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Ugandan Asians

To commemorate the 40th anniversary of the expulsion of Ugandan Asians, Eastside Community Heritage carried out an oral history project to discover the unique story of London’s Ugandan Asian community. Working with the Indian Overseas Trust, the project aims to preserve the personal testimonies of those who were impacted by the declaration and explore their contributions to British society.

In 1972, General Idi Amin ordered the expulsion of Ugandan’s entire Asian community. Despite having longstanding ties with the region and playing a pivotal role in Uganda’s economy, the Asian community were given 90 days to leave their homeland. At least 28,000 sought refuge in Britain, after being forced to handover their possessions and leave the country. Once settling in their new home, Ugandan Asians lived in a time that Britain was experiencing anti-immigration sentiment and racial tension.

Despite such challenges, the Ugandan Asian community were able to flourish and their journey is often regarded a ‘success story’ of one of London’s thriving immigrant communities. Displaying entrepreneurial spirit and a determination to rebuild their lives, Ugandan Asians have made a valuable social, economic, political and cultural contribution to modern day Britain.

Through reminiscence sessions and interviews, Eastside Community Heritage has carried out over thirty interviews and five hundred photographs. An exhibition has been produced which will be touring both East and North West London in Autumn 2013.

Click on the names below to hear the audio clips from some of our interviewees:

 

Uppal family picnic, near Masaka, Uganda, circa 1965.

Uppal family picnic, near Masaka, Uganda, circa 1965.

 

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Hamida Dean with housemaid, Kampala, Uganda, circa 1950s.

 

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Ajet Singh Sondh with his team mates in Kampala, Uganda, circa 1950-1960.

 

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Satwant Singh Dhillon at work at Hawker Siddeley, Kingston, Surrey, 1973.