Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Cyprian Fernandes: Once upon a time at the Kampala Goan Institute

The History of the Kampala Goan Institute

From the 2018 KGI Centenary Brochure
With thanks to John Nazareth

The initial meeting of the 19 Goans now known as the founders, held on 26 June, 1910 at Mr. E. A. Pinto's well known business premises, followed in the steps of Goans around the world. Goans have traditionally been a highly socialized community, forming socio-cultural clubs wherever we go. Our roots are social, emanating from our traditional village system of government (or "communidades") in Goa that continued for over 1000 years, and which extended to the kudds of Bombay.
In East Africa, the trail had been blazed by the Mombasa Institute (1901), Entebbe Goan Institute (1905), and the Nairobi Goan Institute (1905). As Kampala continued to grow and increase in commercial importance, the number of Goans in the town increased. In 1910 there must have been in the region of 200 men, women and children.
After the meeting of the nineteen, it was then agreed to start a club for recreational purposes styled "The Goan Recreation Club" and the first step was a grant of land in view of the fact that the health of the Goans in Kampala both physical and mental would improve by outdoor recreation. It was true that the introduction of some kind of physical exercise would help to ameliorate the present condition and thus make the monotonous times lively and enjoyable. Up to that time thanks to the members of the Kampala Sports Club, Goans were permitted to use the KSC sports field on certain days of the week for the purpose of their sporting activities.
The application to the P. C. was sympathetically considered in the light of recommendations by a score of other senior government officials and the size which was subsequently approved was the one on which the present Institute building stands. This was considered a very good choice for it was away from the dreaded swamps close by. The size of the plot was about one acre on an initial lease of 21 years and tennis courts were soon constructed. The construction of any building on the plot was for some strange reason precluded but two rustic benches were provided for the convenience of the sports enthusiasts. The lease was signed for by the first trustees who had to be officially approved by the Government, they being Mr. A. de Figueiredo, Mr. P. Leopold de Souza and Mr. M.S. Rodrigues. The entrance fee was then fixed at Rs. 15/- and the monthly subscription Rs. 1/-. As no permanent pavilion was constructed the meetings were conducted at the residences of the Managing Committee Members.
First Recreational Activities
In 1914 a small pavilion or Banda was erected of corrugated iron sheets and timber to provide cover for the members. Cricket practice was conducted on a piece of land between the two tennis courts adjoining Circular Road (later Buganda Road). Cricket was played twice a week at the Kampala Sports Club and on these days tennis was suspended. Social gatherings were organized off and on in the Banda.
In 1915 a pavilion with railings was constructed at a cost of Rs. 600/- which was raised by loans from members of the club at Rs. 30/- per member earning interest at 3%. Donations were also received from some of the members and after sanction was obtained from the D. C. the new pavilion was inaugurated in September that year. It also enabled newspapers to be kept for the benefit of the members, which papers were bought by the Secretary every evening and taken home the same night.
1916 saw the dub fee raised from Rs.1/- to Rs. 2/- and thanks to the donation of a football by one of the members, small scale football practices were possible. A storm blew off the top of the pavilion in 1917 and it had to be closed. Necessary permission was obtained subsequently from the township authorities for a fairly solid structure with walls replacing the corrugated iron sheets and the inauguration of this building took place in August 1917.
World War I
The end of WW I in 1918 was received with joy by the members and a dance was organized to celebrate the occasion. The loans given by the members were due to be repaid in 1919 but as the funds of the club were very low it was mutually agreed to postpone the payment. A library was also started this year with donated books and in 1920 a further expansion to the building was made with the addition of a room with financial help from the members.
Holy Mass Celebrated
For the members' convenience and through the kind permission of Bishop Bierman, Mass was celebrated on the premises once a fortnight. In gratitude for this gesture of his, a collection was made by the members on the occasion of the Bishop's Silver Jubilee and the monies handed over to him for the purchase of a chalice and episcopal chair.
As the interest and caliber of sportsman rose members requested an expansion of the sports fields. In March 1921 an appeal was made to the Land Office for the grant of a sports ground. After much consideration, a site of 2½ acres was approved on a lease initially of 10 years on the plot at present at the corner of Nakasero and Kyagwe Roads. Before the lease could be signed the land authorities requested that in order to enable the trustees to apply for a Certificate of Registration as a Corporate body it was necessary for the club's name to be changed.
Name Change
Around the same epoch, the Goan clubs in Mombasa, Entebbe, and Nairobi had changed their names to “Goan Institute”. This formed a model for the Kampala Goans and on petition filed by the club's management, the name was changed to “Goan Institute, Kampala”. The adoption of the new name necessitated the drafting of new rules, helped by legal opinion, which were approved by the General Body. The Club's seal was also ordered from the U.K., as a suitable one could not be had locally and the entrance fee which was Shs. 20/- was raised to Shs. 30/-.
In 1922 a corrugated iron shed, was erected on the sports ground at a cost of Shs, 200/- for keeping the sports kit and offering the spectators some shade; this shed lasted until 1973. The members frequenting the club's premises had now increased and the bar facilities were now extended with a regular stock and a member-in-Charge of the bar. A piano was also purchased for Shs. 1,000/- and levelling of the new sports ground undertaken at a cost of Shs. 500/.
Increasing Sports Interest
As an incentive to the cricket enthusiasts, the Lowis Cup Trophy for cricket, open to all clubs in Kampala, was donated in 1923 by a member of the institute, Mr. Gerald Sequeira. In 1925 the trophy was won by the Institute under the captainship of its donor. The sporting activities of the Institute were now gaining popularity and with the new sporting facilities provided in the shape of the sports ground, tennis and badminton courts, the members took up games in a big way and numerous successes were achieved when playing in tournaments against the other clubs.
A further approach was made in 1929, in view of the increase in the number of members, to the Land Office to obtain the grounds between the Institute buildings and Bombo Road. The application could not be approved, however, until the Town Planning Adviser, who was due to visit Uganda the following year had given his advice. In 1931 the Town Planning Adviser approved the grant of the land applied for earlier and a lease of 49 years inclusive of the old was obtained from the Land Office. Construction of the two new Tennis and Badminton Courts were immediately started on the new plot and extensions to the building were also planned.
It should be mentioned here that primary classes were also being conducted at that time on the premises during the day by a few qualified Goan ladies.
Building Extension
1932 saw the inauguration by the Provincial Commissioner Mr. Cox of the first major extension of the institute when a large hall and frontage facing Bombo Road were added, this being possible by the donation and loans of the members at that time. In 1938, electricity supply was obtained from the East African Power and Lighting Company Limited and, the Club's own plant sold. A terrace was also constructed and used as a library.
The benevolence of the President that year Mr. N. Godinho is to be noted for he kept two cars at the disposal of the Hockey team to play in different tournaments, as transport for the players was now proving a hazard.

