Books Page

Uganda - Pearl of Africa



NEW BOOKS about Uganda

You have been allocated Uganda  Author: Alan Forward

Unique historical account of Uganda's recent history. A Colonial Office telegram in 1954 is the starting point of Alan Forward's career in the British Colonial Service as a young District Officer who became Private Secretary to the last Governor of Uganda, Sir Walter Coutts. Alan Forward's book contributes to the balanced historical assessment now being made of Great Britain's Imperial involvement – led first by explorers, then by missionaries, traders and administrators. You can find details at

Books written about Uganda> With the backdrop of Idi Amin’s rule and the expulsion of Asians from Uganda’s society, the fortunes of a refugee family are traced. They travel to England and later to Mecca, delving into the mysteries of the Hajj. The author published his true life stories in the Kenyan Sunday Nation for twenty years..  Books written about Uganda Uganda: Adjustment with growth Robert L. Sharer, Hema R.Be Zoysa, and Calvin. A McDonald Washington, D.C. : International Monetary Fund, 1995 - 45s 0251-6365 - includes a number of reviews, in particular one from the Uganda Journal.

The Man-Eaters of Tsavo : The Incredible True Story That Inspired the Motion Picture 'the Ghost and the Darkness by J. H. Patterson, Mass Market Paperback Reprint edition (November 1996)Pocket Books; ISBN: 0671003062

The Year of the Gorilla by George B. Schaller, Paperback - 260 pages Reissue edition (June 1997)Univ of Chicago Pr (Trd); ISBN: 0226736482

Developing Uganda (Eastern African Studies) by Holger Bernt Hansen (Editor), Michael Twaddle (Editor), Paperback (July 1998)Ohio Univ Pr (Txt); ISBN: 0821412094

East Africa Handbook 1999 With Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Ethiopia (Serial) by Michael Hodd, Hardcover 5th edition (November 1998) Passport Books; ISBN: 0844249785

Idi Amin Speaks : An Annotated Selection of His Speeches by Idi Amin, Benoni Turyahikayo-Rugyema, Hardcover (October 1998)Univ of Wisconsin Madison; ISBN: 0942615387

Immigrants Settling in the City : Ugandan Asians in Leicester by Valerie Marett, Hardcover (March 1989)Pinter Pub Ltd; ISBN: 0718512839

Kakungulu & the Creation of Uganda 1868-1928 (Eastern African Studies) by Michael Twaddle, Paperback (November 1993)Swallow Pr; ISBN: 0821410598

Imperialism and Fascism in Uganda by Mahmood Mamdani, Paperback (June 1984)Red Sea Press, Inc.; ISBN: 0865430292

Museveni's Long March : From Frelimo to the National Resistance Movement by Godfrey Ondoga Ori Amaza, Ondoga Ori Amaza, Hardcover (July 1998)Pluto Pr; ISBN: 0745311342

Uganda : An Historical Accident, Class, Nation, State Formation by Ramkrishna Mukherjee, Paperback Reprint edition (October 1985) Red Sea Press, Inc.; ISBN: 0865430160

Uganda : The Bradt Travel Guide by Philip Guide to Uganda Briggs, Hardcover 3rd edition (November 1998) Bradt Pubns; ISBN: 1898323798

King Leopold's Ghost by Adam Hochschild

A State Of Blood, Amin, by Henry Kyemba, 1977, Ace Books (A Divison of Grosset & Dunlap). Mr. Kyemba was an insider within the Amin administration until he fled Uganda to avoid certain death. From exile in London he wrote this chilling account of the brutality of Idi Amin.

Social Studies Atlas for Uganda, 1988, MacMillan Publishers Ltd, London. A fifty-seven page paper back study guide for classroom use. ISBN 0-333-43425-0.

Sowing The Mustard Seed, The struggle for Freedom and Democracy in Uganda, by Yoweri Museveni, 1997, MacMillan Publishers (London) ISBN 0-333-64234-1. This is the story of the struggle within the nation of Uganda from the time of Independence until the present time. The author was at the core of this struggle and is now the duly elected President of Uganda.

