The Yiannakis Bros was established in 1934 by three brothers; Nicholas, Christos and Stavros who started commercially fishing at Chipoka.
The three brothers originally came from the Greek island of Limnos and were attracted to Nyasaland by the prospects of growing tobacco in the Namwera district. They started working in the transport business before focusing on commercial fishing. By 1938 they were trawling using a small boat. They owned four lorries which transported fresh fish from Lake Nyasaland to Blantyre and dried fish to Salisbury.
During the 1940’s, the business was in constant conflict with Government. The Government were looking to supply local markets with dried fish. 60% of the Yiannakis Bros’ catch went to Southern Rhodesia. The issue came to a head in 1949 when a famine hit Nyasaland and there was a ban on the exporting of fish.
By 1950 they employed 150 permanent workers and were the only firm working full time on the lake and continue to try and defy the Governmental policies on the export of fish. The Government, in response, looked to ban the business from trading but this recommendation was never implemented. In 1951, after a bitter row between the brothers, Christos bought out Nicholas and Stavros’ interest in the business.
It was not until 1958, with the formation of the Federation of Rhodesia & Nyasaland, that the ban on fish exports was lifted.
- The Journal of African History (Vol. 1, No. 1 – Vol. 54, No. 3)