World War II
1939 saw the advent of the 2nd World War and in response to an appeal from the Goan Community, Mombasa, it was unanimously agreed by the members to offer the shelter of their houses to families from the coast in case of need. Further extension to the Institute which we approved the previous year had to be dropped in view of the hostilities. A radiogram was now obtained and it helped members to listen to the news and also relieved the members' dance orchestra of some of their weekly tasks. The war effort was also supported and various fetes and musical programs were brought up during this time in aid of the Earl Haig's Poppy Fund and the Uganda War Fund. In 1940 even the Xmas tree had to be cancelled as there was a lack of toys.
By now many of the members of the Institute had enlisted in the signalling section of the Uganda Volunteer Reserve. A Kampala Goan War Fund Committee was also established The Institute rules were revised and new rules books printed. The framework of the roof was raised at a cost of Shs. 2300/- due to rain water leakage. This however proved very temporary and a further Shs. 2000/- was spent in 1943 to stem the defect. In 1944 it was agreed to have full lady members on the payment the monthly subscription of Shs. 4/-, no entrance fee being charged. To celebrate the institute Sports Dance some of the members even willingly offered the Institute their monthly whisky ration.
A Tradition of Sports Visits
1945 saw us hosts to the Goan Institute, Kisumu during the Easter holidays and in 1946 the Goan Gymkhana, Nairobi, also paid us a visit during the same period. The Institute's white Sports shirts with sleeve ends, collars and pockets in maroon were officially approved by the General Body.
A contribution of Shs. 500/- was made to the Central Council of Indian Associations in Uganda who organized the All India Hockey Team visit in 1948. In addition a sundowner dance was held at the Institute in the visiting team's honour when a hockeystick was presented with a silver band round it, suitably engraved to mark the Team's visit to the Institute.
Rewiring of the Institute was undertaken in 1948 at a cost of about Shs. 3500/- and adequate electric fittings were made in the library and the stage. In 1950 the head boy Andreya, who had been with the Institute for 30 years, retired and in appreciation of his devoted services an occasion was held in his honour and a purse presented.  He was also allowed a handsome gratuity and three months paid leave.
Major Building Extensions Started
In 1951 the need for further extensions was very pressing and the lack of sufficient funds which had proved a deterrent in the past, was fully discussed at various meetings and it was decided to finance the loan required by voluntary loans from members, raising the levies on games, increasing the monthly subscription from Shs. 4/- to Shs. 6/- and also stepping up the entrance lee from Shs. 50/- to Shs. 100/- from the following year. A subcommittee under the chairmanship of Mr. R. Almeida was appointed to review the building plans where necessary. Extensions which were approved at a cost of Shs. 150,000/- provided for the widening of the main hall, separate room for billiards, table tennis, library, office, lounge and bar and for a terrace.
The death occurred in March 1952 of Mr. Norman Godinho, a donor of the Institute and President for many years in the past. His contributions both in services and donations to the Institute are beyond measure.
The extension had by now started piecemeal in such a way that the club was never closed for a single day. In view of the extensions at the Norman Godinho Goan School, some of the classes were held at the Institute premises. Further facilities to the sports enthusiasts were provided by the concreting of the 2nd Badminton Court by Mr. Menezes and the preparation of a Volley Ball court.
To augment the funds required for furnishing and other minor improvements, a fete was organized, 5% of the total collection being given to the Christ the King Church Fund and 5% to Lacy Cohen Charities.
The Golden Jubilee Year
The first fifty years in retrospect was a fine proof of the Institute's vitality and inner strength and some thing we had much to be proud of. As the saying "Wisdom of the past is Strength for the Future" so also it was hoped that this history would spur the next generation to rival the previous success and self sacrifice set by all and further the prosperity of the Institute in all fields, compatible with its motto " Nulli Secundus ". The members' untiring efforts permitted the Institute to cross the Diamond Milestone.
A full program of celebrations was organized by the President Mr. Peter Pereira and his Executive.
The 1960s saw a wave of change occur in colonies around the world. 1961 saw India marched into Goa and repossessed the province after many fruitless years of negotiations with the Portuguese. The Portuguese culture so imbued the Goan ethos that it would be many years before the majority of Goans outside Goa came to terms with India. In Goa itself, the modernization brought by India made the people realize the time warp they had lived in.
Changes also transpired in Uganda leading up to independence from Britain in 1962. There was little joint thought given to strategy for the community in the country. Goan families were left to their own thoughts as to whether they wanted to become Uganda citizens and stay in the country. Some discussion must have gone on among friends, but there was little if any general discussion. Politics in Uganda were unlike many African countries. The dominant political parties – the Democratic Party (DP) and Uganda People’s Congress (UPC) were divided more along religious lines – the DP being dominantly Catholic and the UPC Anglican.
It was estimated that about 32% of the 80,000 Indo-Pakistanis became citizens and in all likelihood this percentage applied to Goans too. Many Goans decided that they would return to Goa, whereas others had acquired British Citizenship and had plans to move there in time. However, within two years after Independence the processing of applications for citizenship slowed to a crawl, so it will never be known how many actually intended to take up citizenship.
October 9th, 1962 was a happy day when the new Prime Minister Milton Obote took office. The country was positive as it had a lot going for it. The Civil Service was the most efficient in Africa, thanks in a large part on the numerous Goans who worked in it. The Health Care system was also the best in Africa. Very few Goans were overtly political and so life continued to be good. The Kabaka of Uganda became the (non-executive) President and head of state.
Non-African citizens of the country continued to be treated well. All Ugandan citizens continued to have their education either subsidized or free. Post-secondary education was free. Goans continued to be promoted to high positions in the Civil Service – even those who were non-citizens. There was little of the Africanization policy that we observed in neighbouring Kenya.
Political Unrest
The first sign of unrest began when the political alliance between the UPC and The Kabaka Yekka Party disintegrated. In the disagreement that ensued the Prime Minister sacked the President, abolished the local kingships, changed the constitution and declared the country a republic, with himself as Executive President.
To a large extent these troubles left the Goan community untouched, but it was a signal to some Goans that it was time to move, especially because applications for citizenship were not being processed. So it was in 1967 that a few Goans started moving to the UK, Goa and Canada. By 1970 some 20% of the Goans had left.
As time progressed the Institute evolved. Africans were now being given a greater opportunity to take part in political and economic life of the country. A few became members of the Institute and even joined the Executive. As the KGI admitted more non-Goan members it decided to drop the word “Goan” from its name to make it clear that the Institute was open to all.
Expulsion Of Asians
On January 25, 1971 General Idi Amin led the army to overthrow President Milton Obote. For many this was an ominous sign as the armed forces had few skills in leading a government. However, after some early skirmishes, life settled down and Goans continued to live normally. It is perhaps significant that what affected Goans more was that the civil service work day shifted from a 6-day week (8:00am to 4:00pm, weekdays and 8:30am to 12:30pm on Saturdays) to a 5-day week (8:00am to 5:00pm). This extra hour during the week had a significant impact on sports, a pastime that Goans just couldn’t get enough of.
The militarization of the country started affecting all aspects of life and a general deterioration in security started. Goans continued to have good relations with all. Africans found the Goans easy-going and we shared a lot in common – our religion, love of alcoholic beverages, and love of socializing.
General Amin started using different groups as scapegoats when the Army’s incompetence in running the country became more obvious. And then it was our turn ….
On August 4, 1972 General Amin announced that that he had discovered that “Asians” (Indians and Pakistanis) were milking the economy and therefore to save the country he was going to give those Asians who were not Uganda citizens 90 days to leave the country. At first people thought this was a joke, but slowly it began to sink in and the government took steps to facilitate this decision. The various Ministers aghast at the loss to the infrastructure of the country took to exempting certain classes of people from the Expulsion order.
At the Institute there was a sense of resignation about the chaos that was to follow. However, it was expected that a significant portion of the Goan community and other Asians would remain as some 40% were Uganda Citizens. (Although early estimates on the number of Asians in the country at the time pointed to 80,000, in fact many had left over a period of three years and it is believed that at most there were 46,000 in 1972.) A meeting was organized by the Goan Association at the KGI to examine a joint approach to the Expulsion. It was decided that the Association would use its reserve funds to help poor Goans who wanted to return to Goa but were short of funds to purchase their tickets.
Then General Amin, deciding that not enough Asians were leaving, announced that those who were Uganda Citizens would also have to leave. Although he later changed his mind, it was now clear to all what his intentions were. In early September 1972 the United Nations opened mission to accept stateless refugees and Canada decided to accept those who qualified regardless of citizenship. At this almost everybody made up their minds to leave.
The Deadline Arrives
On November 5, 1972 all Asians who were still in the country had to register. The number of Goans in the KI were now down to at most 20% of its previous numbers. And even these would leave in time. Sports continued to be played.
Sometime between November and December 1972 the Entebbe Institute and the Kampala Institute played what would be the last hockey match on the KI field. After this there weren’t enough players left to play hockey in either club. And with the death of hockey, the death of the Goan community in Kampala couldn’t be far behind.

