Editor’s note: This film first aired in August 2007.
In August 1972, Uganda’s president, Idi Amin, shocked the world by ordering all 80,000 Asian citizens out of his country. The dictator gave them just 90 days to get out at a time when many were under threat of rape, torture and even murder. People lost their homes, their businesses and their family fortunes in their rush to leave Uganda.
In Return to Uganda Farrah Esmail goes back to find her parents birth place in Uganda’s capital city, Kampala. She finds their old family home, tries to understand why the expulsion took place and what it has meant to Uganda. And then, she talks to the son of the man who expelled her parents, a man some say may even be president himself one day, Taban Amin.
Uganda’s present government says it now welcomes Asians back to the country because it needs them to help restore a healthy economy. Thousands have made the trek back and some have done extremely well. But Return to Uganda also finds that invitation does not sit well with all Ugandans and that a deep seeded racism against the Asians still exists in the country. It is a situation that has recently erupted into violence.
This summer marks the 35th anniversary of Idi Amin’s expulsion order, and Return to Uganda shows that Amin’s decision still haunts the country all these decades later.