On the 1st September, Arundells hosted a very special event 

The Uganda Asians Crisis 50 Years On:

From Controversy to Success

An amazing line up of speakers gathered in the marquee to examine the mass expulsion of Uganda’s Asian community, their experiences in Britain, the political battle for acceptance and the lessons learned for policy today.

The event would not have been possible without the kind sponsorship of Volcaoes Safaris. Not only were guests treated to an insightful evening with fabulous speakers, they were also treated to delicious canapes and drinks as well as being able to explore Arundells after hours.

Our big hitting panel consisted of:

Her Excellency Nimisha Madhvani
High Commissioner, Republic of Uganda

Rt Hon Lord (David) Hunt
Former Cabinet Minister

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown
Writer and broadcaster

Giles Foden
Author and novelist

Cllr Ravi Govindia
Leader, Wandsworth Council 2010-2022

Chair: Praveen Moman
Founder of Volcanoes Safaris and former Government Special Adviser

Left to Right: Lord Hunt, Her Excellency Nimisha Madhvani, Ravi Govindia, Praveen Moman, Giles Foden & Yasmin Alibhai-Brown

The History

In August 1972 Uganda’s President Idi Amin suddenly announced his intention to expel the Asian community from the country within 90 days. They were the beating heart of Uganda’s economy and around 30,000 of them were holders of British passports (albeit these didn’t guarantee a right of entry to Britain).  Whilst the British Government sought to reason with Amin and also to share the burden of refugees with other countries, the Government of Edward Heath accepted that Britain had a moral and humanitarian responsibility to care for the refugees.

The policy was initially supported by only 6% of the electorate and was politically courageous. The exhibition tells the story of the expulsion and how the Asians, stripped of their jobs, property and dignity came to Britain, and how the government and an army of volunteers made them welcome. It tells the story of the political struggle and how the refugees made a new life in a, sometimes, hostile climate. It is, however, a story with a moral – Britain’s compassion has been rewarded by the great contribution made to our national life by the Ugandan Asian community over the last 50 years.

A huge thank you to our sponsor and also our amazing panel, who bought to life a very important part of history. From a sad and awful event came some surprising and very successful outcomes, which have greatly enriched the landscape of British business and culture and which we must continue to celebrate.

If you would like to watch the panel discussion for yourself, you may do so below:

The exhibition ‘Exodus – the Ugandan Asians Crisis of 1972’ will run at Arundells from the 12th August – 1st November.
Please check our opening times and prices for more information.


Images by John Rose Photography