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An African Asian Affair

Vishva Samani, a descendent of British Asian Ugandans, returns to the country of her family and witnesses the rekindling of a relationship with the land her parents left behind almost 40 years on.

Set against the trauma that came with being expelled from Uganda in 1972 and the fierce resilience of the Asian community in re-establishing their lives and livelihoods in the UK, Vishva explores the motivations and the current challenges faced by those British Asians who have chosen to make Uganda their focus.

She meets the Madhvanis - one of the most successful and powerful British Asian Ugandan families doing business in the country. What were the lessons learnt in 1972? She contrasts how two generations of family feel about the country today.

Putting the expulsion in context, Vishva speaks to Ugandan businessman Andrew Rugasira - founder of the international brand Good African Coffee. After the Asian Ugandans were expelled, the country suffered, not least economically. Despite this, she asks whether General Idi Amin's objective, to clear a space for Africans to thrive in business was in any way successful.

In the course of her travels Vishva witnesses a strike at the Madhvani's sugar plantation and asks if this is a sign of an entrenched resentment that still exists between 'outsiders' and locals.

Now, a new generation of British Asians are choosing to make Uganda their home despite being raised in the UK. Vishva meets Leicester-born Ashish Thakkar. At just 30 years old he owns a multi-national company operating out of the capital Kampala, as well as Dubai. How has Ashish's British background informed how he does business? And as the African continent once again becomes a prime land for investment is there the potential for it all to go wrong once more?

Producer: Vivienne Perry
A Like It Is Production for BBC Radio 4.

Release date:

30 minutes

Last on

Mon 20 Feb 2012 11:00