Mustafa Olpak

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Mustafa Olpak (October 1953 in Ayvalık[1] - 4 October 2016 in İzmir[citation needed]) was an Afro-Turkish writer and activist. His book Kenya-Girit-İstanbul: Köle Kıyısından İnsan Biyografileri has been compared to Alex Haley's Roots.[1]

Biography[edit]

Olpak's ancestors, of Kikuyu ethnicity from today's Kenya,[2] were enslaved around the year 1890, brought to Crete and sold in Rethymno. Following the population exchange between Greece and Turkey, the family settled in Ayvalık.[3] Olpak married a Turkish woman named Sevgi in İzmir after his military service.[4]

In 2006, Olpak founded the first officially recognised organisation of Afro-Turks, the Africans' Culture and Solidarity Society (Afrikalılar Kültür ve Dayanışma Derneği) in Ayvalık.[5] The opening ceremony was attended by Ali Moussa Iye, the Chief of UNESCO Slave Routes Project.[6][7] A principal aim of the association is to promote studies of oral history of Afro-Turks, a community history of whom was usually ignored by official historiography in Turkey.

The Turkish film Arap Kızı Camdan Bakıyor[8] ("The Arab Girl Looks from the Window," released with the English title of Baa Baa Black Girl)[9] discusses how his grandfather was purchased as a household slave by a Turkish family, but later moved to Istanbul after the Turkish Revolution.[10]

Bibliography[edit]

Filmography[edit]

  • Arap Kızı Camdan Bakıyor ("The Arab Girl Looks from the Window," released in English as Baa Baa Black Girl), Director:,[12] Narrator: Mustafa Olpak,[13] 46', 2007, Turkey[14]

Notes[edit]

External links[edit]