The Slovenia Times

Exhibition about Slovenian missionaries along Nile opens


The exhibition, opening this evening, is being held to mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of Knoblehar, a Slovenian missionary in Africa, explorer of the White Nile river and a collector of African artefacts.

Knoblehar was born 1819 in Škocjan in south-eastern Slovenia and died of malaria 1858 in Naples.

He came to Africa 1848 where he established three missions, being active for a decade in the White Nile river basin. Coming to Egypt and Sudan, he was fascinated with the mystery of the river Nile, the local culture, religion, flora and fauna. He documented his discoveries in his diaries.

He also collected artefacts belonging to the people living along the White Nile in southern Sudan.

According to the museum in Stična, many Slovenian priests and craftsmen came to Sudan to help with the missionary work under the leadership of Knoblehar. The group of Slovenians were a part of a missionary organisation in Khartoum, the capital city of Sudan.

Some of his colleagues explored the White Nile basin with him, since Knoblehar was a pioneer of the exploration of this enormous African river.

The exhibition will highlight the roles of these missionaries based on the historical archives and literary sources from the 19th century.

It will be opened by Marko Frelih, the curator of the African collection of the Slovenian Ethnographic Museum in Ljubljana, and will be on display until 22 September.

In addition, the municipality of Škocjan has decided to mark this year locally as the year of Knoblehar and to organise various events in his honour. The municipality has also published a photo monograph about Knoblehar.


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