Sarah Kyolaba

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Sarah Kyolaba
Sarah Kyolaba.jpg
First Lady of Uganda
In office
2 August 1975 – 11 April 1979
President Idi Amin
Preceded by Miria Obote
Succeeded by Hannah Lule
Personal details
Born 1955
Uganda
Died 11 June 2015 (aged 59)
London, England
Cause of death Cancer
Nationality Ugandan
Residence London
Known for Wife of Idi Amin

Sarah Kyolaba, also known by her stage name "Suicide Sarah" (1955 – 11 June 2015), was Ugandan dictator Idi Amin's fifth and last-surviving wife. She met Amin when she was a 19-year-old go-go dancer and they married in 1975. The couple had three children but Kyolaba left Amin after he went into exile and she found her way to England where she ran a restaurant and later a hair salon. She was deposed in 1979 and died from cancer in 2015.

Early life[edit]

Sarah Kyolaba was born in Uganda in 1955.[1]

Idi Amin[edit]

Kyolaba met Idi Amin when she was a 19-year-old go-go dancer in the so-called Revolutionary Suicide Mechanised Regiment Band of the Ugandan Army.[2] That led to her nickname, "Suicide Sarah".[3][4] The couple married in Kampala in 1975 in a ceremony where Yasser Arafat was the best man.[3] The wedding banquet was reported to have cost the equivalent of £2 million.[1] Kyolaba was said to have been Amin's "favourite" wife.[4]

Kyolaba had been in a relationship with a man in Masaka[1] when she met Amin, and on 25 December 1974 gave birth to his child. Amin had the child's birth announced on television as his own, and the real father soon disappeared.[3]

When Amin was forced to leave Uganda in 1979, Kyolaba went with him to exile first Libya and then to Saudi Arabia, where they eventually settled in Jeddah. Kyolaba separated from Amin in 1982. She travelled to Germany[which?] with Faisal Wangita, one of her four children (three with Amin), where she claimed asylum and worked as a lingerie model. She later moved to London.[3]

Life in London[edit]

From 1997 until at least 1998, Kyolaba ran Krishna's Restaurant in Upton Road, West Ham, London, which served dishes such as stewed goat, muchomo (barbecued meat with salad) and ekigere (cow hoof in gravy).[2] However, it was closed down for a time in November 1997 after environmental health inspectors found cockroaches and mice in the kitchen. Kyolaba avoided jail by pleading guilty.[1][2][3] At Snaresbrook Crown Court, she received a two-year conditional discharge and had to pay £1,000 towards prosecution costs.[1][5]

After Amin's death in Jeddah in 2003, Kyolaba called him a "true African hero" and a "wonderful father",[3] adding, "He was just a normal person, not a monster. He was a jolly person, very entertaining and kind".[3]

On 3 August 2007, her son, Faisal Wangita, was convicted of conspiracy to wound and jailed for five years for involvement in the gang murder of an 18-year-old Somali man. He was deported to Uganda after the end of his sentence.[1][3]

Death[edit]

Kyolaba died from cancer on 11 June 2015 in London's Royal Free Hospital.[4]

At the time of her death, she was running a hair salon in Tottenham, north London and living nearby in Palmers Green.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f "Sarah Amin Is Dead". Red Pepper. 12 June 2015. Retrieved 16 June 2015. 
  2. ^ a b c "Hiding away in an east London caf". Mail & Guardian. 3 July 1998. Retrieved 16 June 2015. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Nadia, Khomami (16 June 2015). "Idi Amin widow's life of tumult ends quietly in north London". The Guardian. Retrieved 16 June 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c Nakajubi, Gloria (15 June 2015). "Ugandan dictator Idi Amin's widow Sarah Kyolaba dies in the UK aged 59". The Independent. Retrieved 16 June 2015. 
  5. ^ "Amin's wife escapes jail for cockroach café". BBC. 23 February 1999. Retrieved 17 June 2015.