Five special awards were presented at the 2022 Leicester Curry Awards to mark 50 years since the expulsion of Asian people from Uganda.
The city of Leicester became home to thousands of people who were forced to flee Uganda in 1972, with many successfully becoming integral parts of the local business scene in the city and crafting a legacy of their own.
The Leicester Curry Awards presented the chance to mark the anniversary of these events, and recognise and commemorate the achievements of those who made their way to Leicester.
The five recipients of Uganda 50: Legacy Awards at this year’s award ceremony were Sophie Kanabar, Sailesh Thakrar, Jaffer Kapasi OBE, The Late Pravinbhai Raichura and The Late Lord Sheikh.
The first three awards were presented by Rob Nixon, Temporary Chief Constable of Leicestershire Police. The latter two awards were presented by Air Commodore Joanne Lincoln from the Royal Air Force.
Sophie was 6 years old when her and her family were forced to flee Uganda. Settling in Leicester, Sophie made the city her home and is currently in the process of writing a memoir. This is a collection of diary entries about her Ugandan journey.
Sophie also spends time speaking to local schoolchildren about her experiences and educating the next generation about the events that shaped her own childhood.
Sailesh Thakrar came to Leicester from Uganda at the age of 6, before becoming a successful businessman in the city.
Thakrar ran several well-known businesses in Leicester’s Belgrave Gate area before his retirement. This includes H.K.S. Motors Ltd. and Brobot Petroleum Ltd.
Jaffer Kapasi OBE
Jaffer Kapasi OBE arrived in the UK in 1972 with just £55 in his pocket. From these beginnings, he worked to successfully establish his own accountancy practice in Leicester.
Kapasi has also served as a board level executive for a number of organisations. This includes being the Honorary Consul for Uganda, which sees Kapasi serve as an ambassador for Uganda in the UK. He is also a founding member, past president and current patron of the Leicestershire Asian Business Association (LABA).
In 1997, Kapasi was granted an OBE for his services to business.
The Late Pravinbhai Raichura
The Late Pravinbhai Raichura grew up in Uganda, and when the expulsion commenced he helped his family and friends flee to the UK.
Upon his own arrival in Leicester, Raichura worked for the Vina Flex shoe company. He started working as an accountant before proving to be such an asset to the company that he was promoted to senior manager. He became a prominent member of the Leicester business community.
Following his retirement, Raichura engaged himself in community work, volunteering with the NHS and many more charitable causes.
Pravinbhai Raichura passed away in 2010, with his award on the evening being collected by his wife, Nirmalaben Raichura.
The Late Lord Sheikh
The Lord Mohamed Sheikh was the first Conservative Muslim peer, as well as a being very successful businessman and politician.
He arrived in the UK in 1972 with his family in a situation he described as ‘penniless’ following the upheaval in Uganda.
The Lord Sheikh began his career in the UK working for Camberford Law, an insurance broking organisation. Sheikh ended up owning Camberford Law and turned it into a public company, which went on to provide risk facilities for 1,800 brokers.
He became a Conservative life peer in 2006, and worked to protect and promote financial services. He also acted as chairman of the Conservative Ethnic Diversity Council, and founded the Conservative Muslim Forum, later becoming its president.
Sheikh also carried out humanitarian work, founding the Sheikh Abdullah Foundation charity and acting as a patron for the Orphans in Need charity.
Additionally, The Lord Sheikh wrote two books during his lifetime. The first was on the Maharaja Ranjit Singh, and the second, An Indian in the House, focused on the first four Indians to be members of British Parliament.
The Lord Sheikh sadly passed away earlier this month, and his Uganda 50: Legacy Award was collected on the evening by Jaffer Kapasi OBE.