The wheel has turned full circle for prominent Indian-origin businessman Jaffer Kapasi, who was expelled by dictator Idi Amin from Uganda in 1972, moved to Britain, and has now been appointed by the African country as its honorary consul-general here.
Leicester-based Kapasi, 65, has been tasked with building social, cultural, educational and trade links between Uganda and Britain. The formalities of his appointment were completed at the Uganda High Commission in the UK.
Kapasi, who said he and his family started a new life in Britain after being expelled from Uganda, recalled his India links and background: “My father was born in 1917 in a village called Jinjuda, Kathiawar, Gujarat; my mother in Mumbai 1928”.
Kapasi’s family was among thousands of Indian-origin people who were given short notice to leave Uganda by Amin. Many settled in Leicester and have since reinvigorated local economies; and the community is seen as one of the most successful and integrated here.
Kapasi said: “My father left India in 1930 to venture in to Uganda at the age of 13 as the family business was on the decline. He worked for my grandfather’s cousin brother’s business in Kampala to acquire business and local language skills and soon set up his own business in hardware and building materials”.
“We were expelled by dictator Idi Amin in 1972 and had to start a new life all over again. We have maintained links with India as majority of our family members have moved to Mumbai from Gujarat. Our cousins own ship breaking business in Mumbai and Bhavnagar, and steel making in Jamnagar”.
Awarded a royal honour (OBE) for services to business in Leicestershire, Kapasi said he was thrilled to be given the opportunity to represent Uganda, which has moved on since the Amin era, and is now actively seeking foreign investment.
Joyce Kikafunda, Uganda high commissioner to the UK, said: “Mr Kapasi is the right man for the job. He is a hardworking individual and his contributions to both Uganda and to the UK have been remarkable. He brings with him a wealth of knowledge, vast experience and connections.”