Where Goans Went to
When the Institute was founded in 1910 there were about 200 Goans in Kampala including men women and children. At its peak (in 1960), the population rose to some 6000 Goans in Kampala and around another 1000 in the rest of the country. By the time of the Expulsion, the population had dropped to 5500 or so. Of this number it is estimated that 1800 went to India, 1800 to the UK, 900 to Canada, 400 to Australia and the rest to Europe and the USA. These Goans would be a boon to the fledgling Goan communities around the world and provided talent to the organizing committees and sports teams, and indeed to the countries that welcomed them.
Loss of the Building
Sometime in late 1972 (probably December) around 1:30pm armed Prison Officers surrounded the club. Some entered the building and asked Joe Fernandes, Jos Almeida and a few other members present to leave, stating that the Government had allocated the building to the Prison Officers. Thus ended a chapter in one of the greatest Goan clubs in East Africa.
Regain of the Building
In 1983, four years after the overthrow of the Amin regime, the government of the day declared that all expropriated Asian properties were to be returned to their original owners. A number of members living in Uganda submitted a claim for repossession, but were rejected. This was the beginning of a fight to reclaim the club. Those involved were Jos Almeida, Joe Fernandes, [the late] Arthur De Mello and [the late] Professor Joe Carasco.
Thanks to the persistence of these members, especially Joe Fernandes, an appeal to the Supreme Court was successful. On July 14, 1995 the building was handed over to Jos Almeida and Joe Fernandes.
And the Future ….?
It is not clear what the future lies for the Goan community in Uganda. On November 8, 2008 an article appeared in the Uganda newspaper New Vision “The Goan Legacy... Living On In Uganda”. We would hope that it is a new beginning, but for those of us who left, we know that Uganda was truly our Paradise Lost.
During the good times and trying times, the Goans always faced life with strong community relationships and a strong acceptance of the providence of God. It led a Bishop of the Archdiocese of Toronto to say “What would we do without the De Souzas and Fernandes’s?” We have and will endure, enriching the lives of our members and all those around us in the societies we became part of.

