Om nordisk utvandring till Södra Afrika

Omkring en million svenskar emigrerade till Nordamerika under 1800-talet och början av 1900-talet. Det var också många svenskar som sökte sig till Brasilien, Argentina och Australien. Om detta har mycket skrivits och forskats.

Men, omkring den svenska och nordiska utvandringen till södra Afrika från 1600-talet fram till början av 1900-talet, har mycket lite hittills publicerats.

Den mest övergripande, inträngande och detaljerade forskning som hitttills publicerats är Alan H. Winquists avhandling från 1978, ”Scandinavians and South Africa” (University of New York). Boken har dock aldrig blivit översatt till svenska och är idag dessutom ganska svår att få tag på.

I introduktionen till sin avhandling, skriver Dr. Winquist följande intressanta kommentar:

The activities and significance of the major European powers in Africa have been carefully researched and evaluated by numerous historians. However, scholarship has tended not to be so thorough with regard to the lesser European states and their role in African development. This has been especially true of the Scandinavian countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden). The activities of these nations is largely a forgotten factor and has been merely footnoted in scholarly studies. This is surprising in the light of the significant impact these countries have achieved.

The Scandinavians contributed in a variety of ways – as explorers, natural scientists, missionaries, early pioneers and settlers, fishermen, whalers, miners, engineers, merchants, businessmen and investors – to the making of modern South Africa.

These people have had a unique role, especially in view of the small numbers involved. They not only influenced South African history but also Europe in its knowledge of South Africa; for example through the work of Swedish natural scientists.

In many respects, at least prior to 1900, Scandinavians were the fifth (after the British, Dutch, German and French) most significant European group in South Africa, and yet the only one of the five with very limited scholarly work.

What amazed the researcher is that there is hardly an occupation or historical event where some significant Scandinavian contribution is not evident. This is not the case in other African regions where Scandinavians tended to concentrate in fewer occupations or professions.

Christer Blomstrand