The world’s oldest intercollegiate fraternity founded by African-American men has established its first chapter in South Africa. Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, founded at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y., in 1906, chartered Rho Phi Lambda Chapter in Johannesburg on Feb. 3.
The ceremony was held during the Kenneth Harlan Simmons Memorial Charity Dinner. Simmons, a successful African-American architect and professor, was a longtime member of the fraternity known for his work on equal rights, urban planning and community development. He relocated to South Africa in 1994 after retiring from the University of California-Berkeley.
The event, which included an Alpha auction for education, was presided over by the fraternity’s world leader, General President Herman “Skip” Mason Jr., and included members of the fraternity’s board of directors, dignitaries and more than 200 others.
The new Johannesburg chapter’s 13 charter members relocated from America to South Africa. However, the fraternity aims to expand by inviting native South Africans to join the fraternity through the Rho Phi Lambda chapter.
“We are excited about establishing the first chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha on the African continent in the 21st century,” said Michael Sudarkasa, chapter president and a Harvard University-trained lawyer initiated at the University of Michigan. “We look forward to playing an integral part in helping to expand the fraternity’s presence in Africa in the coming years.”