Exhibition showcases Ugandan Asian refugee experience fifty years on - UG Standard - Latest News
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Exhibition showcases Ugandan Asian refugee experience fifty years on

Ugandan exhibition at Greenham Control Tower

Ugandan exhibition at Greenham Control Tower

An exhibition event marking 50 years since the 1972 Ugandan Asian expulsion “went amazingly well”.

The official opening of the festival, acknowledging the 50th anniversary of the arrival of Ugandan refugees into the UK, was held at the Greenham Control Tower on Saturday (July 9).

Those who experienced the atrocity first-hand gave their accounts, from letters written to published books.

Stories were shared from Ugandan Asians themselves to those involved in the working of the camps, from nurses to young people who volunteered to entertain and play with the refugee children.

Under President Idi Amin’s reign, Ugandan Asians were ordered to leave the country with one suitcase and no more than £50.

Displays were created in a variety of different forms from newspaper cuttings detailing the historical event to photos taken in Uganda.

Former Greenham Parish Councillor Pragna Hay organised the event, as a part of a wider project

Former Greenham Parish Councillor Pragna Hay organised the event, as a part of a wider project

Items were on show like the suitcases used when around 80,000 Asians began their sudden journeys.

A mural illustrating the journey, with its many hurdles and tribulations, was produced by the Greenham Knitters and displayed as a visual depiction for attendees.

Organiser Pragna Hay, who was only a child when she and her family left their home in Uganda behind for a new life in West Berkshire, said the event was “overwhelmingly positive”.

She added: “It had the impact that I was looking for. What I wanted to achieve was for people to read the information and try to understand the emotions.

Guests attending the exhibition official opening

Guests attending the exhibition official opening

“The feedback has been positive. I have had lots of emails and messages about how much people enjoyed it.

“It has all been quite humbling, in a positive way.”

She added: “The project does not end here for us.

“We are always looking for stories, if anybody wants to share their story with us.

“I have collected letters that people have written, and they really enjoyed it. They found it really healing to write a letter.”

A husband of one of the twelve Greenham Knitters who put the mural together said: “It captured really well the tragic experience that the Asian community experienced when forced out of Uganda, but also the lives that many [Ugandan’s] have made since then from such difficult circumstances.”

Mayor of Newbury with Harshad Modha, whose father was refugee, and Peter Evans

Mayor of Newbury with Harshad Modha, whose father was refugee, and Peter Evans

The next event, a dinner and dance, will be held at the Newbury Rugby Club on September 24.

Talks will be given from a variety of speakers including columnist Yasmin Alibhai- Brown, Jaffer Japassi and author Bharti Dhir.

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