Exclusive Photos of Mawlana Hazar Imam’s 1972 Visit to Kampala and Mbale Through the Lens of Amir Kanji

Mawlana Hazar Imam His Highness the Aga Khan Uganda 1972
Mawlana Hazar Imam His Highness the Aga Khan arrives in a Citroen at Kampala’s Darkhana Jamatkhana for a mulaqat with the jamat during his visit with Begum Salimah to Uganda between February 20-27, 1972. Photo: © Amir Kanji. Id# ARK001

By AMIRALI RAJABALI KANJI
Edmonton, Alberta

Barakah was launched in 2017 to celebrate Mawlana Hazar Imam, His Highness the Aga Khan’s Diamond Jubilee. Ismailis across the globe celebrated the historic Diamond Jubilee year with tremendous enthusiasm and excitement. It was decided to continue with the Barakah project beyond the Jubilee Year, and Barakah now has over 260 posts related to Mawlana Hazar Imam, the Noorani family and the Ismaili Imamat. Many of these posts are photo collections that were submitted for publication in the blog so that they might be shared with readers around the world. I applaud families and individuals for their contributions (see exclusive photo collections). I would like to sincerely thank Malik Merchant of Barakah for this wonderful work to preserve our history for future generations. 

I am pleased to share these photographs that were taken by me in Kampala and Mbale during Mawlana Hazar Imam and Begum Salimah’s visit to Uganda between February 20-27, 1972. Each photo in this post has a unique Id#. Corrections to photo captions or additional information about the photos, such as names of individuals not listed in the photos, may be submitted via the feedback form or by writing to Malik at Simerg@aol.com.

Kampala Ismaili Jamatkhana illumination with the crest fo the Ismaili Imamat.
The crest of the Ismaili Imamat stands out majestically in this illumination of the Kampala Darkhana Jamatkhana during Mawlana Hazar Imam His Highness the Aga Khan and Begum Salimah’s visit to Uganda between February 20-27, 1972. Photo: © Amir Kanji. Id# ARK002
Aga Khan Mawlana Hazar Imam in Uganda 1972 Kampala Jamatkhana
Mawlana Hazar Imam His Highness the Aga Khan is accompanied by Mr. Sadrudin Mangalji, President of the Aga Khan Ismaili Council for Kampala, as he arrives at the Kampala Darkhana Jamatkhana during his and Begum Salima’s visit to Uganda between February 20-27, 1972. Photo: © Amir Kanji. Id# ARK003
Aga Khan Mawlana Hazar Imam in Uganda 1972
Faces and eyes of Ismaili girl guide brownies light up as Mawlana Hazar Imam His Highness the Aga Khan walks by them at the Kampala Darkhana Jamatkhana during his visit with Begum Salimah to Uganda between February 20-27, 1972. He is accompanied by Mukhi Sadrudin Lakhani at left and Kamadia Shamas Alibhai. Photo: © Amir Kanji. Id# ARK004
Aga Khan in Uganda 1972
Mawlana Hazar Imam His Highness the Aga Khan acknowledges the presence of his Ismaili followers near the steps of the Kampala Darkhana Jamatkhana during his visit with Begum Salimah to Uganda between February 20-27, 1972. Photo: © Amir Kanji. Id# ARK005
Begum Salimah Aga Khan Uganda visit 1972
A captivating photograph of Begum Salimah taken at Mbale during her visit with Mawlana Hazar Imam His Highness the Aga Khan to Uganda between February 20-27, 1972. Photo: © Amir Kanji. Id# ARK006
Aga Khan Mawlana Hazar Imam Uganda 1972
Mawlana Hazar Imam His Highness the Aga Khan acknowledges the presence of a large group of Ismailis at the grounds of the Kampala Darkhana Jamatkhana during his visit with Begum Salimah to Uganda between February 20-27, 1972. Walking with Mawlana Hazar Imam are, at left, Mukhi Sadrudin Lakhani, and Kamadia Shamas Alibhai. Photo: © Amir Kanji. Id# ARK007
Aga Khan's Mercedes Benz bearing the number plate 786 with his crest and flag, Uganda 1972
The beautiful white Mercedes Benz bearing the crest and a flag of the Ismaili Imamat that was used to drive Mawlana Hazar Imam His Highness the Aga Khan and Begum Salimah while they were in Kampala during their visit to Uganda between February 20-27, 1972. The car registration plate carries the number 786 which signifies the Basmallah or the phrase “In the name of God, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful” among Muslims from Pakistan and India. Photo: © Amir Kanji. Id# ARK008

Date posted: March 3, 2021.

________________

Amir Kanji

Born, raised and having completed his early primary education in Otuboi, Teso, Uganda, and secondary school education in Soroti and Mbale, Amir Kanji proceeded to Kyambogo University where he graduated in Electrical/Mechanical Engineering. He then held numerous positions in the public and private sectors including the Government of Uganda (Ministry of Works), Waligo Consulting Engineers, Kampala, and opened his own business Rosebury  Electrical Services, which specialized in contracting and maintenance. He also worked on projects involving the administrations of schools and hospitals, the IPS building, the Organization of African Unity Conference Centre, and the Uganda Commercial Bank, among others.

Amir migrated to Canada after the expulsion of Asians from Uganda during the fall of 1972. He first settled in Winnipeg, Manitoba, where he held the position of Hon. Secretary of the first Ismaili Administrative Committee. He then moved to Edmonton and Toronto before returning to Edmonton. He has been an enthusiastic member of the Ismaili community for decades, and has served in different positions within its institutional structure. It may be noted that Amir was one of the first to recite the Arabic Du’a when it was first introduced in his town during the late 1950’s. His interest in photography began at a young age when his parents gifted him a Kodak Camera Box. Amir is now retired and lives in Edmonton.

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Barakah welcomes your feedback. Please complete the LEAVE A REPLY form below or send your comment to simerg@aol.com. Your letter may be edited for length and brevity, and is subject to moderation.

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Barakah, is a special project by Simerg  and is dedicated to the textual and visual celebration of His Highness the Aga Khan, members of his family and the Ismaili Imamat. Before departing this website please take a moment to visit Barakah’s Table of Contents.

7 comments

  1. What a beautiful memory of 1972, nearly 49 years ago. This is such a long time back. I will share the photos with my family. Thank you Amir Bha.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you Amir for such wonderful memories. I liked the decorations in the Jamatkhana compoun with the “my flags” and the lights decorations. SHUKR. I didd see the elegant Kampala Darkhana Jamatkhana during Mawlana Hazar Imam’s Golden Jubilee Visit to East Africa. Mumbaraki.

    Aziz Juma
    Ajax

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I remember that from our school days, Amir was involved in many Jamati activities in Mbale. He was a serious student and was always available to help others with school homework.

    Thank you Amir for sharing the memories.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Such a proud moment and celebration of amazing memories. My uncle, Amir Mama (Amir Kanji), along with our other uncles and aunts, have always valued education and the teachings from our faith. As children and now as adults, we have always received this guidance and sound advice from them. We are truly lucky and proud of the inspirational article with beautiful memories of our spiritual Mother and Father.

      Liked by 1 person

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