Uganda, The Pearl of Africa by Paul Joynson-Hicks, a highly rated source of information and photographs of Uganda. Cimino Publishing Group, ISBN 1-8709-4893-9. 

Uganda Rwenzori by David Pluth, A two-hundred and twenty-two page photo tour (with some text) of the magnificent Rwenzori Mountains (Mountains of the Moon) of western Uganda. ISBN 3-906745-00-7. 

Uganda, Wellspring of Africa A two-hundred and fifty page photo tour (with some text) of Uganda. ISBN 84-7232-574-1.

Wizard of the Great Lake, The Story of Alexander McKay This is a short little book that chronicles the story of Alexander McKay, the first missionary to Uganda. He was not a pastor but an engineer and took many of his tools with him to Uganda. He got the title "Wizard of the Great Lake" because of all the things he was able to build. McKay was a Presbyterian but went under the missionary society of the Church of England.

Uganda Since Independence by Phares Mutibwa and Uganda: Landmarks in Rebuilding a Nation, with various authors, are both useful but dry accounts of the country's recent history.

Uganda: From the Pages of Drum is an interesting compilation of articles which appeared in the now defunct Drum magazine. These chronicle the rise of Idi Amin and the atrocities he committed, and current president Museveni's bush war and rise to power.

Ian Clarke's The Man With the Key Has Gone! is a recent account of the time spent in the Luwero Triangle district (due north of Kampala) by a British doctor and his family.

Thomas P. Ofcansky Uganda: Tarnished Pearl of Africa In this broad survey, Thomas P. Ofcansky examines the political, economic, and social themes that have shaped Ugandan history. He inspects the impact of British colonial rule, investigates the emergence of the independence movement after World War II, and analyzes the factors that contributed to the collapse and decay of Ugandan society after Idi Amin's seizure of power in 1971. The author then explores the successes, failures, and prospects of Uganda's current government. In his conclusion, Ofcansky examines the difficulties facing a nation divided by ethnic, religious, and regional cleavages and argues that Ugandan leaders must work to establish a society in which all Ugandans benefit or face the prospect of a return to anarchy. ISBN: 0813310598 Copyright: 1995

Valerie Marett Immigrants Settling in the City: Ugandan Asians in Leicester ISBN: 0718512839 Copyright: 1992


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Other Uganda publications

The Shortchanged:Uganda Citizenship Laws and How They Were Applied to Its Asian Minority" International Lawyer, Vol.9, No.1, January, 1975 

African Politics: The Corruption of Power, University Press of America, Washington, D.C. 1981 - this is a 450+ page book and contains lot of material on the treatment of Asians in Africa.

3 volumes of 'We came in dhows' by Cynthia Salvadori

Fong and the Indians by Paul Theroux is set in a fictional East African country which bears a remarkable likeness to Uganda. It's set in pre-civil war days and is at times both funny and bizarre, detailing the life of a Chinese immigrant and his dealings with the Asians who control commerce in the country.

Rozina Visram has updated her original title called 'Ayahs, lascars and princes : history of Asians in Britain' to produce the new and enlarged edition titled 'Asians in Britain: 400 years history' which will be published- Inshallah- spring 2001

Expulsion of a Minority: Essays on Ugandan Asians Michael Twaddle Published by the Athlone Press. Institute of Commonwealth Studies Commonwealth Papers 18 1975 ISBN 0 485 17618 1 240 pp. paperback Ł27.50

Bristow, M. et al. (1975) 'Ugandan Asians in Britain, Canada and India: some characteristics and resources', New Community, 4 (2), 155-166

Morris, H. S. (1968) Indians in Uganda. A study of caste and sect in a plural society, London: Weidenfeld & Nicholson


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Books containing references to Uganda/Asians And She The Ghost By Andrew Soko 89 Willoughby Lane, Tottenham, LONDON N17 0RT. England.