For the period 1910 to 1960, this history used extensive extracts from the history written by John Carneiro for the Golden Jubilee Brochure. Ed.

Cyprian Fernandes: Meldrita's tribute to Ray Batchelor

Meldrita (Laurente) Viegas: I was still in high school when the Achilles Club was born. In school I participated in inter-school meets and later the Coast Championships. It was at the Coast Championships that Ray Batchelor recruited me to train at the Mombasa Municipal Stadium.

Ray was a hardworking and dedicated coach. Each athlete was guided according to the raw talent he saw in them. In preparation for each meet, the Monday to Friday training was intense. Two to three hours a day.

After light jogs, warm ups exercise etc, Ray would ask me to run up the stadium seats (steps) with knees as high as I could get them. This, he told me, would help improve the length of my strides. There was always a count for each activity, for example:  3 light jogs round the stadium track or 5 starts accompanied by a 50 yard dash. Relay baton exchanges were also included.

I remember vividly how at one Coast Championship, Ray admonished me for taking part in events I did not train for. My events were the 100 yards 200 yards long jump and 400x100 yards relay. A friend and I decided to take part in the shot put and discus. There were very few competitors and we were sure of getting medals.

Under Ray Bachelors leadership, I went to the Kenya Championships in Kisumu and Nakuru.
I was one of the ladies chosen to train at Jeans School Kabete. This was to provide us with the opportunity to compete at the international stage.
I learnt from Ray Bachelor what it meant to concentrate, be dedicated and determined. He nurtured these qualities in each of us. I am grateful for that to this day.

Meldrita (Laurente) Viegas

Monday, October 29, 2018

Cyprian Fernandes: Pinto and the Mau Mau

 Durrani: Pinto was Mau Mau

Pinto was arrested and detained in April 1954. Among the Grounds for his Detention Order were:

That he had knowledge of illegal arms traffic.

That he had assisted Mau Mau in drafting documents and arranged for the printing of membership cards of the ‘African Liberation Army.

That he had given assistance to the non –militant wing of the Mau Mau in planning its subversive campaign.

There is no actual evidence of Pinto having taken the oath of loyalty to the cause of the Mau Mau, however, Durrani argues that there is consumate anecdotal evidence that Pinto worked with the Mau Mau Central Committee and therefore was an intrinsic part of the organisation.
Pio Pinto was largely responsible for having prevented the wrath of the Mau Mau from being vented on the Indian community. Had he not been able to enter the secret conclaves of the freedom fighters unnoticed, and had he not won the trust of leaders such as Stanley Mathenge, Jomo Kenyatta, Senior Chief Koinange and Tom Mboya for his sound and clear advice, thousands of Indians may well have been murdered and their property looted.

“Pio Gama Pinto and I were in one kundi (Mau Mau cell). Issac GW gave me the Mau Mau oath in 1946. My sister and mother knew Pinto. Pinto’s work was to kuunganisha makabila [bring together different nationalities], establish links with like-minded people who shared goals.”

Other evidence may be needed to confirm this, but the facts indicate that Pinto was an active supporter of the movement. He could not have been involved in the formation of the Mau Mau War Council in Nairobi nor in the procurement of arms had he not been part of the central leadership of Mau Mau. His involvement ranged from supplying weapons to the fighters, to providing medical and other care to fighters and their families, to organising legal aid to those condemned by the colonial system to jail terms, to researching and writing documents, letters for the struggle, as well as gathering international support for the liberation struggle.

The progressive, anti-imperialist elements in the South Asian community, men like Pio Gama Pinto, Jaswant Bharaj and others, played a very important role in supplying KFLA with firearms, intelligence information, fund, medicine and helped the movement to produce revolutionary literature. Pinto in particular established contacts with the illegal South Asian gun-traders who secretly sold firearms and ammunition to KFLA.

“Pio’s work under the Central Committee of Mau Mau was especially important during the Emergency. The Committee needed money, food and arms for the fighters. Most of the leaders were in prison…Despite these difficult conditions, money was collected from supporters… These were carefully collected in sacks and taken to certain trusted persons. Pio was one of these. He would then take the money to wherever he was directed by the Central Committee.

“Pio’s work in support of the freedom fighters grew as the struggle became more intense. The Emergency meant that for many Kenyans, there was military there was military rule in the country…Pio now had to help the freedom fighters in the forests of Mount Kenya and the Aberdares.”

He also had to look after their families and the families of those who had been killed. He continued to gather food, equipment and medicine for the soldiers in the forests, as well as for families left behind.
“Pinto joined other brave patriots in the work of transporting weapons and other necessities to the Mau Mau freedom fighters in their hideouts. Pinto became an important person in the struggle not only because of his clear ideological grasp of the situation and his total commitment to the liberation struggle but also because he linked different aspects of the struggle and ensured that all worked together to strengthen the overall anti-imperialist struggle.”

“The imperialist manipulation of Kenya’s politics provided the momentum that ultimately led to the assassination of Pio Gama Pinto. Thus, the responsibility of his death lies not only with the Government of Kenya but also with the British Government whose policy and actions supported the Western-orientated Government. It is doubtful if the moderates would ever have come to power without the Western support. While Britain was actively engaged in the internal politics of Kenya before and after independence, as shown in the MacDonald Papers, the US government and CIA supported moderate leaders like Tom Mboya who were used to create a pro-Western trade union movement to replace the militant one set up and supported by Makhan Singh, Fred Kubai, Bildad Kaggia, Pio Gama Pinto and others.”

