Leicester has shown the way
Two great friends of the Leicester Mercury attended a reception at our offices yesterday. One was Jaffer Kapasi, who came to Leicester after Idi Amin forced the Asian community to leave Uganda in 1972. Since those grim times, he has become a successful Leicester businessman, as well as contributing to the city in many voluntary roles.
In 1997, he was awarded an OBE. He has also served as Deputy Lieutenant of Leicestershire.
Jaffer has had a long association with the Mercury and recently helped us to put together a series of features marking the 40th anniversary of the arrival of the Ugandan Asian community in Leicester.
The other was Kiyotaka Sato, Professor of European History at Meiji University in Tokyo.
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Professor Sato is almost certainly the Leicester Mercury's only subscriber in Tokyo.
He too has a long association with this newspaper and with Leicester in general, and has been producing a fascinating series of books which record and preserve the memories, life experiences and traditions of the UK's ethnic minority communities.
His latest book records Jaffer's life story and yesterday's reception was held to formally present Jaffer with this remarkable account of a remarkable life.
One of the many interesting aspects of this book is the reproduction of articles from 1972 which tell of the opposition that existed at the time to the Ugandan Asians settling in Leicester.
Many families did come here nevertheless, in many cases arriving with virtually nothing.
What followed is an incredible tale of triumph over adversity.
This community, through sheer hard work and determination, built a new future for themselves. Many established thriving businesses, as well as enriching the city culturally.
Attitudes to this new community radically altered in the years which followed their arrival and Leicester became a shining example of a multicultural city where people from different ethnic backgrounds live and work alongside one another in harmony.
That success story is something which has become a focus of interest to people across the world, including Professor Sato.
It is a tremendous accolade for Leicester that it has earned an international reputation for its achievements in this direction, and that others now want to learn from what has happened here. That is a tribute to many individuals, such as Jaffer, who have worked tirelessly to promote a peaceful and productive co-existence, and also to the people of Leicester in general.