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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.

  • Hand On The Sun

    This was Tariq Mehmood’s first novel, published by Penguin Books in 1983, charting the experience of the second generation migrants to the UK. Set in the declining textile industry of the North of England, it is a raw story of pain and anger at the relentlessness of British racism, from the street to the state – a story of an unquenchable desire for justice, and reclaiming human dignity. A dignity that is wrapped around new questions of Identity, a crossroad between religion, language, history and resistance. It is a little big story, that talks to the extremities of social, political and literary issues today? Can stories of a generation be appropriated? How important is religion in identity? If all you have is a story to tell, who should you tell it? Are the issues of today, just the issues of today or can we learn something from the past? In these stories, friendship is not defined by religion or colour, but by humanity. And racism is much more than skin deep.

    An exhilarating read that bears witness to the urgent 80’s battles against state and popular racism. As important now as then.— Peter Kalu, novelist

    The new edition has an introductory essay by Tariq Mehmood.