Imagine if you will that you and your family have been designated non-citizens by your government and ordered to leave your homeland within ninety-day`s. Add to this, the fact that the announcement is made by a political leader noted for his volatility and cruelty. And during the ninety-day count-down you hear reports of atrocities against your neighbours, every knock on your door becomes a potential threat. This is a nightmare scenario, which nobody should face but the Asian community in Uganda in 1972 was confronted by this precise set of circumstances. This happened after a dream which compelled President Idi Amin to expel all the Asians from Uganda. A decree initially limited to “non citizens” extended to include all Asians, including non Gujaratis Goans, Muharhastrans, Sikhs and Punjabis.
The majority of those expelled were of Gujarati origins, which is a term applied by Mohamed Keshavjee, encompassing those of “Indo-Pakistani origin, citizens and non-citizens, who lived in Uganda prior to the 1972 expulsion”. Adding the “Ismailis, the Parsis, the Bohras and the Ithna`asharis, in addition to the Shahs and the Patels” who Keshavjee informs us were Gujarati speakers.