The portrayal of Africa in the newspaper Zgodnja Danica from 1849 to 1858

  • Anja Polajnar 00386 31 779 084
Keywords: Africa, Africans, Zgodnja Danica, stereotypes, the Others

Abstract

The article focuses on the image of Africa and Africans in Zgodnja Danica among Slovenes in the period from 1849 to 1858. At that time, the Catholic Mission for Central Africa under the leadership of Ignacij Knoblehar was also supported by the Austrian Empire for possible colonial expansion and the decade coincided with the beginning of the nation-building process of Slovenes. After 1848, however, the non-absolutist regime and the principles of Catholic ideology prevailed, so that only two newspapers were allowed to be published in Slovene, one of them Zgodnja Danica. Luka Jeran, the editor of the journal and strong promoter of the mission, published, translated and censored numerous letters and reports by Knoblehar and his co-workers presenting Missionary's view of the physical aspects and people of what is now Egypt, Sudan and South Sudan. The land was portrayed as »far away« with an »unhealthy climate«.                                                                                                In contrast, the people were portrayed on one side with characteristics perceived as bright, beautiful, and skilled, and on the other side as »lazy and undeveloped«, being viewed from the Western perspective of understanding development and progress. Moreover, the articles written by people who had never been to Africa generated the stereotype of a »helpless and poor« African, while the physical land was portrayed as »dark« and »dangerous«. As part of the prevailing image, numerous »fundraisers« in support of the Central African Mission show not only how Slovenes saw Africa and Africans, but also how they saw »themselves« in contrast to »the others«, forming an »auto-stereotype« of a Slovenian who can »help« those who, in their perception, need their help.

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Published
2021-10-08
Section
Articles