According to Durrani, Pinto’s concern about the lot of ordinary people was that we must try and build a society where differences in wealth should not penalise the poor. He, therefore, wanted to see development in all parts of our country, especially those areas that had experienced very little development under British rule. He further wanted to see the establishment of rent control in urban areas as a way of protecting the tenants from being exploited by landlords. He also advocated the establishment of free health service and free education as a method of assisting the less privileged people in our community. And finally, Pio was opposed to the practice whereby a few individuals in privileged positions were to amass excessive wealth at the expense of the masses. He believed that people in such positions should do more for the masses and that such public service would be a reward in itself.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Cyprian Fernandes: Goans of Pakistan, Canada

60 Years of Goans from Pakistan!

By Menin Rodrigues

TORONTO - July 1, 2017: Within a few years of the founding of a new nation in 1947, Pakistan, there were reasons for a handful of Goans to move on to new territory; and by 1957, the first of a handful of families had pioneered the undertaking. Their first stop was Pierrefonds, off the island of Montreal, Quebec, a predominantly French-speaking city – Goans and French, quais, parle m’en!

Today, about 60 years later, Goans from Pakistan, like diamonds in the rough, look back with gleaming pride and are grateful to a country that welcomed them with open arms. All have settled well, having got the opportunity to assimilate and succeed, and having gained in confidence over the years. Two generations of their Canada-born children and grandchildren, are now steering for a new role!

The nomadic undertakings of this Diaspora are as fascinating as Alexander the Great or St. Francis Xavier, the patron saint of Goans, popularly referred as Goencho Saheb (Goa’s Master) in the Konkani language. ‘Amchea Bhas’ (our language) is a dialect of the Konkan Coast of south-western India, comprising Karnataka and Goa, including Kerala and Maharashtra.

Language apart, even St. Francis Xavier is not from Goa (he was a Jesuit missionary born in Spain) but played an influential part in the evangelization of the Portuguese Empire, mainly India’s Goa, a Portuguese colony until 1961. Intriguingly, Goa’s very own Padre Joseph Vaz (1651 – 1711) who did most of his missionary work in Sri Lanka is known as the ‘Apostle of Ceylon’! He was beatified by Pope John Paul II on 21 January 1995 in Colombo; and canonized by Pope Francis on 14 January 2015 in Colombo.

Canada is celebrating 150 years – a sort of birthday but Canada I am sure is many more hundred years old! Being a very large expanse of land but proportionately with a few people, Canada opened its beautiful country to people from all over the world, immigrants who brought with them a myriad of cultures, giving them an opportunity to seek skilled jobs, acquire homes, improve their standard of living and opt for citizenship.It was a great package of benevolence which is now a prized possession for the large number of multi-cultural communities that are settled here.

According to Prof. Oswin Mascarenhas, a former principal of St. Patrick’s College, Karachi;the first migrant from Pakistan to land in Canada in 1953, was a Michael Braganzawho lived in GRE-317 Cincinnatus Town (Garden East/Soldier Bazaar, Karachi). The trickling continued at a steady pace but a larger number of families, in droves, moved here in the 1970s and later again in the 1990s. Canada still remains a ‘hope’ for many others who wish to come here. The Goans from India probably arrived here in the 1950s as well.

One of Canada’s well known developers Fred D’Silva (Bramalea) says “Among the pioneers, Ozzie Todd, Philip D’Silva and Michael Barretto arrived in 1954; I came a few years later in 1958. It so happened that Ozzie, Philip and Michael chanced upon a signage in the Canadian Immigration office in Metropole Hotel, Karachi which simply said, welcome to Canada, they took up that invitation, applied for and the next day got their visas! With no more than $20 in their pockets, they sailed to England and then to the port city of Montreal; the rest is history of how Goans from Pakistan found a new home in Canada.”

Known as ‘Portuguese Subjects’ Goans first moved territory from Goa somewhere in the 1830s in search of economic sustenance, their destination being Africa. On the way they stooped upon Karachi, and explored the deserted and upcoming port-city (then known as Kolachi, a fisherman’s village) being developed by the British. Many found administrative, teaching and domestic employment here and stayed on. Their magnanimous contributions to this city, and later to Pakistan (1947) are in chronology atwww.goansofpakistan.org

Why Canada? I put this question to some senior Goans from Pakistan who were among the first to come to Canada. Patrick and Ann D’Cruz also came here in the late 1950s and have lived a life of valuable contribution and contentment; Pat says of their early days here, “My wife and I came to Canada in 1957 with our two children to seek a better life, there were numerous challenges but the Canadians were kind, so while maintaining our heritage we integrated well. We became a part of several activities, music, dance and song; Ann founded the Girl Guides of Canada in Pincourt, Quebec. She was the District Commissioner. Looking back, we have no regrets.”

Today, roughly there are about 15,000 Goans from Pakistan in Canada, those who arrived from Karachi; this figure does not include the two generations who were born later in Canada. That in itself is another story, of another Diaspora who, when coming of age would like to know their antecedents. Being ‘Goans’, will they, the new generation, akin to their ancestors, would want to know about their roots or move to yet another territory/country?

Goans have a tradition of getting themselves organized. When they arrived in Karachi (then India) in the mid-1850s, they first settled themselves economically, and then established the Goa-Portuguese Association in 1886; later to be re-named the Karachi Goan Association (KGA) in 1936. Another group of like-minded folks formed the Goan Union in 1908; they too have a beautiful heritage building in Saddar, formerly known to old-timers as ‘Little Goa’.

By the time Goans started to settle in Montreal in the most difficult of conditions, not knowing the language, unaccustomed to harsh winters, and very few with the required education and the proverbial Canadian-experience; they struggled. Many came with loads of experience in banking, aviation, education and administrative professions, having dedicated years of their early lives in these sectors in Pakistan; and with hard work and resolve, managed to scrape through, successfully. For some it was a good start, others as tedious as shoveling the snow but in hindsight, they never looked back and focused on their future.

In the mid-fifties, the greatest achievement of these "first" generation Canadians was the formation of a community based Club - The Indo-Pakistani Association. It was the brainchild of Edwin W. Martyres from Pakistan and Phyllis Athaide from India. The launching of this Club was a landmark which gave the immigrants a sense of belonging. From 1958, Montreal saw the biggest concentration of Christians from India and Pakistan settle in the West Island, Pierrefonds, the South Shore, La Salle and St. Laurent.

