All tagged Diaspora

Nearly all the families who belong to the Ugandan Asian Diaspora have either a collection of photographs or a series of tired-looking but carefully-preserved albums in which their past is visually documented. Photographs were one of the few things that were not confiscated by Idi Amin’s military as the Asian community reluctantly and with heavy hearts checked out through Entebbe Airport in October 1972.

Uganda, the peal of Africa and where the Ugandan Asian Diaspora story all began.  But as I go back to the start, it isn't only the tales of oppression and brutality associated with Uganda of the 1970s that I think of, but the expectation of finding answers to some long-held questions about the country as it once was, and as it is now.

Documenting the past comes with a frightening number of challenges that at times beg the question, why bother?  With historical writing, the challenges are even more pronounced, particularly the lack of people and sources against which to check your facts.  Depending on how you look at it, it’s either the greatest investigative adventure or a guaranteed route to sleepless nights as the unknown quantities swirl around your tormented mind.

On 5 August 1972 – informed by the census that had been carried out the previous year – Idi Amin announced that he had a dream in which it was revealed to him that some 60,000 Asians who were not classed as Ugandans (defined as such by a convoluted arbitrary lineage) must leave Uganda, declaring, “Asians came to Uganda to build the railway, the railway is finished, they must leave now”.