Mourning a life lost in Uganda

In 1976, the Sabune family lost their idealistic brother to the brutal dictatorship of Idi Amin in Uganda. The Philadelphia Inquirer reports how the family came together to mourn and remember these many years later:

In August 1976 – the family believes it was the 19th – an anonymous telex went to one of the brothers, Charles, warning him that James should leave immediately. Charles plotted an escape. James wouldn’t go. He had lunch that day with his father, then stopped by a brother’s club, the Angel Noire – Black Angel. Later he was at his sister’s home when a soldier – a friend of another sister’s husband – warned James to leave right then. To run.

But it was too late. Two of the security men watching James told him that the fuel he had requested was waiting for him at the State Research Bureau. He had to go pick it up. James went. “Was that reckless? Was that faith in the human capacity for goodness? To this day we don’t know,” Petero said at yesterday’s gathering.

A sister, Harriet Puva Othieno, was with James when he was told to go. She believes James knew that if he ran, the family would suffer.

Until yesterday there had been just one service, said his brother Petero, an Episcopal priest who relatives said looks, sounds, and acts strikingly like James. In honor of James’ 65th birthday, though, and with a bit of good luck, three generations of Sabunes gathered at the Rutgers School of Law in Camden to remember him.

Read more here.

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