Nemanja Andrijašević

Serbian emigrant periodicals in South African Republic from 1969 to 1977

pages: 443-466


The paper presents the results of research in the Republic of South Africa: in the State Archive in Pretoria, Johannesburg City Library, Archive and Library of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Johannesburg and the private archive of Babić family – the archive of the late Major Dusan Babić and his son Konstantin. Several publications have been found in Hilandar Monastery on Mount Athos, as well as certain Libraries in Serbia. Periodicals that were the object of this research cannot all be found in one place. They are also almost completly unknown in Serbia, as well as in the countries of former Yugoslavia.

The author has collected statements from the nativeborn people, emigrants and the emigrants’ offspring. The following people from Johannesburg offered their testimonies: Konstantin Babić, Vera Poznanović, Ksenija Barbić, Mirjana Bijelić and Rosanda Sandi Nićiforović. The received data had been woven into the content of this paper. The paper gives a presentation of periodicals published by Serbian emigrants in the Republic of South Africa from 1969 to 1977. An overview of the topics that had been at the center of the emigrants’ attention has been offered.

After having moved to South Africa after the WW2, the political emigrants started publishing their own magazines. The initial zeal and perseverance were followed by a loss of enthusiasm as a result of the lack of ideas and determination. Some of the emigrants passed away, while others grew older and thus lost the strength necessary for social activities and endeavors of larger scope.

Stevan Nićiforović offered a new impuls with the magazine that he edited. After an entire year of preparations, the first issue had been published towards the end of 1969. The magazine had been titled „Serbian Unity – a journal of the church- school congregation“. The intention was that this magazine would become a spark of religious, national, political and cultural convergence of all Serbs in emigration. Nićiforović as the editor in chief did not allow polemics to be published in the magazine. The articles were anonymous.

The first three issues had been prepared as a collective endeavor and the magazine was published regularly. Then some conflicts arose due to disagreement with the editor. The result of such relations was that Nićiforović continued to publish the magazine alone with his personal money and the contributions from a number of faithful people. The content of the magazine was miscellaniuos, and the subjects were predominantly religious and national. Articles were published about WW1, Hilandar Monastery, church feasts, but also patriotic poems and remembrances of General Dragoljub Draža Mihailović. The celebration of the 750th anniversary of the autocephaly of the Serbian Orthodox Church had been reviewed. History of the Serbian monasteries from the Middle Age period had been presented. A broader picture of political and social state of society in Africa had been offered, as well as the current events in the Serbian Orthodox Church in Johannesburg, starting from reports about the parish life, to finding the parish priest and buying a space for building a church and a Serbian center. The readers were informed about the work of the Fund for education, they could read short biographies of those Serbs who passed away in Africa but also the works that had been published in Africa.

Articles had been written about the events in Yugoslavia, subjects ranging from building of the Railroad Belgrade– Bar to the comments about the memoirs of certain communist politicians. The editor published the news about Bishop of Žiča (Zhicha) Vasilije Kostić who spoke about the „Serbian question“ in 1971 in Yugoslavia, a subject very unpopular and almost forbidden in SFRY. He also published the testimonies of foreign authors about the Coup that happened on March 27th 1941. In the magazine one could find the observations about the Serbian emigration in Europe and the rest of the world and articles about Kosovo and Metohija. The editor informed the readers about certain Serbs across the world who achieved significant results in their fields by their inventions and discoveries which made them prominent and revered. One of them was Živojin R. Atanacković, who’s medical patent cured the species of trees called Dutch elm. The success of Dr Miodrag Ristić who brought forward significant scientific contribution in curing anaplasmosis, a disease of cattle caused by bloodsucking flies and ticks had also been mentioned.

Two issues of the magazine contained a personal testimony of Milan Mеsarović, an emigrant from Johannesburg. He described the time he had spent in captivity in Germany from 1941 to 1945. He had been imprisoned as a reserve lieutenant of the Royal Yugoslav Army in Osnabruck, in the camp Oflag VI C. Professor Dr Đoko Slijepčević, the former Professor of Ecclesiastical history at the Orthodox Theological Faculty of the Belgrade University, published his memoirs of the last several months of the Prime Minister of the Government of National Salvation – Milan Nedić, the time before he had been expedited to the authorities of the FNRY. In that article he mentioned Nedic’s diary which is still not available for public.

Stevan Nićiforović also started another edition – „Serbian Unity Library“. Only one book was found published in this edition – „Without homeland – A collection of poems, part III“ by Branislav R. Đurčinović, an emigrant who lived in Milwaukee, USA.

The content of all the issues of Serbian Unity brings forward a testimony of an enormous Nićiforović’s efforts. He had left his writings, comments, reviews or at the very least short reports on various subjects. Numerous works that he had given to his Church can be found in the Library of the Serbian Orthodox Church in Johannesburg. He is especially credited for managing to persevere for 8 years on the African continent, the part of the world very remote both from his fatherland and from the countries in which the majority of political emigrants lived at the time. During that time he published 20 issues of the magazine and one book in the edition that he had been in charge of. This paper also notes the endeavor of Ivan Mihailović, a man with a very interesting biography. He edited the magazine „Serbian Front“, paper of the Serbian Comittee of Chetniks in South Africa.






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