The Can-Orient Christian Association was formed in Montreal on December 31st, 1971, when it received its Charter from the Federal Government to establish a social organization for the community with power to establish Chapters elsewhere in Canada – they have chapters in Toronto, Calgary, Ottawa and Vancouver. It was important for our Christian community from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka & Burma (now Myanmar) to have an organization of its own.

Can-Orient found a home at Hanlan Road in Woodbridge and it has been a splendid venue for most activities since 1984. On August 23rd 1989, in order to establish an independent entity and safeguard its assets, the Toronto Chapter applied for and received Letters Patent from the Government of Ontario under its new name The Can-Orient Christian Association of Metropolitan Toronto.

Pioneering Goans (from India, Africa and Pakistan) in general have a concern for the preservation of our heritage and thus the Goan Archives Canada Inc. (GAC) was founded and established on August 7, 2009 by Messrs. Cecil D’Cruz, Mr. John D’Souza, Claude Gomes, Uvy Lopes and Lazarus Pereira.

The mission of the GAC is to assemble, preserve, organize and store publications and documents generated and authored by the Goan community and groups in Canada. The intent is to facilitate the study and understanding of our unique community by scholars and researchers in the future. The Peel Art-Gallery Museum Archives (PAMA) in a letter to GAC notes, “The donation of these records to PAMA Archives will facilitate greater understanding and appreciation of the contributions made by Goans that shape our region, our province, and Canada today.”

The origin of Goan-Catholics in Canada is from India, Pakistan, Africa and the Middle East. Their contribution to Canadian Catholic life is immense, including the founding and building of the St. Francis Xavier Church in Mississauga by Monsignor Terence D’Souza, formerly a priest of Karachi.

On another note, as times change in a new and knotty world order, and a global awakening of civilizations and socio-political influences come into effect, Canada too in all its exuberance to welcome people from everywhere, must be conscious to the signs of the times.

Cyprian Fernandes: Fenny Almeida Obituary

Fenelon Jesus “Fenny” Almeida

ALMEIDA, Fenelon "Fenny" Jesus Fenny passed away peacefully with family by his side on Tuesday, October 16, 2018, at the age of 93. Loving husband of Adelaide "Dela" for 62 years. Devoted father of Gina, Stanley and Kamla (Luke). Cherished grandfather of Wendel (Erica), Ruth and late Eric, and great-grandfather of Felix and Leo. Beloved brother of Yolanda and Alves and predeceased by Gangi and Bossuet. Fenny's memory will always be cherished by his nieces, nephews, extended family and friends. Fenny was born in Dar es Salaam, in the British-administered Tanganyika Territory (present day Tanzania), where his family owned a large farm. Their origins, however, were in the Portuguese colony of Goa, now a state in India.

Fenny divided his childhood and youth between Tanganyika and India, where he discovered his passion and genius for sport at St. Xavier's College in Bombay (now Mumbai). He was captain of the college's soccer team in the 1940s and went on to play for the Tata Sports Club. He was also the captain of the Goan Sports Club in Bombay. Fenny was much celebrated for his soccer prowess. Although physically small, he was a wizard on the pitch, winning for himself sports page headlines in India and Africa and the nickname "Mighty Mouse".

Upon moving back to Tanganyika (Tanzania) and marrying Adelaide Noronha there in 1956, he played in many field hockey tournaments and served as the treasurer and secretary of the Tanzania Olympic Committee, organizing international meets to help season the athletes. Fenny was an international level umpire in field hockey – both in Tanzania and after coming to Canada in 1973 with his wife and their three children. He and his family settled in the Toronto region where he worked for decades as an international customs broker.

He was also a Sports Secretary for the Goan Overseas Association in Canada, where he passed on his love of sport to family and friends. Fenny also had a lifelong love of music. He enjoyed leading sing-alongs and caroling at family gatherings, often using his harmonica to set the tune. In retirement he remained socially active and made sure to regularly check in with friends and family around the world. He also stayed engaged with sport, watching hockey, baseball, golf, tennis, football (soccer) and cricket whenever possible.

More recently, Fenny and wife Adelaide moved to Ottawa to be closer to their grandchildren. He was delighted by the recent birth of great-grandsons Felix Fenelon and Leo. A Funeral Service for Fenelon will be celebrated in the Chapel at Kelly Funeral Home on Saturday, October 27, 2018 at 12:30 p.m. Friends may pay respects at: Kelly Funeral Home – Kanata Chapel, 580 Eagleson Rd., 613-591- 6580. Interment to St. George Cemetery (3924 Russell Rd.) for 3:00 p.m.

Condolences and sharing memories at: www.forevermissed.com/fenny-almeida
As published in The Star newspaper

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Cyprian Fernades: Ray Batchelor and the Goans Part II Athletics, Alcino Rodrigues

Ray Batchelor

AtAthletes who represented the Coast at the Kenya National championships with the legendary British middle and long distance runner Sir Chris Chataway: Rear from left: Albert Castanha (sprinter), Hugh Winder (Shot Put), Chris Chataway, Alfred Vianna (Discus and Shot), Joe Faria (sprinter), Francis Soares, Seraphino Antao (sprinter, hurdler, long jumper). Front row: Jaswinder Singh (Olympic hockey, middle distance), Alcino Rodrigues (440 yards, 880 yards), Austin D’Souza ….(??), Norbert De Souza.

