Who was Johaness Rebman

Who was Johaness Rebman

Rebmann was also a Germany missionary and an explorer born in 1826 was among the first Europeans to enter E.A from the Indian Ocean coast. His work is expected to have led to the coming of the other Europeans like David Livingstone, Richard Burton and john Hamming Speke.

Rebmann lost most of his eye sight and after entering into a brief marriage, he died of pneumonia in 1876. Right from childhood, he aspired to be a preacher and when he grew up he chose to be a missionary and he was trained at Basel.

Rebmann travelled into E.A in 1846 and started working in Kenya. While in Kenya he made a lot of exploration works and he is credited for having found mountain Kilimanjaro in 1848. He found a lot of problems in convincing the chiefs in Kenya to allow him to speak to the people. While in East Africa

Rebmann kept a dairy from 1848 until the time for his death in this dairy, he wrote how his trust in Christ kept him stable in Africa where very few Europeans had come. He stayed in Africa for around 30 years and he had a policy that in order to change African people much patience was needed.
Rebmann visited various places in Africa including the African great lakes and mountains. During his stay in Africa, he learnt several languages of African societies and even wrote a dictionary in Kiswahili language.

Rebmann having lost his eye sight for unknown reasons, he went back to Europe in 1875. He went back to German for the first time in 29years after being convinced to do so by his fellow missionaries.

In October 1876, Rebmann died of pneumonia. He was buried and on his tomb store they wrote words like “saved in Jesus arms”.
Rebmann’s work in Africa both as a missionary and an explorer made other missionaries to do what he did.

Activities of Rebman in East Africa

  • Rebmann was a Christian teacher who taught the Kenyan children religion.
  • He conducted a number of missionary journeys to different areas in Africa spreading the gospel.
  • He was an explorer who explored and exposed the interior of East Africa to other missionaries in Europe
  • Through his exploration works that he made a number of discoveries which attracted other missionaries to come to East Africa.
  • Rebmann worked and supported Krapf in evangelization in East Africa.
  • He also helped in the translation of the Bible from the English version to the Kiswahili language.
  • Rebmann further wrote a dictionary in Kiswahili which helped in supporting and promoting linguist study in East Africa.
  • He was a friendly missionary easily related with Africans hence creating friendship and brother hood among them.
  • As a missionary, he condemned and fought against slave trade which was so rampant in East Africa.
  • He further preached against many backward cultural practices like human scarifies hence playing a role in the modernization of Africa.
  • Rebmann did a great work of rehabilitating/ looking after ex-slaves at Rabai-mpya and Frère town.
  • He worked hand in hand with the Bombay Africans to spread the gospel in East Africa.
  • Rebmann learnt many African languages which helped him a lot to talk to many Africans hence enabling him to convert them.


The problems Rebmann faced are the same problems that Krapf faced in East Africa.Analyze the career and achievements of Rebmann in spreading Christianity in East Africa.

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