exodus

Asia | Africa | Europe

by Raminder Kaur

Directed by Mukul Ahmed

Based on real-life stories, Exodus tells the story of the expulsion of Indians from the paradisical lands of Uganda to a freezing cold Britain in 1972. 

From headmistress to seamstress, Jiji mourns her lost husband while fighting for workers’ rights. Reema becomes a rasta-punk, a lively follower of reggae, punk and anti-racist politics. Meanwhile, her frenemy, Aanya, becomes a fan of the right-wing Margaret Thatcher that changed Britain forever 

From dhows to airplanes, saris to bellbottoms, and K.L Saigal to the Clash, each stake out new lives in the tempestuous climate of 1970s Britain.

The script for Exodus was a finalist in the esteemed BOLD Playwright competition in 2023. It was inspired by oral histories collected by Lata Desai and Rolf Killius.

Funded by Arts Council England.

Synopsis

Exodus: Asia, Africa, Europe is based on real-life stories of migrants from India to Uganda who were then expelled by Idi Amin in 1972 and came to live in England. It centres on the story of Jiji, the mother of Reema, and their lives growing up in UK with a husband who disappeared in Uganda during the turmoil. Whether he lived or died nobody knows even though Jiji holds on to the hope that he may still be alive.   

While Jiji reflects on her dhow journey from Indian to African shores, we also go through the lives of Jiji and Reema in 1970s UK. Once a headmistress in Uganda, Jiji becomes a seamstress. Once into her toys and puppets, Reema becomes a rasta-punk, a lively follower of reggae, punk and anti-racist politics. Her Ugandan-Indian friend, Aanya becomes a fan of Margaret Thatcher. The story then follows the young girls’ frenemy-relationship until they hit a raw nerve in a college disco and end up in a fiery brawl. They eventually decide to agree on the motto of ‘each to their own’, and pursue their own journeys of reconciliation.