Sikh in Africa
The Uganda railway was named the 'Lunatic Express' and dates back to the colonial times. Its entire 660 mile length actually lay in what would become Kenya. Construction on the project began in 1896 at the port city of Mombasa in British East Africa and it was completed in 1901 at the line's terminus, in Kisumu on the eastern shore of Lake Victoria. Construction was carried out mainly by labourers from British India. Nearly 32,000 (many from Punjab) were brought in due to lack of indigenous labour. They were a competent group of engineers, artisans and laborers who were already well accustomed to the tropical conditions.
Approximately 2500 men lost their lives to disease, man- eating lions and hostile local tribes. Most of the surviving Indians returned home, 6,724 decided to remain after the line's completion, creating a community of Indian East Africans.