The Greek Community of Botswana, southern part of Africa, was established in 2006. The first Greek, of Cypriot origin, to move to the country in late 19th century was a cattle dealer named George Orphanides and in the years that followed over 100 of his relatives and fellow countrymen joined him.
The Greek community in the country currently numbers 200-300 people, most of them living in the capital city of Gaborone (60-100 people), says Greek Community President Periklis Bellos.
The community is in the process of building a Greek Orthodox Church in Gaborone despite the difficulties it faces stemming from the local legislation. The Greek State financed the community with 15,000 euros when it was established and the sum has already tripled through fundraising efforts with the purpose to be used in building the church.
The Greek Community children under the age of 18 are very few, only 12-15, but according to its president there are many children coming from mixed marriages who wish to join in.
The community also publishes a newspaper under the title “My big fat Greek newsletter” inspired by the movie “My Big Fat Greek Wedding”. The four-page newspaper is English-speaking, to reach as many community members as possible, created on the computer and distributed electronically via email to the community members.
Photo: Internationally acclaimed human rights lawyer George Bizos (M), Greek Community of Botswana President Periklis Bellos (L) and members of the community.