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  • From Citizen to Refugee: Uganda Asians Come to Britiain

    EXPELLED FROM UGANDA by Idi Amin in 1972, Mahmood Mamdani arrived in a cold and overcast London to join his compatriots in a camp run by the UK government’s resettlement board. As he recounts: ‘On the face of it, life in the camp, with its surface calm and order, presented a sharp and favourable contrast to the open terror of living in Uganda. But it was the Kensington camp, and not Amin’s Uganda, which was my first experience of what it would be like to live in a totalitarian society.’
In one of his first books, republished here with contemporary images,  Mamdani begins to explore the theme of political identity – the colonial politicisation of racial identity and its reproduction after independence – which has been the concern of much of his subsequent work, notably the groundbreaking Citizen and Subject.

    With a new preface written especially for this edition, Mamadani also touches on his personal and intellectual journey since From Citizen to Refugee was first published.

    This gripping and highly readable story of the Asians’ last days in Uganda interweaves the stories of Mamdani’s friends and family with an examination of Uganda’s colonial history and the subsequent evolution of post-independence politics. The British colonial policy of divide and rule ensured that race coincided with class, effectively politicising the category of race.

    This vivid autobiographical account is as pertinent now as when the book was first published in 1973 in its telling of a story that will be familiar to refugees and those seeking asylum in Britain today.