Migration and new beginnings, multiple languages, histories and identities are not exceptional in human lives but are in fact a defining feature of world societies and I believe, the Khojas are no exception.

Recently the ROYAL GEOGRAPHICAL SOCIETY-LONDON  had organized an Exhibition Pavilion themed “Making Home” Exiles -The Ugandan Asians the story caught my fancy. 

The exhibition explores the history and life of Ugandan Asians, a journey of more than 100 years characterized by migration, displacement and new beginnings in the U.K.

This should come as no surprise as the Khojas are also part of that Diasporas and have always been in the forefront of community building from the beginning.

The amount of Archives that was exhibited was immense and I must admit I left with a strong feeling that we must also need such archives in our community.

Our community has been in existence in EASTERN AFRICA, MADAGASCAR AND MOZAMIBUE for nearly 150 years and in the Western world for nearly 40 years sadly much of our history is either lost or waiting to be told!

But we should not lose hope, as upon my appointment as Archives Sectional Head I visited the Archives section of AFRICA FEDERATION. It is full of treasure and that is what we require foremost.

Insha’allah from these available treasures, and those which we shall collect from our community members and Jamaats, we will move forward to organize and catalog our past history and send regular mail shots of the yesteryears to inspire the future generations on how the community fared then!

We have had “Heroes in our community” who have made so much contribution in our community and we need to learn from their dedication and benevolence.

I appeal to the community members to send us information; historical photos and oral history that they can extract from our elders who now live far and wide.

It is very rare that one will take time to write our history. It is easy to forget something that happened a few months ago, and it’s also normal to forget certain date if we don’t write to create our own history.

Needless to emphasize, the Jamaats all over the world must take time to document the history they have made for future references. In this way, history will have been written by the very people who made it!

Perhaps we can designate a “HISTORY DAY” at Jamaat level every year to remember our past. Only when we know our history can we build upon its strengths and learn to foster community spirit. It is important because they are the reason we are where we are and without them we would lose a critical element of our identity, religious and social cohesion.

The best way to preserve this history is to send it to our Archives Section of the Africa Federation for preservation and which would be a treasure for many years to come.

I am thankful to Chairman Alhaj Anwarali Dharamsi to have appointed me recently to the post of Archives Section.

Insha’allah, I will try my best to fulfill my duties in the earnest.


Yours sincerely,
Husseinali Datoo
You can send all communication to:

The Africa Federation Archives Section
Tel: +255 22 2700841 / Mob: +255 786 468 786 
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania

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