In the early days with Seraphino, Ray had his work cut out. Seraphino “could sometimes be a handful” (very strong willed about what he thought was best) but once he began to see the results he was getting out of working with Ray, they took the baby steps on the long hard road to history with somewhat complete dedication.  Here is one example of the tremendous impact (unforgettable impact) Ray had on his charges:
Multi-sports winner: sprinter, hockey star, netball, badminton: Laura Ramos “Under Coach Ray Batchelor's guidance, I honed in my sprinting skills, improved starts by watching Albert Castanha, Seraphino Antao and the other male sprinters.  Later he taught me how to use blocks to get shooting starts.  As a coach, he set examples of respect for other competitors, not resting on your laurels, using your inborn energy and talents to be a winner.  I never heard him put down any athlete, and boosted anyone who showed any disappointment in being second-best.  I have used all this advice my entire life in all I do.  I looked up to him as My Hero and a Godsend.  I never have forgotten him as I hold him in the highest esteem as a coach.”
Laura was part of the Coast athletics clubs called the Achilles Club started by Ray (or so I was told)  its membership comprised of the best Goan athletes around the Coast and on the national scene: Albert Castanha, Joe Faria, Seraphino Antao, Pascoal Antao, Alcino Rodrigues, Jack Fernandes, Laura Ramos, Phila Fernandes, Juanita Noronha, Meldrita Viegas, Alfred Vienna, Bruno D’Souza.  And several others whose names I do not have. Most of those named above are all winners at one time or another in their individual events. Most of them were sprinters. Alcino Rodrigues was a hugely promising quarter and half miler.

Alcino Rodrigues, Albert Castanha, Seraphino Antao

The great American 400 metres gold medalist writing an autograph for a very young Alcino Rodrigues.

ALCINO RODRIGUES: "Ray Batchelor was singularly instrumental in the sporting careers of many in Kenya and especially in Mombasa. Fortunately, I was one of the few blessed to be the product of his great contribution to Kenya Sports.  In 1956, given the choice between Soccer & Track, Ray felt I would be better off in Track. Hence my specialty in the 400 which, through hard work, Ray's guidance and dedication to the sport, I earned the Coast and Kenya colours in the event. In 1968, I carried these skills into the Canadian Masters Track & Field for several decades, with great success, retiring from the sports at 80 a few years ago.

Ray arrived in Mombasa as a Soccer & Athletic Coach in the 1950s. Although he initially worked on soccer players' physical fitness, it was in Athletics that he made the most impact in Mombasa and Kenya despite many challenges from other coaches in the country including claims for the success of many coast athletes and soccer players. In Mombasa, Ray was fortunate to embrace several unpolished diamonds as his trainees, which he singularly and painstakingly polished and shined making some, in Track & Field, the envy of Africa and the world.

To me, Ray was more than a Track coach. He was a true role model, a confidante and a hero. Someone to look up to. Ray was also a disciplinarian. He minced no words and would always say the way it was, whether you liked it or not. In my life, of four scores, I have come across very few of his like. One of his greatest saying to me was: "Defeat is not declared when you fall down. Defeat is declared when you refuse to get up". What a confidence builder. I have carried this advice all my life, both in my personal, corporate and professional life, and have passed it on to our only child Dominic. I am now drilling it into our four grandchildren who are already exhibiting signs of sporting prowess albeit in soccer and swimming.

At a time when the non-whites, especially the Africans, were viewed differently in Kenya, Ray genuinely and sincerely showed that he was one of us and was often pilloried by his Mombasa Club mates for leaning too much towards the non-whites.  Amidst all this, Ray also exuded his true humane side by always making time to listen to our individual concerns and was ever ready to help, including financially. Ray was not your normal "Kaburu" (Swahili slang for white man) we knew in Kenya but a very special individual and so were his wife and his two children.

His passing has left a great void in the lives of many who trained under him, sought his guidance, and are still around to acknowledge his immense - and even life changing - contribution. May Ray's soul rest in peace."

To me Ray was very special, and I am sure he was also to many of his trainees. Although I never had the opportunity to tell him personally, I would like his children to know that their "father" has left an indelible mark on the lives of many.

OTHERS who were trained by Ray in Mombasa: Winnie Singh: (nee De Souza)  
Perhaps least known to the Goan and Kenya sporting circles, Winnie was the first Kenya Women’s' 100 yards Champion, making her the fastest then and to date, Goan woman in Africa, in 1956. In the same race you saw the twins Trifa & Nifa De Souza, of whom Cyprian has written voluminously, Meldrita Laurente and two other African women. I have a photo from Kenya Information Service showing the participants breasting the tape. I will provide it to you some day. (By the way, in this race Winnie ran in her Mombasa Goan School uniform bare feet and won)

Swaleh Omar: (Sprints), Salim Ali:  (400m), Alfred Viana: (Shot & Discus), Hugh Winder: (Shot & Discus), Peter Francis: (800m & 1500m), Luis Kibaso: (400). There were also other Goan athletes, that Ray coached, who represented the Coast at the Kenya National Championships: Joe Faria, Bruno de Souza, and Lucas Remedios. 

Meldrita (Laurente) Viegas: I was still in high school when the Achilles Club was born. In school I participated in inter-school meets and later the Coast Championships. It was at the Coast Championships that Ray Batchelor recruited me to train at the Mombasa Municipal Stadium.

Ray was a hardworking and dedicated coach. Each athlete was guided according to the raw talent he saw in them. In preparation for each meet, the Monday to Friday training was intense. Two to three hours a day.

After light jogs, warm ups exercise etc, Ray would ask me to run up the stadium seats (steps) with knees as high as I could get them. This, he told me, would help improve the length of my strides. There was always a count for each activity, for example:  3 light jogs round the stadium track or 5 starts accompanied by a 50 yard dash. Relay baton exchanges were also included.

I remember vividly how at one Coast Championship, Ray admonished me for taking part in events I did not train for. My events were the 100 yards 200 yards long jump and 400x100 yards relay. A friend and I decided to take part in the shot put and discus. There were very few competitors and we were sure of getting medals.

Under Ray Bachelor's leadership, I went to the Kenya Championships in Kisumu and Nakuru.
I was one of the ladies chosen to train at Jeans School Kabete. This was to provide us with the opportunity to compete at the international stage.
I learnt from Ray Bachelor what it meant to concentrate, be dedicated and determined. He nurtured these qualities in each of us. I am grateful for that to this day.