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Books by Ugandan Asians

Jameela Siddiqi. The Feast of the Nine Virgins. London. Bogle-L'Ouverture. 2001. xii + 335 pages. L 10.95. ISBN 0904521249.

Jameela Siddiqi was a student at Makerere University in 1972 when her Uganda citizenship was taken away and she was one of the Asians expelled by Idi Amin. She has worked in England as a television documentary producer and broadcaster; received a Sony Gold Award for her BBC series Songs of the Sufi Mystics; written about music, including Bob Dylan; translated Urdu Hindi poetry; produced CDs. Her first novel is primarily about the expulsion of Asians from an East African country called Pearl-Churchill called Uganda the Pearl of Africa-which "was never home, but was the homeland." The leader of the country after a coup is a Muslim who announces the expulsion of Asians because of a dream. The story is juxtaposed with the making of a movie in England financed by a rich man who was a shopkeeper in Pearl whose only condition is that the movie star a certain Bollywood actress. The producer/director, an Englishwoman who knows Urdu, has a script about a Lucknow courtesan, Tameezan, who was obsessed with the musician the Grand Ustad ("He Who Lights up the Universe"). Asians in Pearl offer a lesson to India about multi-religious, multi-ethnic harmony. But there is a hitch: "this kind of give-and-take among the settlers from India, was only possible out of a sense of having a common enemy - the Black Man." Yet people cross barriers, as music does: "Everything and everyone made music. Every moment of time was filled with the magical sounds of being. Every living creature sang in unison, exalting the glory of creation. The crickets sang special songs to welcome the rainy season. The mosquitoes composed symphonies to celebrate the warm, clammy nights. The snakes rattled in syncopated glee, the geckos tapped their tongues in time to the buzzing, on-off dance of the fire-flies. And Nature's Light and Sound Show was aptly complemented by man-made sounds." The novel, too, is full of music, and when the right ghazal is composed, the movie begins to fall into place. But in the last thirty pages, stars and time planes collide, leading to a Bollywood ("Dream Machine") ending. We have been reading a script by Ash who took material from the computer of Sonia. The characters are doublings, "twins" of the "real" ones. The script-writer is the "chautara" (half breed), son of the actress, Mohanji's daughter-in-law, who had thrown him into a bush. He is a phoenix who arises through the script. He makes his mother and grandfather confront each other. Sonia's platonic but controlling relationship to him becomes that of the Producer to a Personal Assistant who is a bisexual in a loveless marriage while Ash's stepfather gives unconditional love to his mother. People pursue love in various forms: the Groupie wants to sleep with the gods and the Composer with the Muse (he is obsessed with the Producer, who married him for three days). The largest love is beyond the script. The person who cleaned the lavatory was drawn to Mohanji's daughter, the seamstress called the Widow, and had vowed (dreamed) that he would free her. He became the leader of Pearl and announced the Expulsion, thus keeping his promise. Her songs and rhythms had unconsciously laid the foundations in the Composer, then a boy brought up as a girl, whose mother, a teacher, did not know that her mother in England was the daughter of Tameezan. The Widow, now Zarine, is a qualified dream teacher. "Once they learn to dream properly," she says, "they learn there is no dividing line between dreams and reality." Jameela Siddiqi brings light to the Age of Kalyug (darkness and treachery) by providing clues that glow when re-read. We understand through various art forms the life and values of a shopkeeper, shopkeeper's wife, seamstress, courtesan, teacher, guru, religious leader, student, musician, composer, producer's assistant, script-writer, groupie, Dictator... The Feast of the Nine Virgins is a brilliant novel that frees the feminine to orchestrate a new recital.

