Siri Guru Singh Sabha, Mombasa

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Mombasa is the second-largest city in Kenya, with a population of about 1.2 million. A regional cultural and economic hub, Mombasa has a large port and an international airport, and is an important regional tourism centre. Located on the east coast of Kenya, in Mombasa County and the former Coast Province, Mombasa's bordering the Indian Ocean made it a historical trading centre, and it has been controlled by many countries because of its strategic location.

The earliest Sikh emigration to East Africa began between the years 1895-1902, when they were taken from India as labourers to lay connections for the Ugandan Railways starting at Mombasa. Called the ‘Lunatic Line’, the British had recruited several thousands of Indians -- with many Sikhs serving as managers and foremen -- to lay a 576 kilometre treacherous track from North-west Mombasa which passed through a semi-desert region, to the highlands rising up to 10,000 ft on the equator and down to the bed of the Great Rift Valley, before reaching Victoria.

In" Through Open Doors", Cynthia Salvadori has given an extremely useful information. She explains on pp 282 that----"The oldest Sikh Association in Kenya is the Sri Guru Singh Sabha an organization founded in India in 1873 to revitalise the Khalsa movement. The Sikh organizers came out with the first indentured labourers in 1898 and, together with their fellows in the Police and Army, were responsible for the construction of the first Gurdwaras, not only in Mombasa and Nairobi, but also in several other towns.They were also responsible for the organization of the main Sikh educational system in Kenya,the Khalsa Schools". The first Sikh Gurdwara Sahibin Africa was opened in Kilindini (Mombasa) literally within a few weeks of the arrival of the first shipload of indentured labourers in 1898.

Sri Guru Singh Sabha (Mombasa) is now pin pointed to its exact location on the Gurdwara's Map application. Check it out here - Gurdwaras East Africa

See also