Leicester exhibition to mark 50th anniversary of Ugandan Asians arrival

The outside of the museum where the Uganda 50 exhibition is based
The Uganda 50 exhibition at Leicester's Museum & Galleries Credit: Leicester City Council

The final details are being put on the Uganda 50 exhibition celebrating the 10,000 Ugandan Asians who settled in Leicester, after being forced out of Uganda in 1972.

‘Rebuilding Lives: 50 Years of Ugandan Asians in Leicester’ will recognise those who fled the Ugandan dictator Idi Amin, and celebrate the positive contributions they have made to the community in the East Midlands.

The landmark exhibition will stay open until December 23.

People whose families made the traumatic journey donated hundreds of artefacts, memorabilia and photographs to the exhibition.

A School ID card a Ugandan Asian brought to the UK Credit: Leicester City Council

It's hoped the exhibition will be one of the biggest events in the UK to mark the anniversary on August 4.

The arts organisation Navrang has curated the exhibit, with the support of Leicester City Council.

Visitors will be able to hear first-hand stories through interactive displays linked to everyday objects.

Each item will symbolise a part of the journey thousands of people made in search of a new life.

Nisha Popat from Navrang’s says the organisation has received tremendous support.

She says:

'We’re so grateful to the Ugandan community here in Leicester and across the UK for sharing their stories and items with us'.

'The response we’ve had has been overwhelming. Over the last six months, as well as collecting stories and items, we’ve also managed to reunite long lost friends and family - it’s been amazing'.

The exhibition is being held at the Leicester Museum and Art Gallery for the first time.

The Uganda 50 exhibition Credit: Leicester City Council

Leicester City Mayor Sir Peter Soulsby said he is pleased the museum recognises the struggles people faced.

He says:

'It has been 50 years since thousands of Ugandan Asians came to the UK seeking a new life after being expelled by Idi Amin, and this exhibition really helps bring alive their stories to a new generation of people'.

'The compelling first-hand stories of the upheaval of travelling halfway across the world with just a suitcase of belongings, along with personal items that people brought with them, really bring home the disruption and suffering of people forced to start life all over again'.

'Sadly, many of these themes are just as relevant now as they were half a century ago'.

Who was Idi Amin ?

Ugandan President Idi Amin in 1972 Credit: PA Images

Why did people flee Uganda 50 years ago?

On August 4th, 1972, President Idi Amin of Uganda announced all Ugandan Asians must leave the country within 90 days.

There were more than 60,000 Ugandan Asians forced out.

Around 27,000 people with British passports came to the UK, and 10,000 settled in Leicester. Others settled in Canada, India, or neighbouring countries in Africa.

Ugandan Asians were placed in the country by the British administration between 1894 and 1962 to link nations.

In 1972, Ugandan president Idi Amin accused Britain of sabotaging the country's economy and causing corruption, which triggered the expulsion of thousands of people.