A special event was held in Peterborough on Friday (4) to mark 50 years of the expulsion of Asians from Uganda and it was attended by, apart from dignitaries such as MP Shailesh Vara MP and Ugandan high commissioner Her Excellency (HE) Nimisha Madhvani, people who had left the east African country in 1972 and arrived in the UK to start a new life.
Around 50 families had settled in Peterborough after being expelled by former Ugandan dictator Idi Amin and they had faced an enormous challenge to begin from scratch again. Many of them took part in the event and recalled the past.
The event took place in the constituency of Vara, North West Cambridgeshire, which also includes a substantial part of the cathedral city of Peterborough.
The 62-year-old MP, who is an Ugandan-born to Indian immigrants, spoke about the challenges the families faced on their arrival to the city and praised Charles Swift, a former mayor of Peterborough and city councillor, for his decision to invite families to the city despite facing strong resistance from some local residents.
He also recalled the valuable contribution that the families have made to the city and how the entire UK, which collectively took in 28,000 people, benefited from the migrants.
HE Nimisha Madhvani recollected the ordeal that people suffered at the time of their arrival, and mentioned that she was also among those who had arrived in England after being expelled by the Amin regime.
She spoke about the current Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni’s desire to welcome people back to Uganda, as tourists and investors, and that she looked forward to seeing people from Peterborough visit Uganda as well.
Among other speakers at the event were Kishor Ladwa, president of Peterborough Bharat Hindu Samaj, who recounted his personal experience as a young boy arriving in the UK and in particular Peterborough.
The event concluded with a garba dance, performed by local residents, and a meal.
“I was very pleased to be part of this important anniversary, especially being marked in my constituency,” Vara said after the event.
“The Asians who arrived in the UK from Uganda have made an enormous contribution to the country in all walks of life, and they continue to do so.
“I am especially pleased that those who arrived in Peterborough, a substantial part of which is in my constituency, have helped to enrich the city and surrounding area so much by all that they have achieved and done since their arrival.”