). This argument is a classic example of the cultural predjudice inherent in an approach which held monotheism necessary for cultural ascendency. No other Togolese culture was found to have such an "inclination".
"Niederschrift...", ANT, FA 1/91: 187; in a discussion of the division of the Hinterland behind the central mountain range, Präfekt Schönig desired that rather than make Haussa the "Verkehrs- und Schulsprache" (vehicular language), Ewe should be adopted. This, he claimed would restrict the spread of Islam, aid the building of the railway and would be of untold advantage to the government.
Gann & Duignan (1977: 44) write in an all too brief passage, that the Ewe were generally considered the most intellectually advanced of the people that Germany held within her "Schutz". It is unclear whether the Germans thought this is because the Togolese had long been schooled by the Germans and Swiss, or rather because they were "advanced" the Germans and Swiss were able to school them. Perhaps the truth lies somewhere in the fact that the Ewe language was the held to be the first language to be "fully" understood, to have a "grammar" and dictionaries, etc., and therefore the German "achievement" was projected onto their observations of the Ewe.
This schematic and structural explanation of linguistic ascendency is a simpler way of explaining linguistic imperialism. Roughly put, the first class is clearly the language of the ruling élite, in this case German. Relegated to second class status by the ruling élite are all other European languages, including Schweizer Deutsch (Swiss German), English, French and Portuguese. The third class in Togo becomes Ewe, the new, standardized form. All other indigenous languages including even Yoruba and Twi are relegated beyond the tier system and have no official recognition. This schematic explanation is supported with evidence from the number of publications in languages in each of the three classes.
"Niederschrift über die am 18. Oktober 1910...", ANT, FA 1/91: 261; Assessor Dr. Asmis explained that he had found orthographical inconsistencies and Präfekt Schönig replied that Professors Westermann and Schmidt had been contacted and the standardization process was in hand. Together the leader of the Protestants (Bürgi) and the Catholics (Schönig) agreed to work together to complete the process.
The pro-Catholic bias of the German regime is best illustrated by a document sent from the Auswärtiges Amt, Kolonial-Abteilung to the authorities in Lomé on June 21, 1892. The author writes that it is with great pleasure that Berlin informs Lomé that five members of the Catholic Styler Mission are soon to arrive in West Africa. This information is underlined and clearly handwritten in the same red pen in the column alongside, is the word "Bravo!" (ANT, FA 1/560: 569).
Debrunner (1965: 136f) writes: "The most important linguistic work and one which did make the largest contribution to the creation of an Ewe national consciouness was the translation of the Bible. The credit for this is due principally to Spieth... [O]n May 28, 1914, [as] he breathed his last, the final proof was coming from the press. In the midst of the war in 1915 the first 200 copies could be sent to Lomé, the most precious gift of the North German Mission to the Ewe Church and the Ewe people" (my italics). This passages clearly indicates the position of most missionaries of the period, that the Ewe did not yet have a "national consciousness", that they did indeed need one, and that linguistic conformity was central to the realization of this goal.
For example, those following the classification system devised by J. Greenberg (1970: 6).
Statistical data reveals the success of the Catholic Styler Mission, because of their preferential treatment by the administration in the dividing up of the hinterland for prosyletization processes (for the latter, see "Punkt 5: Aufteilung der Hinterlandbezirke unter die beiden Konfessionen", ANT, FA 1/91: 180-184). The Styler mission gladly acceeded to the wishes of the colonials by teaching almostly exclusively in German. In 1893 only 60 Catholics were operating in Togo. By 1912 they were the largest grouping with 287 Catholic catechists, 209 being indigenous converts. The NDMG was rapidly surpassed by the Styler mission. In 1912 they employed 282 people, 188 being indigenous. The difference is even more striking, if one considers the total number of pupils. In 1892 there were no Catholic mission schools, but by 1912 there were 162 schools with 7,778 students (a ratio of 1:48). The were 12,572 "converts" in total. The NDMG had been present since the 1840s. In 1912 they also ran 162 schools of different sizes, with an enrollment of 5,643 students (a ratio of 1:35). Their seventy year long presence was accounted for by only 5,953 parish members. See note 60 for another classic example of the administrative preference for Catholicism.
"Erste Sitzung des Gouvernementsrats", ANT, FA 1/411: 114-119.
"Schulordnung für die zur Gewährung von Beihilfen angemeldeten Missionschulen für das Jahr 1905", ANT, FA 1/142: 114-121.
"Tagesordnung. Beratung über den Entwurf einer Verordnung betreffend den Sprachunterricht in den Missions- und sonstigen Privatschulen", ANT, FA 1/411: 187-192.
"Protokoll des Bezirkstags, vierter Verhandlungstag, Lomé, den 11. Sept. 1908", ANT, FA 1/251: 48-51; 63-66.
"Niederschrift über die am 1. und 2. Juli 1909 im Gouverneurhause zu Lome abgehaltene Schul- und Missionskonferenz", ANT, FA 1/91: 147-188.
ANT, FA 1/91: 189-190.
"Niederschrift über die am 8. Dezember 1909...", ANT, FA 1/91: 240-249.
"Niederschrift über die am 18. Oktober 1910...", ANT, FA 1/91: 258-262.Haut de page