White Man’s Burden

my father is the second from the left, the one with the moustache
my father is the second from the left, the one with the moustache

This  image of my father and other white men carrying Idi Amin in a sedan chair shocked the world.  I find frequent use of this image in all kinds of media relating to Idi Amin. The fact that later my father became one of Idi Amin’s victims does not seem to have been recognised. I found one blog discussing the prescence of Europeans in Africa and in particular, Bob Astles and the ‘Last King of Scotland’ :

‘ The character ( Nicholas Garrigan)  in the movie was a fictional account that  was inspired by 3 real life characters. Bob Asltes part was the one that looked up to Amin. I am not sure who the other two were.’
‘I am thinking its 2 of these guys carrying him .Amin’s Carriers
This is comical but it shows you to whatextent these British people will go to get what they want.’

The Village blog site is written by Grata who says she is:  ‘ An East African foreign student expanding my knowledge base in America while trying to make sense of this crazy world’.



  1. I am very interested in the search you are going on to look for what happened to your father. I was born in 1975. Like many Ugandans of my age, the only information we have about Idi Amin’s era has been passed down to us like folklore. Sometimes the stories are too bizzarre to be believed. There is hardly any written material, almost all available records were destroyed and it is hard to get a hold of real times and dates. Still, I am sure someone has some information on your father. Good luck with your hunt. I’ll definately come back for an update.
    this comment was posted by http://ugandaninsomniac.wordpress.com
    I deleted the comment by mistake

  2. I left the following comment for the author of the Village blog, gRata

    I would like you to consider whathamsterZA said regarding ‘how possible it was that there are white people living in Zimbabwe’:

    ‘only people who will lay down their lives for the land will stay’

    You say, Grata, that to know the answer one has to understand the effect Africa has on ‘especially white people’ and that this area needs ‘serious study’. I think that you really need to study this question seriously and not be flippant about your own narrow understanding.
    Also don’t you think that the following statement also applies: ‘A black person that lives in the West for a very long time is not your typical black person you see in Africa’?
    And have you ever considered that
    ‘The Zimbabwean whites that refuse to leave despite the life threatening situation’ may even be UNABLE to leave? as in my father’s example? or that the reason they are working alongside Mugabe is because they do not have any choice? How can you be so judgemental?
    Having spoken with Giles Foden about his interview with Bob Astles and the making of the film about the book he wrote: the ‘Last King of Scotland’ I am not sure that the general assumption in the media, that the character Garrigan was loosley based Bob Astles is true, have you any evidence of that? The ‘Last King of Scotland’ was a novel.
    Regarding your concerns about not being able to go shopping without being the subject of some kind of racist treatment, I would also like to draw your attention to the fact the ‘every where I go in ‘non white’ countries I get the same treatment. Constant cries of ‘Mazungu’ in Africa which I understand is a somewhat derogatory term?
    Also if I went into a shop and I looked different from the ‘norm’ in some way I too would be stared at and treated as you do. In order to avoid such treatment I dress and behave in such a way that I look ‘normal’ what ever that is, it is not just to do with colour.

    When I went to live and work in a Carribbean island I was also subjected to a good dose of racist harrassment.

  3. Dear Cherie

    Sorry, I lost your address> Also< I recently found Astles's. Send me an email.

    best, Giles

    • Hi Giles, I have sent you an e-mail and have not heard back from you. Perhaps you did not get it? Please do let me have information, or arrange for an interview with Bob Astles if possible.
      Regards from Cherie Scanlon

    • Hi Giles,
      Can you get in touch about this, I don’t know if you got my email?
      Thanks, Cherie

  4. Hi,
    I met your father once on a boat in lake victoria, you may have been one of his children on the boat when it broke down and we had to be towed by another boat

  5. Hi Cherie
    I have left a message in the rememberance book, Bob was my first cousin, and Uncle Bob (your Grandfather ) my Mums brother, we spent a lot of time with Auntie Ad, Melvina , Pauline and Bob when we were young. When your Dad disappeared and Gloria brought you children back to the UK, my husband Richard and I went to Kenya and met a priest who was close to yur father, but alas could not help with our enquiries at that time. I have never forgotton Bob.

  6. My father almost got killed in Amin’s regime. However, I lost a brother-in-law.

    The accounts in Uganda have to be documented and preserved for posterity…and, above all, to avoid making the tragic and awful mistakes of the past.

    I am proposing the following: join hands with a committed group of people, going to Uganda, meeting with the leadership, and establishing a permanent memorial wall or venue there (like they did in Germany)–letting people there and everywhere else in the world that humanity must never be subjected to the horrors of genocide. Then, the legacy of our loved ones will live forever, and their deaths will forever shine like a torch. This measure is absolutely necessary because a new wave of revisionism–calling Amin a hero for the downtrodden–is emerging….and the younger generations coming up just shrug him off.

    Let me know if you are willing to be a part of this group!

    • Hi,
      I don’t think that it would be easy to do as you suggest as there seems to be a desire to suppress the memories of the past. The perpetrators have been forgiven and some hold prominent positions in the current government. Many of the younger generations who did not experience the horror of Amin believe that he was a good man, that he claimed Uganda for Ugandans…..

  7. Hi Cherie, There are people inuganda who ? could be able to help..Contact me Yvonne ylf65@hotmail.com

    • Hi Yvonne,
      I am sorry that I have delayed in responding to your email suggesting that there may be people in Uganda that can help in my search (re murderedormissing about my father’s disappearance in Uganda in 1977 (Robert Scanlon).
      Help would be very welcome. Thank you.
      Kind regards from Chérie Scanlon

  8. Hi.I am from Uganda and have a group .Members in this group are ex Ugandan Asians who were thrown out of the country with a short notice.May I invite you please participate in our group?I am attaching a link for your use.Please do request to join our group and share your experiences with us.Many thanks and god bless.


Comments RSS TrackBack Identifier URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s