The 1880's were a critical time in Cameroon. A German warship arrived in the Douala estuary and proclaimed Cameroon a protectorate. At that time, two Swedes, Knutson and Waldau, were living on the upper slopes of the Cameroon Mountain. Very little is kwn about their activities. One of them, Knutson, wrote a long memoir of his time in Cameroon (1883-1895) which is published here for the first time. It gives fascinating insights into everyday life in Cameroon and into the multifaceted relationships among the various Europeans, and between them and the Africans, at the end of the 19th century. Together with appended contemporary correspondence, legal opinions, and early (translated) texts, this memoir must be considered as a unique and invaluable primary source for the pre-colonial history of Cameroon.
Shirley Ardener teaches at the Center for Cross-Cultural Research on Women, University of Oxford, and is a member of the Centre for Cross-Cultural Research on Women, of which she was also the founding director.