elizabeth-bagaaya

On November 28, 1974, President Idi Amin unceremoniously removed Elizabeth Bagaaya, princess of Toro, from her position as foreign affairs minister, only eight months after her appointment and just a few days after releasing her from house arrest. By her account, she was fired for rebuffing his romantic overtures and refusing to marry him. Several months later, she fled the country disguised as a “simple village girl”. (x)

On November 28, 1974, President Idi Amin unceremoniously removed Elizabeth Bagaaya, princess of Toro, from her position as foreign affairs minister, only eight months after her appointment and just a few days after releasing her from house arrest. By her account, she was fired for rebuffing his romantic overtures and refusing to marry him. Several months later, she fled the country disguised as a “simple village girl”.

Costumed Twist: Dressed a Chinese cheongsam, African princess Elizabeth Bagaaya, 25, daughter of the Omukama of Toro, dances the Twist with Anthony Ponte, 23, of the Dragoon Guards, at a fancy dress party in London. The princess is a Cambridge coed.

This photo is from 1962. That year Princess Elizabeth gained a law degree from Cambridge University, and Uganda gained its independence from the United Kingdom.

a music class at Gayaza High School
early 1950s

If you look in the top right corner you will find Princess Elizabeth Bagaaya of Toro. Here are some words from her time at the school as taken from her autobiography Elizabeth of Toro: The Odyssey of an African Princess thankfully transcribed by Edward Nobel Bisamunyu:

I remember there was one little girl in our class who was extremely poor (her family lived in a grass hut), but Mary Mawano was always top in geometry, chemistry and English. The headmistress, Joan Cox, took us for English. She was a woman of great erudition and inspired respect from everyone. One day she walked into class and at once asked someone to spell the word ‘psychology’. We all began with an s until Mary Mawano advanced timidly to the blackboard and wrote the letter p. We roared with laughter – and received a stony look from Miss Cox. 

Unbeknown to me, the Chinese Revolution had come about with all its mighty upheavals, and was inadvertently responsible for the next upheaval in my own life. For many years Sherborne School for Girls in Dorset, England, had enjoyed an exchange arrangement with a distinguished private school in Peking. But Mao’s Revolution did away with that congenial contract, and so the indomitable headmistress, Dame Diana Reader Harris, sought an international alternative. In 1957, she visited Gayaza High School. I do not remember her visit to our classroom but she did not forget me. She was so struck by my appearance that she asked Miss Cox who I was and all about me. She did not allow her initial impression to fade; it seemed she was determined to have me at Sherborne. Two years later, I was to leave Entebbe Airport to become the first student link between Sherborne and Africa.

from Gayaza 1950-1980 via HIPU