The day the Antao-Batchelor partnership ended, my sports editor at the time (in fact the man who gave me my first job as a sports reporter, Tom Clarke, wrote: "Take a good look at this picture … It is symbolic of the greatest partnership the Kenya sports world has ever known … Seraphino Antao and Ray Batchelor, the man who transformed the lean Goan from a good footballer into one of the world’s top sprinters.

"The partnership has ended."

Seffie has returned to his Mombasa home. Ray, the long-time Coast Sport Officer has been transferred to Nakuru, including the Rift Valley.

Antao, looking untensed and healthy following a spell of doing next to nothing since his return from Europe, told me the other day: “Ray made me … It’s going to be difficult trying to find my own faults.”

Ray working with Kimaru Songok

As soon as Kenyans struck gold on the international scene, Olympics, Commonwealth Games, and World Championships and burned up tracks around the world with some of the greatest front-running seen, there was a bit of scramble for glory by people who should not have been talking themselves with the media, both local and international. The international media more often than not fell victim to these bouts of fake news. Ray Batchelor and Archie Evans were at the start of the gold rush. Ray had already started work with hurdler Kimaru Songok (Perth Commonwealth Games Silver medallist), Peter Francis 800medallist and several others. He would often join Archie Evans at the Kabete Training School to work with legends Nyandika Mayoro, Arere Anentia, Peter Francis, Songok, Kiptalem Keter, Wilson Kiprugut Chuma, Naftali Temu, Joseph Leresae, Lezaro Chepkwony, Paul Odhiambo and Constable John.

It took a sports fan called Charran Singh to take the great British athletics writer to task, pointing out that: “Stationed all over Kenya you devoted part-time coaches and administrators who worked hard to advance the development of Kenya’s athletic potential and did not seek praise or the limelight. Among these people were Danny Shaw, Eddie Evans (Archie’s brother) Laurie Campbell, Mike Wade and Charles Mukora (who went on to greatness). These quietly disappeared into the Kenyan sunset, shooed away by the new world independent Kenya.

John Velzian was not among these pioneers whose mantle had already incubating in the nursery stage by missionary schools throughout the Rift Valley and none more so than St Patrick’s at Iten. The Kalenjin tribe of the Rift Valley has dominated Kenya and the world since the very first steps were taken in the company of Archie Evans and Ray Batchelor.

Velzian would write his own pages of history, Charran Singh wrote, but it must be remembered that Velzian inherited the already established wealth of athletes, infrastructure and the nursery of budding new athletes who would go on to write their own headlines.

In the final analysis, Ray Batchelor made an enormous contribution to the introduction and development of many sports. He was not only a coach, mentor, trainer … he was also a sports administrator and a general dogsbody who did the minutiae when nobody else would. He lived for his sports men and women because he loved every minute of it. Kenya was his paradise.

IN MALAWI, as national coach of the soccer team, Ray achieved the rare double of beating Zambia in two matches it has never happened before and country went wild. People in the street would come up and thank him personally. Blantyre was venue where I would see him for the last time. I was on my way to the construction site of the then largest dam in Africa, the Cabora Basa. I came to get a visa from the Portuguese mission in Blantyre. I wanted to find exactly who was financing, building and eventually who the join partners were. The Portuguese ambassador said: No. I had time on my hands and I needed to catch up with Ray. I went for a few beers at his delightful home. After being somewhat nudged out of Kenya after unreservedly sacrificing a large part of his life, the former soldier had to leave like most expatriates. When we spoke there were no regrets, we remembered on the good times. Like when Seffie rang me desperately asking for help in getting Ray back to the coast to help with coaching. It took a couple minutes with Sports Minister Ngala Mwendwa and Ray was on the next plane to Mombasa. He was having a ball coaching the national side, working setting up the training and coaching infrastructure for budding athletes, budding schoolboy soccer players, body building and fitness yards, talking to schools and colleges, getting the young girls breaking a few sports ceilings. He had found a wary paradise because after 5 years of unstinting work, Ray would be on the move again nudged by the “old man” fiery President Kamuzu Banda.

No problem. He moved to Natal, South Africa where he opened sports shop and quickly began coaching soccer for youngsters and it was not long before he was celebrating success with his young charges. He took on all sorts of challenges, all to do with sports, sports administration or teach sport techniques. He never lost the ability to smile that everlasting cheeky smile, he knew something you didn’t.

A former British soldier, Ray was a much regimented man, so was his passion. He was a fighter to the last drop in the things he believed in for his charges and what he demanded of his charges. This was often a matter of the young men matching his own passion for whatever he was involved with them. Sometimes, he found some of them lacking. He tried his best to cajole it out of them. Some he failed and they gave up in surrender or other eventualities took place. When I say that he lived for sport, it is not an exaggeration of any kind. Without sport, Ray was lost. Sometimes he disappointed himself. But he never gave up for too long; there was always another fight in him.

That is what I remember best about Ray. His battling spirit for the good of the young folks he coached.
Ray passed away on Sunday, February 5, 2006 in South Africa. RIP my friend.

Coast Province Athletics team, Kenya Championships, Nairobi 1956: 
From left: Albert Castanha, Joe Faria, Lucas Remedios, Winnie Singh (nee D’Souza), Meldrita Viegas, Oscar D’Mello, Brucino D’Souza, Salim Ali, Seraphino Antao. On the ground: Harun Chimoto and Alcino Rodrigues.
Honours gained: First place (2), Second place (3), Third place (4), Fourth place (1). Relays 4X100 second, 4X440 (4th)  Ray: A remarkable performance when one considers we were competing against provincial teams with between 80 and 90 athletes.

·         Special thanks to Claire (Batchelor) Leather for all the help with research and photos.


  PAUL NAZARETH A dedicated clubman Paul Nazareth is typical of the young Goans who grew up in East Africa and Nairobi and Mombasa in ...