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1968 East African Asian Crisis. Scene at Nairobi Airport as large crowds wait to board

1968 East African Asian Crisis. Scene at Nairobi Airport as large crowds wait to board


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1968 East African Asian Crisis. Scene at Nairobi Airport as large crowds wait to board

1968 East African Asian Crisis. Scene at Nairobi Airport as large crowds wait to board flights to the U.K. before the UK Government introduce a new immigration bill preventing them from settling in the U.K. Our picture shows friends and relatives waving off the lucky few who secured a seat. 26th February 1968
The crisis arose following Kenya achieving independence in 1963 Asians living in Kenya, were given two years to acquire Kenyan citizenship which in turn meant they had to renounce their British passports. Out of approximately 180, 000 Asians fewer than 20, 000 had submitted their applications by the deadline.
Those Kenyan Asians without citizenship soon became subject to increasing discrimination. By 1967 the Kenyan Government enacted the Kenyan Immigration Act which required them to acquire work permits, whilst a Trade Licensing Act passed in the same year limited the areas of the country in which non-Kenyans could engage in trade. The Asian community became increasingly threatened as the Kenyan government cast them as a scapegoat group. Many choose to utilise their British passport and settle in the United Kingdom. This influx from East Africa lead the UK government to introduce The Commonwealth Immigration Act 1968 This Act took away the right of residence unless the passport holders were partrials - descendents of people (parents or grandparents) born, adopted or naturalised in the UK. While the people coming from Kenya had British passports, many had not been to the UK before. The 1968 Act effectively revoked British citizenship and made thousands of people stateless

George Greenwell
Daily Mirror
Mirrorpix
Nairobi
Kenya
0007_###000187920007.jpg

Media ID 21707106

© Mirrorpix

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1968 East African Asian Crisis - A Farewell to Hope

EDITORS COMMENTS
. In this poignant photo print, taken at Nairobi Airport on the 26th of February 1968, we witness a scene that encapsulates the heart-wrenching desperation and uncertainty faced by thousands of East African Asians. As large crowds gather, friends and relatives wave off the fortunate few who managed to secure seats on flights bound for the United Kingdom. Little did they know that this departure marked not just a physical journey but also an emotional farewell to their homeland. The crisis unfolded in the wake of Kenya's independence in 1963 when Asians living in the country were given a two-year ultimatum to acquire Kenyan citizenship, relinquishing their British passports in the process. However, out of nearly 180,000 Asians residing there, only a fraction had submitted their applications by the deadline. With discrimination against stateless Kenyan Asians escalating rapidly through discriminatory laws and policies enacted by their own government, many saw no choice but to utilize their British passports and seek refuge in the UK. This influx prompted Britain to introduce The Commonwealth Immigration Act 1968 which stripped away residency rights unless individuals could prove direct lineage with someone born or naturalized in Britain. This powerful image captures both hope and despair as families bid farewell amidst tears and uncertainty. It serves as a stark reminder of how political decisions can uproot lives overnight while highlighting human resilience amid adversity. George Greenwell's photograph from Memory Lane Prints immortalizes this significant moment during one of history's most challenging chapters for East African Asians affected by displacement and loss.

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