The Greek Tribe of Africa

The identify Vlahakis is widespread in Zambia, because of a courageous Greek man from the island of Crete known as Nikolaos Vlahakis who arrived in southern Africa on the finish of the nineteenth century.

His descendants, who’re members of the “Vlahakis tribe” and proudly bear the surname, whole about 3,500 individuals, scattered not solely throughout Africa however all over the world.

*The story of Vlahakis in Zambia might be made right into a Hollywood film*

Vlahakis was born within the city of Malia on the island of Crete. As he grew up within the Nineties, he grew to become recognized for his revolutionary motion towards the Ottomans.

He fled to Asia Minor from the place he managed to journey over 11,500 kilometers till he reached Mozambique in south-east Africa.

After strolling within the jungle for greater than 2,000 kilometers, Vlahakis lastly settled within the city of Chirundu in what was then known as Northern Rhodesia on the border of Zimbabwe.

Upon settling in his new homeland within the jungle, Vlahakis began searching wild animals, labored in mines, and engaged in livestock elevating to outlive. Such was his bodily prowess that he’s stated to have killed crocodiles with a bat and saved many natives from animal assaults.

Rumors of his exploits swept the jungle, making him well-known amongst native tribes which then informally appointed him as their “chief.” Vlahakis, nevertheless, felt lonely with out his personal individuals by his aspect and so returned to Crete within the early 1900s to fetch his youthful brother, Dimitris.

Vlahakis brothers based an “impartial Greek state”

Metropolitan Ioannis of Zambia instructed Greek Reporter that upon their return, the Vlahakis brothers settled on a small island known as Kanima within the huge Zambezi River, the place they based an “impartial Greek state,” and raised a Greek flag.

Metropolitan Ioannis stated that the 2 brothers had an ideal popularity and that the founding father of the territory of Rhodesia, Cecil John Rhodes, gave them a big sufficient space of land to domesticate.

The 2 brothers began their farm, named Demetra, and engaged within the cultivation of tobacco. They concurrently continued to hunt with nice success, which thus contributed to their native fame.

The 2 brothers began their very own households, marrying native ladies and dwelling fortunately and in concord with native tribes till April 13, 1913, when Nikolaos handed away after an encounter with a lion within the forest.

Native tribes mourned his dying and buried him on the prime of a hill, overlooking the “impartial Greek state” he had based years earlier, with honors reserved for a pacesetter, Metropolitan Ioannis stated.

His brother continued dwelling on the farm, adhering to the Orthodox religion and traditions and guaranteeing that his youngsters led an Orthodox lifestyle and attained a correct schooling and upbringing.

First descendants all bore Greek names

Metropolitan Ioannis with the descendants of the Vlahakis tribe at the missionary center in Chirundu. Credit: Facebook-Metropolis of Zambia
Metropolitan Ioannis with the descendants of the Vlahakis tribe on the missionary heart in Chirundu. Credit score: Fb-Metropolis of Zambia

Nikolaos’ 32 descendants—one in every of whom was a daughter—all bore Greek names, resembling Nikolaos, Stefanos, Athena, Xenophon, Thekla, Cleopatra, Kalliopi, Konstantinos, and Anna amongst others. Likewise, this utilized to his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, most of whom bore the names of the primary two brothers.

With Dimitris’ dying on September 17, 1939, the period of the 2 pioneer Cretans ended, however their legacy stays.

Kenneth Kaunda, the primary president of Zambia, who is taken into account the daddy of all independence actions on the African continent, awarded the Vlahakis household the honorary title of the sixty fourth tribe of Zambia throughout a public speech.

Descendant writes guide on the story

A descendant of the Vlahakis tribe wrote a guide on the astonishing story of the 2 Vlahakis brothers.

Jane Vlahakis Nash’s “Born and Bred within the Zambezi Valley” is a gold mine for members of the intensive Vlahakis household, but it surely’s additionally a helpful useful resource for lovers of Africa, college students of sociology, and anybody who’s conscious of what it means to be ‘coloured’ in a predominantly Bantu society dominated in these days by white settlers.

On the coronary heart of this flowering household tree is Demetra Farm and the completely happy occasions spent there studying bush lore, swimming within the Zambezi, taking part in video games by moonlight, and going off to high school at Fatima, the ‘residence away from residence’ for a lot of Vlahakis youngsters.

A number of unlucky circumstances overshadow the lives of the Vlahakis household, together with premature deaths, warfare, and the specter of AIDS, however these are counterbalanced by contacts made overseas, rediscovery of Greek ‘roots,’ and an idyllic life beneath a scorching solar within the heat embrace of a big-hearted household.

Missionary heart to honor Vlahakis tribe

Children of Chirundu at the missionary center. Credit: Facebook-Metropolis of Zambia
Kids of Chirundu on the missionary heart. Credit score: Fb-Metropolis of Zambia

Metropolitan Ioannis is at the moment establishing a missionary heart in Chirundu the place the 2 Vlahakis brothers first settled which is able to embody a church, religious heart, clinic, faculty and commerce faculty.

In 2020, Patriarch Theodore II of Alexandria laid the muse for the undertaking; Metropolitan Ioannis has now launched into a mission to seek out funding.

“It will likely be a contribution of historic significance for the place and its individuals, not just for the descendants of the Vlahakis brothers, but additionally for each one who needs to get to know Christ,” the metropolitan stated whereas interesting to all those that are financially capable of assist in the completion of the mission.

Greek Reporter

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