African languages have been taught at the department since 1946, initially by Eugen Ludwig Rapp, Professor for Christian Orientalism at the Faculty of Theology. Following Professor Rapp’s retirement in 1972, a chair of African languages and linguistics was founded at the department, which was taken up by Leo Stappers, an expert in Bantu languages. In 1978, after Rapp’s death, Paul de Wolf (Bantu and Sudan languages, oratory) took over the chair. He was replaced by Norbert Cyffer, a specialist in Nilo-Saharan languages, who stayed in Mainz for ten years before accepting a professorship in Vienna in 1994. He was followed by Raimund Kastenholz (Mande languages) in 1996.