Margins of Everyday Life of Czechoslovak Experts in Africa. Cover Image

Margins of Everyday Life of Czechoslovak Experts in Africa.
Margins of Everyday Life of Czechoslovak Experts in Africa.

Motivation — Nomination — Preparation — Emigration?

Author(s): Jakub Mazanec
Subject(s): Cold-War History
Published by: Univerzita Karlova v Praze - Filozofická fakulta, Vydavatelství
Keywords: Czechoslovakia; Africa; experts; Warsaw Pact;ministry of Foeign Affairs;

Summary/Abstract: Since the 1960s, Czechoslovakia was very active in providing development aid to the newly established states in Africa. One of the most widely used instruments of this aid was the sending of expert groups from various fields. In view of the lack of reliable, yet sufficiently professional and linguistically equipped cadres available to the Czechoslovak government, emigration to the West was not uncommon among the experts sent. A more significant increase in emigration occurred immediately after 1968, when Warsaw Pact armies invaded Czechoslovakia. This article attempts to present the daily reality of Czechoslovak experts sent to Africa. It will focus on their motivations for going, the functioning of their communities and, through the stories of several experts, it will also outline the motivations and methods of emigration to the West through the country to which they were sent or reflections on emigration. The article is based mainly on materials from the Czechoslovak Ministry of Foreign Affairs and interviews with the experts or their close relatives. The stories of two water engineers, Antonín Petlach and René Sameš (Ghana), pharmacists Zdeňka and Otomar Věříš (Tunisia), and physician Jan Foustka (Ghana) will be discussed.

  • Issue Year: 2021
  • Issue No: 1-2
  • Page Range: 66-78
  • Page Count: 12
  • Language: English