Nemanja Andrijašević

Serbian emigrant periodicals in South Africa from 1945. to 1968.

pages: 125-140


After WWII, the number of Serbs in South Africa increased insignificantly. The colony had been enlarged solely by the officers of the Royal Yugoslav Army who served in this area during the war. Many of them never returned to their fatherland due to the political changes that occurred after the war in Yugoslavia. Soon political emigrants inhabited South Africa as well. The majority of Serbs that found themselves in exile there were anticommunists. They founded „Royal Yugoslav Combatants’ Association „Drazha Mihailovich“ South Africa“ in 1949 and started publishing their magazine.

In this work the author represented the results of research that he had conducted in the South African Republic, in the State Archive of Pretoria, the City Library of Johannesburg, the Archive and Library of the Serbian Orthodox parish in Johannesburg and the private archives of Babic family in Johannesburg. Certain publications had been analyzed at Hilandar Monastery on Mount Athos. In the Serbian Libraries only a few editions of journals and magazines from Africa can be found. The author further enlisted and represented a pretty scattered periodicals, as yet practically unknown to Serbian academic publishing. The work also embraced the testimonies and statements encountered in Johannesburg which primarily dealt with the emigrant circumstances and conditions of living, as well as the data on certain persons whose only short biographies have been published so far.

The first magazine was „Bilten“ (The Bulletin), later renamed to „Razvigor“ and it had been published twice a month, from 1950 to 1968, its editors being Nenad Zhakula and Slavko Kojic. Certain authors signed their texts with authentic name and surname while others wrote under a pseudonym. „Nasa stvarnost“ (Our Reality) had been the second Serbian emigrant magazine, founded by Dr. Vladislav Stakic. The magazine had a political character and it addressed the internal affairs in Yugoslavia between the two World Wars.

„Razvigor“ dealt with various subjects: emigration, sessions, activities and celebrations of the Association „Drazha Mihailovich“. It published the recollections, testimonies and verious comments on the role and fight of the Yugoslav Army in the fatherland during WWII. It presented articles concerning Serbian history. „Razvigor“ contains the chronology and chronicals of numerous events organized by Serbian Orthodox Church in Johannesburg, documents about the purchase of a unique gathering place for Serbs, as well as the information about cultural events, lectures and publishing work. Occasionally it passed on news from Yugoslavia, but always in a tone of critique of the Yugoslav regime and political system. Some officers and soldiers published their testimonies and observations about WWII, shedding light on some of the events during the war, as well as on those that preceded it. South Africa was also one of the magazine` s subjects – its historical development, economic circumstances and cultural events. The magazine also warned about the eminent danger of communism for the African continent. The authors of „Razvigor“ also mentioned the military coup performed on March 27, 1941 in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia

Edition 74 of the magazine marked the beginning of a stream of sarcastic targeted remarks about a highly ranked Yugoslav political functionary Aleksandar Rankovic. An enire series of these articles, based upon witty wordplay, were characterized by an offensive attitude towards the persons that the articles were about. All of this resulted in a reaction on the part of the Consulate of the SFRY. Even though the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the South African Republic did address this matter, it came to a conclusion that the appeals were not of a greater importance. Nevertheless, the Consulate of SFRY was closed in Johannesburg on July 26, 1963.

„Razvigor“ faced a deficit in finance as well as the number of employees. The editorial staff struggled by sending circular letters throughout the world in view of promoting the magazine and collecting the means for its publishing, but in spite of all the efforts, the magazine stopped being published with the death of the editor in chief Mr. Zhakula.

The city of Johannesburg had been a stronghold of the entire Serbian publishing activity in South Africa. In spite of their modest financial means and their scarcity, the Serbs that inhabited South Africa nurtured their creativity and they ovecame the temptations of disagreements and division. Some of them bequeathed their libraries to Serbian Orthodox Church in Johannesburg, like Dr. Vladislav Stakic, Stevan Niciforovic and Ivan Mihailovic. Today these legacies are a subject of research as well as the means of religious, cultural and intellectual enlightment of Serbs on the African continent.






get pdf