From Citizen to Refugee

by Mahmood Mamdani 

Mahmood Mamdani narrates the experience of Ugandan Asians who were expelled from Uganda and relocated to Briitain following Idi Amin’s waging of an ‘economic war’ in 1972. He writes about the explusion from the initial announcements of Idi Amin on the radio to resettling in camps in London all  in less than 200 pages.  I particularly liked how open and honest he was about the events that happened. He told them in a rather objective manner despite being the victim of Amin’s racist policies. I found some of his descriptions rather insightful of not only that period of time but also society more broadly such as when he was writing about a dispute between the refugees and the resettlement board: ‘’But the generosity of the board had been of a particular kind, the sort of generosity that makes the giver feel good, while keeping the receiver dependent on further charity.’’ Although, I would have preferred if he went into more detail about the history of Asian Ugandans in Uganda. Nonetheless, overall it was a clear, concise and well-written  read and I’d recommend to anyone curious about 20th century African history.   

Amwene Etiang


Rating: 3 Worth Reading