By Our Reporter.
During the reign of Seyyid Said Bin Sultan in Zanzibar, Omani traders travelled deep inside Africa from the African Coast on foot crossing through dangerous swampy landscapes and bushes with high risks of being attacked by wild animals, snakes and insect bites with the aim of trading and spreading Islam.
The Sultanate of Oman is linked with the Republic of Uganda with close historical ties. The caravans carried out by Omani merchants in the mid-eighteenth century had a major role in the entry and spread of Islam in the Republic of Uganda. The impact of this spread was that the Omanis left many different Omani cultures, customs and traditions.
In this book, the writer highlights the intensity of Oman’s history that has become part of the Ugandan people’s Heritage and Culture. By virtue of the writer’s upbringing and education in Uganda, his deep knowledge of the relations of the two countries and their historical legacy was evident, and he was a strong motive for recording events, attitudes, customs and popular legacies and documenting them with pictures and documents that support and bring out his message
There is no doubt that this book represents a scientific addition and a great knowledge value to the history of the Omanis in the Republic of Uganda and sheds light on the long legacy they left there and had a clear impact in promoting the values of Islam.
This documentation represents the beginning of research and exploration in the historical relations between the Sultanate of Oman and the Republic of Uganda, and what brings them together from the ancient historical ties.
This book has part of an article about ‘Bait al Fouqi’ – the locals called it ‘The House Arabs’ which was a landmark at Iganga District in Uganda. The Bait al Fouqi, article was published in various media, and it was remarkable in the way of presentation, narration, and the great information that it contained. We hope it will be a scientific addition to readers, researchers and students of science. We also hope UNESCO record these Historic Achievements between the two countries.
The Omani Arabs are probably among the first settlers in East Africa, tracing back to the 17th Century, Little is known about Omani Arabs settling in Uganda by many scholars. This book discovered the truth, profile and the historical achievements and contributions to the development of Ugandan culture, religion and heritage as many still live on.
Like the British Prime Minister Winston Churchill said; Uganda is the “Pearl of Africa”, many foreign races and nationals were attracted to Uganda due to the beauty of the country. Uganda is also admired by The Equator at Kayabwe Masaka road. If you are on one side of the Equator, objects move clockwise and when you are on the other side things move anticlockwise.
During the reign of Seyyid Said Bin Sultan in Zanzibar, Omani traders travelled deep inside Africa from the African Coast on foot crossing through dangerous swampy landscapes and bushes with high risks of being attacked by wild Animals, Snakes and insect bites.
According to Mohamed Nasser Ammar al-harthi, an elder currently living in Oman and one of the grand children of Mohamed Rashed al-Sinawi, an Omani who settled and lived in Busoga in Uganda as well as living in Seh al-Afiya, Ibra Sultanate of Oman.
He said that Uganda the Pearl of Africa is a beautiful country with its favorable climate and fertile soils and welcoming people at source of River Nile in Jinja, the fresh water Lake Victoria and the natural forest cover at Mabira, are among the natural features that attracted many Omani Arabs. Last it became a habitant for many other foreigners who came to work and settle in Uganda.
As narrated by Mr. Mohamed Nasser Ammar al-harthi an Elder who was raised and brought up in Uganda and currently staying in Oman.
Mr. Mohamed Nasser Ammar al-harthi, shared his life and experience in Uganda. He said: “I picked up a pen to put the sweet memories in writing to share his experience with the world, as well as convey gratitude to our ancestors both in Uganda and Oman and to the Ugandan Community that raised me”.
Mohamed Nasser Ammar al-harthi narrates that he was raised and brought up in Uganda before returning to Oman where he presently lives.
The Arab traders from Oman to Africa travelled by Dhow from Oman to the East African Coast and then travelled a distance of over 1200km from Mombasa in Kenya on foot, crossing dangerous swampy landscapes and thickets (forests) hidden with wildlife and insects, seeking business opportunities and introducing of Islam.
“During the reign of Seyyid Said bin Sultan in Zanzibar, Omanis travelled deep inside Africa from the East African Coast and Uganda was one of the major destinations for Omanis.
In 1844, Ahmed bin Ibrahim al Amri, who introduced Islam to the King of Buganda in Uganda, was the first Omani and foreigner to enter Uganda.
As an adult now, the memories of growing up and attaining early education in Uganda, “The Pearl of Africa” are alive and fresh as though it just happened yesterday.
We believe and hoping these mutual historical Influences would be recognized and recorded with UNESCO.
“True Nations with history have influenced other nations in many ways and Oman and Omanis have not been an exception in influencing other nations with benefits to suit their ways of life. One of these nations was Uganda in East Africa, a landlocked country deep inside the African continent” said Mr Mohamed Nasser Ammar al-harthi .
Mr. Mohamed Nasser Ammar al-harthi further narrates that, Uganda, which may be lesser known to have historical links with Oman by the new younger generation, is still a safe haven for many Omanis, and the country which hails from a diversity of rich culture and without forgetting its remarkably hospitality..
Some of the grown up Omanis now living in Oman celebrating Eid with Omani Razfa dance which old Omani forefathers brought to Uganda and East Africa.
Mr. Mohamed Nasser Ammar al-harthi said that other Omanis and other foreigners- Europeans, Yemeni, Somalis,
Author of the book is Mr Mohamed Nasser Ammar al-Harthi