Tunisia Postcards

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Sœurs Missionnaires de Notre Dame d’Afrique

It is tempting to put all the African postcards under one general 'Africa' heading, but this would not tell the whole story. True, the history of lacemaking in Africa is largely missionary, however, in Tunisia, it built on the indigenous knotted Chebka lace.

Cardinal Charles Lavigerie (1825-26 to 1892) was the archbishop of Carthage and Algiers, and primate of Africa. He sent missionaries to the Sahara, Soudan, Tunis, Tripoli, East Africa and the Congo. Postcards showing lacemaking in some of the regions are shown elswhere on this website. The Sœurs Missionnaires de Notre Dame d’Afrique was founded by Lavigerie in 1869. More research on the African lacemaking efforts is needed.

The first postcard shown is typical of Tunisia - the second country is unknown. But the knotted lace shown bears similarity to Chebka. No one can defend blatent racism of the second postcard. Lavigerie was certainly over-enthusiastic in his attemps to convert the Muslims to Christianity - a course not entirely approved of by the govenor of Algeria, Marshal MacMahon. But Lavigerie was also an ardent opponent of slavery. His story is repeated in many of the Catholic missonary efforts.

first posted 9/19/2010

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