The history of the Sikhs in East Africa begins with the building of the railways in about 1890. The pioneers who were brought over from India to build the old Uganda Railways were skilled workmen - carpenters, blacksmiths and masons. They were quick to adept to the specialised requirements of their new surroundings and many became fitters, turners and boiler-makers.
These early Sikhs were soon joined by their educated brothers. Eventually, there was no department within the pioneering Railway industry without Sikhs. A number of policemen, ranging from inspectors to constables, were also sent from India to become the vital instrument of maintaining law and order. They remained in the country for several years.
Many, but not all, of the original Sikh pioneers returned to India to be replaced and augmented by others who came of their own choice. Their skills and industry were always in great demand. As Sikhs began to settle in their adopted country a sense of community was imbued by the building of Gurdwaras in all areas of the country where there was a significant number of Sikhs. .....More