Review by Peter Nazareth

University of Iowa

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Books on Africa

"Kijabe: An African Historical Saga," a novel by Pally Dhillon, published by PREP Publishing, Fayetteville, North Carolina, 2000. 320 pages. This novel, part murder mystery, part love story and part politicalthriller, deals with Indian imigration to East Africa during the early part of the 20th century and the treacherous world of Africa's politics under British colonial rule. The author, a computer consultant who was born in Kenya but who now lives in Los Angeles, chronicles the story of a young immigrant from India who goes to Africa to help build the railroad and stays on to become one of Africa's most admired political leaders. The story resonates with events in the author's own life: His grandfather emigrated from Punjab to work on the railroads the British were building in East Africa. Led by curiosity, the author says, he embarked on a research on Indian immigration to East Africa.



mperial Boundary Making: <> The Diary of Captain Kelly and the Sudan–Uganda Boundary Commission of 1913   edited by G H Blake No. 4  0-19-726154-X Published 1997       

The Upper Nile Province Handbook: <> A Report on Peoples and Government in the Southern Sudan, 1931   compiled by C A Willis, edited by Douglas H Johnson  No. 3      0-19-726146-9   Published 1995

The History of the Mazru‘i Dynasty of Mombasa <>   by Shaykh Al-Amin bin Ali Al Mazrui, translated and annotated by J McL Ritchie series Arabica XI   0-19-726158-2        Published 1995

The Africa News Cookbook : African Cooking for Western Kitchens by Tami Hultman, A one-hundred and twenty-five page paperback with over one-hundred traditional African recipes adapted for the modern kitchen. ISBN 0-140467-51-3.

 'Through Open Doors' by Cynthia Salvadori - a view of Asian cultures in Kenya,

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COOLITUDE – An Anthology of the Indian Labour Diaspora by Marina Carter and Khal Torabully

Editorial Reviews
About the Author
Parita Mukta is a lecturer at the Department of Sociology at the University of Warwick. She has written extensively on the social history of western India.

Book Description
These are the stories of the people in Parita Mukta’s family, a family which has traversed the continents bearing with it an array of memories and stories, both magical and mythological. The book follows the move of the author’s grandparents in the early 1920s from the princely region of Kathiawar in western India (now Gujurat) to the Kenyan colony and spans a period of over eighty years. It tells the history of the children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of these migrants as they built their lives first in East Africa and then from the 1970s onwards in the cities of London, Ahemdabad, Miami and Toronto. It describes the jostling of a peasant world-view with that of an unbridled financial system. This is not a chronological tale of migration, it is a book set in a universe where magical tales are as tangible as the everyday material world, life-stories becoming entangled with fairy tales and fairy tales informing lives. In stunning lyrical prose Mukta sheds light on the way memories shape the journeys and aspirations of those who have lived in close proximity.


The book titled "Allidina Visram, The Trail Blazer" by Mombasa author M. G. Visram which was out of print for a few years is back in bookstores
in Mombasa. Attached is the full story from Coastweek, April 16 - 22, 2004.


Some ten years ago we were treated to a very captivating and absorbing dramatization of Allidina Visram's life and his times in a
book titled Allidina Visram, The Trail Blazer. Its author, M. G. Visram (No relation to the old man) has again put in market reprint of this title.

Mombasa is no stranger to the name Allidina Visram. There is a popular school built by his only son in memory of the mega trader who died in 1916. Allidina's office stands as it was a hundred years ago, just in front of the entrance to the old port. All told this merchant cum banker came to Africa at the end of the Nineteenth century as a penniless child.

He died with wealth that was anyone's guess, including probably the owner himself.  He had more than 50 branches and trading posts spreading from Zanzibar to as far away as Nimuli and Juba in forlorn corners of Uganda. Elspeth Huxley, in commenting about this book says "...Brings to life a
remarkable character." The late Edward 'Roddy' Rodwell commented that the book is 'Studded with history and anecdotes.'

Incidentally M. G. Visram. has also written two other books, Red Soils of Tsavo (now in its seventh print) and Beyond the Baobab Tree.

some more resources


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Murchison falls




 Expatriates page - expatriates displaced in 1972 exodus..

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