Imagine the source of River Nile at Jinja, a point of exit and no return, with waters gushing downstream on to new lands and pastures; just like the the Asians who left Uganda in 1972 with hopes and aspirations, believing that they would never return. They were wrong. They never left in spirit really….
Welcome to my updated blog. Some of the earlier posts from another blog will appear here soon! By public demand.
Kalwant Ajimal was born and bred in Kampala, Uganda and went to school at Kampala’s prestigious Kololo Secondary School. He then went on to complete his first degree at Makerere University, also based in Kampala.
The former British colonies of Kenya, Uganda, Tanganyika and Zanzibar attracted substantial Asian ( now often termed as South Asians) migration. When the British left, new policies relating employment and trade were introduced. They were designed to offer business opportunities and regular access to employment to the indigenous Africans. The Wahindi felt threatened but decided to respond to the new challenges – new jobs, new investment and new careers; take together probably very positive for Uganda, by staying as long as they could.
The term ‘Wahindi’ is sometimes considered to be derogatory in nature. As far as I am aware but it is not. It just refers to “The Hindi” people who came from Hindustan…
The Ugandan dictator Idi Amin is said to have expelled 90,000 Asians in 1972. The wahindi in Kenya also considered themselves to be under threat although a substantial number had left the country in 1968 when new work permit systems were introduced in Kenya followed by squeeze on employment permits for Asians. This was almost matched by immigration quotas by Britain, fearing a massive Asian influx into the UK.
This blog on the New Wahindi covers the lives, thoughts and experinces- nostalgia of Asians from all parts of Africa but those from Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania will tend to dominate the agenda, wherever they may be living now. They are ‘new’ because a few have gone back. Others have returned on holiday and many have taken their children to see the country where their parents were born or grew up. They are also new in spirit because many Asians have come to terms with the expulsion and decided to recognise that the mad acts of one man should not be held against the whole country.
There is some hope in my blog that former Uganda Asians, now known as ‘British Asians’, ‘Canadian Asians’ and ‘American Asians’ to name a few, will also share the spirit of reconciliation that I propose here and come forward to celebrate the past but also invest in the future… I have had a fantastic career in the UK and am now working to deliver a return on investment to Makerere University, a place of learning that gave me so much!