Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Goan successes in Uganda

 Uganda Goans

By Armand  Rodrigues


(A work in progress: If you can throw any light on the names or provide other achievers, please contact me on


To put things in perspective and to see things in proper context it is necessary to know how things were in the early years. The points below are by no means exhaustive, are in no sequence, and are just what I can recollect from my service with the Uganda Govt. from 1947 to 1968.

1) Thanks to the Portuguese, Goans gravitated towards a Western lifestyle, when it came to eating drinking, dressing, dancing and worshipping. Recognizing that English was the missing component that would earn them their bread and butter, they delved into English studies. The British knew the Goan well when they ruled India, and they were their preferred recruits, in the colonies too. In East Africa, they were considered to be the “backbone” of the Civil Service.

2) In East Africa, Goans were compartmentalized in the clerical ranks, from start to retirement, regardless of educational attainments. In other words, a University degree was of little benefit to a Goan. The highest he could reach was Chief Clerk. Executive class appointments were the preserve of the British.

3) It should be noted that Goan Civil Servants fell into two categories. Until the early 50s The earlier recruits were designated “Expatriates” and provided with housing and passages to and from Goa, on vacation leave, Others, employed later, were treated as “Locals” and did not have passage privileges. Later. even the “Expatriates” were deprived of passage (to Goa and back)  privileges.

4) The British had three pay scales: European, Asian and African, in descending order of compensation, supposedly based on the respective standards of living of each nationality. Goans accepted the modus operandi, as they felt that they were adequately remunerated and were able to enjoy a better standard of living than their counterparts outside East Africa. After all, the employer had the right to make their own rules, and we could not be choosers.

5) In 1952, the Government decided to admit some Asians into the Executive Class if they passed a written test. Eighty-three of us appeared for the test. Only four of us passed.  Nobby D’Souza and I were two Goans in the foursome. I was promoted to the rank of Executive Officer, a position traditionally held by a Britisher. Eventually, I was promoted to Senior Exec, Off and later to CEO.

6) Relevant to the discussion is the fact that the British Govt. recognized the “change of employer” status that Independence visited on the “expatriates” and had a compensation plan in mind. While Britishers were to be given 8,000 British Pounds each, Goan “expatriates” were slated to receive 4,000 each. Sadly, the three members of the Asian Civil Servants' Association, who were sent to England to consolidate the plan, failed to advance their case, ostensibly because of disagreement among themselves. The Britishers got 12,000 instead!

From the thirties to the fifties, some of the Goans who reached the apex were: P.C.S.C Nazareth, X.E. Almeida, J.M.S. Azavedo, M.F. Lobo, Antu Athaide, Amacinho Martyres, Leo Gama, Bruno Fernandes, Peter Pereira, Antu Rodrigues was the only one to be Administrative Officer in the early 1950s.


After Independence in 1962, Goans moved up quite rapidly in the Civil Service. Some of them were Alvaro Colaco, Ferdinand Rodrigues, Reggie Dias, Eleuterio Sequeira, Armand Rodrigues, Newton Carrasco, Willie Castelino,

In the business world, we had : ENTEBBE: Figueiredos (store), Souza Noronha (store) Antonio Lobo (baker), X.R. Fernandes (tailor), Honorato D'Souza (store), Caetano D'Souza (bar).

 KAMPALA: Norman Godinho (school, hostel, hotel, cinema), Henry Souza Figueiredo (store), R. Almeida (soda), Peter Paul (bar), L. Flores (grocer), C.M. Gomes (tailor), ? Fernandes (bakery).

JINJA: ? Fernandes (bakery), Menezes (bicycles), George Bros. (grocery).

MITYANA: Braganza (store), ? Fernandes (tailor) , MBARARA : Braganza (bar & store):

KABALE: Carvalho Bros. (store/gas station), SOROTI: R. D'Souza (bakery):

MASAKA: Hector Luna (store/bar); L. Pereira (store).



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