16 / 2002
Zvone Žigon

Slovenes in Africa and on the Arabian Peninsula

Very little has been until the present written about Slovenes in Africa and on the Arabian Peninsula; thus the author has decided for a thorough research. In it he ascertains the quantitative dimensions of the presence of Slovenes and of their descendants, and Slovene culture in that space. Žigon observes standard, but to political-geographical circumstances adequate acculturation processes, particularly in members of the second generation of Slovene emigrants. He typologises the “categories” of Slovene emigrants by states, which he visited within the frame of the project, and in regard of cause for emigration, and age-social specifics. Thus Žigon studied in detail Slovene identity in Egypt, The South African Republic and in Kenya. In analysing individual typical groups he mentions Slovene female missionaries (and a missionary) in Egypt – missionary as a form of emigration is in this contribution not dealt with, yet the role of clerics was in preserving Slovene identity in Egypt of crucial significance.

The article is given specific weight with the report on the presence at the foundation of the first modern society of Slovenes in the mentioned area (in Nairobi, Kenya, in November 2001), and on the first larger meeting of Slovenes in South Africa, which was soon followed by the foundation of a Slovene society (March 2002).

The states in which a relatively large number of Slovenes live are: Egypt, The South African Republic, Kenya, Jordan and Israel; also to be mentioned are Ghana and Kuwait. We can find individual emigrants in other states, for example in Namibia, Tanzania, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Guinea Bissau, Algeria, Tunis etc.