Ismailimail Exclusive: Voyage of discovery, struggle and hardship stretched over three continents

“It was a real struggle marred by insults and open discrimination to settle in Canada,” says retired journalist Sultan Jessa. “But, a strong determination to succeed kept us going.”

MONTREAL – Quebec. This is a remarkable story of an enterprising young man leaving his ancestral India for a better, more productive and a prosperous life in Africa.

“We always considered Africa our new home after living there for three generations,” explains retired journalist Sultan Jessa. “We never thought we would have to leave Africa. But, we had no choice…we were literally driven out.” His grandfather, Hasham Jessa, was among thousands sailing in a shaky dhow from India to Mombasa, Kenya, to help British colonizers with the massive railway project. A combination of famines in India and plentiful employment opportunities in East Africa prompted a huge exodus from India in the 19th century.

The mass nationalization of ventures in early 1970s in Tanzania resulted in a deteriorating political situation, compelling Sultan and his family to migrate to Canada. Sultan’s parents owned and operated many businesses, including a 300-acre coffee plantation, a bakery and a dairy; the family lost everything when Tanzania nationalized business and properties without compensation.

Read about Sultan Jessa’s voyage.


Author: ismailimail

Independent, civil society media featuring Ismaili Muslim community, inter and intra faith endeavors, achievements and humanitarian works.

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