Solly and Stella Alhadeff
(from original hand-written
and unfinished interview by
Aliza Hatchuel )
See also a page
scanned from the anniversary magazine of the Sephardi Hebrew Congregation
Father Marco came in 1905 first time up to Penhalonga
with intention to go to the Witwatersrand – gold attracted him. A the age of
23 alone. In Penhalonga were two Jewish people Sam Pollack’s father and a
Hasson (Alex grandfather). Through them managed to get a permit to enter
officially but returned to Rhodes and put the see of the idea of coming to
develop a new country with opportunities. Most encouraged by the two in
Penhalonga. Returned in March 1907 to Penhalonga but immediately move to the
capital city Salisbury (British Charter land). Mrandellas district was known
as Gazaland. Walked most of the way to Salisbury. (Trains used to be very slow
stopping for hours here and there – no time table).
Eventually was fluent in Shona and was called by the
natives Kisinamunda – the smiling gardener man.
J C Benatar came a few months before Marco and
was coach build on railway in Penhalonga –
(spirit of adventure existed). Moussa Benatar and Garbiel Benatar came
in 1895 here then left to the Congo.
Marco was the first Sephardi Jew to establish himself
in Salisbury. Other came but established themselves in outlying districts .
Opened a tin shack shop in Salisbury St (near
Queens Hotel) on 3 stands. Turnover
was approx Stg 100 per month selling ploughshears etc.. did very well. English
was poor. Marco loaned money to many people for passage to come. When going on
holiday to Rhodes to encourage more his community to come – 1912 –1914 .
On such occasions the tin shack was just closed (vacation 3 months). He was the prime move in revitalizing enthusiasm amongs the
Jews of Rhodes to settle.
Father Jacque Nissim (J N ) Alhadeff
Married Bechora Tamara Leon
cousin to B.S. Leon
Father came 1913 heard about Rhodesia from Marco, B.S.
He was very poor as his father had died when he was 5
Nick’s father – Shaul Nissim
Benji’s father – Avraham Nissim Alhadeff (Nissim
was their grandfather).
(The story of how J.N.
got the money to come to this country – the ugly girl who was wealthy and
looking for a husband).
Arrived in Gatooma area – worked for B.S. Leon.
Every night used to put a blanket on the counter and go to sleep. Worked well
and was appreciated by B.S..
B.S. Leon went back to Rhodes and returned with a
photo of the beautiful, talented
Mandalene player Bechora Leon. Showed it to Jacque who
immediately proclaimed that he would marry her. Wroter her a letter and with
B.S.’s help Bechora came in 1922 – aged 25/26. J .N used to earn Stg 5.00
per month and send 3 home.
Landed in Gatooma in the middle of the night- on the
platform to meet her B.S. and J.N who was very think and tall. Never an
African in her life. Was not impressed with
J.N nor the gloomy place. Was influenced to stay
overnight with the Ferreras – wanted to go straight back but eventually
agreed to stay. Decided to wed – no Rabbi went to Byo – Rabbi Cohen
married them. No English was laughed at once and then became determined to
learn and spoke extremely well.