Johannes Emonts

The German colonial administration ceased in 1915 when it was expelled by British and French military forces. Missionary activity was allowed to resume in the post-war period. Emonts published an account of his Catholic missionary work in 1922 in a volume entitled 'Ins Steppen-und Bergland Innerkameruns'. In this brief extract, from an account of a journey undertaken c.1913, translated by Sally Chilver, we see a very clear contrast in the ways in which the European presence in the Grassfields was received. In one instance Emonts is obliged to threaten the use of armed force to get assistance from a chief. Yet the Fon of Bum entreats him to build a school in the community and willingly entrusts a number of children to Emonts's care.

Emonts is impressed by the Fon of Bum, so much so that he states 'He was a fine chief with a European rather than an African outlook'. Is Emonts being racist when he makes this kind of statement?

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