President of Uganda Idi Amin – Doughnut Vendor and Light Heavyweight Boxing Champion
Idi Amin of Uganda is known throughout the world as one of Africa’s most brutal dictators. Some reports claim that he personally ordered the slaughter of 500,000 people. He ruled with absolute authority and terror, but his career path started from much stranger beginnings. Amin gave his official birth date on January 1, 1925, but said that he had no idea of when he was born, either in 1924 or 1925.
Abandoned by his father, he grew up with his mother’s family at Koboko as part of the Kakwa tribe. He went to school up until the fourth grade and from there did odd jobs while his mother worked as an herbalist (though some called her a sorceress).
It was during his childhood that he started to make money for himself selling a type of Ugandan doughnut called mandazi. It was a job he kept from the age of 9 until he was hired as an assistant cook by the King’s African Rifles (KAR) in 1946. The KAR was a division of the British Colonial Army and over the years he worked his way up through the ranks. By 1961 he was promoted to Lieutenant and become one of the first Ugandan officers in the British Colonial Army. Part of the reason for his rising through the ranks was his athletic ability. Amin was adept at swimming and was a good rugby forward. From 1951 until 1960, he was also the Ugandan light heavyweight boxing champion.
Amin was promoted by Prime Minister Milton Obote to Army Commander in 1966, at which point Amin began building a strong network of followers. In 1971, a rift between Obote and Amin caused Amin to use his troops to seize the power of the country. He declared himself President and thus began one of the most terrifying reigns in the history of the African continent.