The general picture that Europeans have about Congo, is one of great poverty, misery, disease and chaos.

They just can’t imagine that there might be a different way of thinking; a different social structure and a different lifestyle overall.

The Democratic Republic of Congo (République Démocratique du Congo), former Belgian Congo (being a Belgian colony) and Zaire until 1997, is located at the heart of Africa.

 

 

Its population is around 70.000.000 (2009 estimate) and its total area is 2,345,410 square kilometers (Wikipedia). It is named after the river Congo that runs across the country and is its blessing.

Congo River is the second longest after the Nile and the second worldwide after the Amazon. The official language of Congo is French, while 200-300 dialects are spoken. Seventy percent of the population belongs to the ethnic group ‘Bantu’, meaning “people”. Kongo, Beba, Balouba, Luba are some of the peoples that live in Congo. It is a very rich country, perhaps the richest in the world regarding natural resources and mines. This is why it has long been targeted by international interests and found at

the epicenter of invasions and civil wars. The capital of Congo is Kinshasa, the only city-province of the country, which is divided in 10 administrative provinces. The largest cities are Lubumbashi, Kisangani, Kivu, Mbuji-Mayi, Kolwezi, Kananga, Likasi. The country gained its independency in 1960.

 

Many things have changes since in Congo and in Africa in general, despite the hardships.

Democratic Republic of Congo

Congo may still suffer,

but people are dedicated

to work for growth and production.

Lubumbashi

Hellenic Community Lubumbashi

Hellenic

Community

Έλληνες της Διασποράς

Hellenic

school

ελληνικό λουμπουμπάσι

Lubumbashi (formerly Elisabethville), is located at the southeastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It is the country’s second largest city after the capital Kinshasa and the largest of the Katanga province. Lubumbashi is the mining capital of Congo, acting as a

hub for many of the country's biggest mining companies.

It is a big commercial and business center. Small artisanal businesses produce food products and beverages, paintings, ceramic artifacts, hand-made ornaments from copper, wood, malachite, etc.

 

 

The population of the city is between 1.5 and 2 million people; main languages spoken are Kiswahilli and

French. Climate is humid, subtropical with warm,

rainy summers and pleasant, dry winters. The city is located at 1,320 meters above sea level. The University,

the Library, Saints Peter and Paul’s Cathedral, the

railway station, the art-deco style Court of Justice are

some of Lubumbashi’s most important buildings of colonial architecture. The city population consists of a

great variety of peoples, ethnic groups and civilizations.

 

Lubumbashi

Λουμπουμπάσι

The orthodox temple

of «The Annunciation»,

stands proudly and

imposingly  at the centre

of the town, while

its byzantine beauty attracts

both local residents and visitors.

 

Lubumbashi is the mining capital of Congo,

acting as a hub for many of the country's biggest mining companies.

Έλληνες του Κόνγκο

View from the teachers’ residences

The schools

of the Hellenic Community

The schools of the Hellenic Community of Lubumbashi (SHCL) were founded in

1968 and operate since.

In 1981, by ministerial decision, they were

recognized as equal to the schools of Greece and they function according to the current applicable Greek legislation on public schools. The foundation of the schools marked a milestone in the history of the Community; around them the life of the Community was organized, while the Greek presence and national conscience was stimulated – and still is.

Greek education and

learning is offered to the students.

Our schools that cover

all stages of public education (Preschool - Primary School – “Gymnasium”- “Lyceum”), are housed and belong

to the Hellenic Community of Lubumbashi;

they were built thanks

 to donations and support of Greek expatriates.

The schools have been recently renovated: the building and rooms,

and the yard. They

have a fully equipped laboratory for physics

and chemistry; a room for informatics, art; a gym;

a rich lending library

and canteen.

The schools

and their proper function is a

primary goal for

the Community.

They are supported

and reinforced

by the Community, which also claims the transfer of teachers from the Hellenic Ministry of Education, to ensure smooth operation of the schools.

Our graduates

pursue successfully their education in Greece’s universities and other high-education establishments.

For us,

the Greeks of Lubumbashi,

the schools are the center of

our life, our progress and development.

Έλληνες της Αφρικής

The Patriarch of Alexandria

with the pupils of our school

The “Hellenic Community of Lubumbashi and Outskirts” has a

history worthy of its members, militant, creative and with a marked Greek character. Its people, always envision the Greek way of life;

they work hard at the heart of Africa, their country in their minds, and at the same

time keeping

excellent relations

with the people of Congo.

The Hellenic Community

Greek presence in modern Lubumbashi (former Elisabethville) has its roots in the 1920s. It is reported that in 1917, about 150 Greeks lived in the city the surrounding forests. More Greeks settled in the area during the periods 1936-39 and 1946-48. The Hellenic Community was established in 1923. With Lubumbashi as starting point, which has always been an important hub for transports, Greeks became pioneers in transporting and selling goods - mainly food and clothing – even to regions where access was challenging. Experienced seamen found familiar to their home surroundings in the lakes Tanganyika and Mweru, where they run large companies involved in fishing and its trade. It was the heyday of the Hellenic community that counted 3,500 people at the time.

Honorary General Consulate of Greece

Until 1995 the General Consulate of Greece was a “salaried” consulate. Since then, it operates as Honorary General Consulate. Its contribution to the progress of the Community is considered valuable, given that the Hellenic Embassy in Kinshasa is a 2-hour flight away. The telephone of the consulate for the public is: 00243 997028220.

In 1960, when the independence was proclaimed, many Greeks left Congo due to the irregular situation in the country. During the period 1963-64 many returned and prospered as they had before. In 1967, the building of the Hellenic Community was founded; since 1968, the Hellenic schools are also housed in the building.

The foundation of the schools marked a milestone in the life of the Community; around them the life of the Community was organized, while the Greek presence and national conscience was stimulated, and various activities taken over. Today, the Hellenic Community of Lubumbashi appears very active.

The Community makes efforts to organize and support the school which represents the vast and unique cultural heritage of Greece.

In 1956, the Church of the Annunciation was established, an architectural gem at the heart of the city.

All marbles of the church were imported from Greece.

The recently renovated facilities of the Community offer a restaurant with Greek traditional dishes and ‘meze’ for ouzo, a bar, football, basketball, volleyball and futsal fields, athletics hall, ten residences for teachers; all situated on a green background and next to a dreamy playground.

Aesthetics, flavors and entertainment offered are a point of attraction not only for Greeks but also for all inhabitants of the city.

Λουμπουμπάσι