Letters from Sonja:  Aunt Gudrun and Ugandan Television in 1964
Arco, Gudrun with Andreas, Michy and Barb.

Letters from Sonja: Aunt Gudrun and Ugandan Television in 1964


We knew James Bwogi.

By Sonja Winklmaier
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First published: June 11, 2007


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June 23rd, 1964 -
We now have a permanent TV set. The children are only allowed to watch TV on Fridays and Saturdays.

My work at the American Embassy has developed quite well. I am now mainly working for the First Secretary who is the political attaché. Apart from that I am working for the Trade attaché. It is a very pleasant job really.
July 23rd, 1964 -
Gudrun arrived in Nairobi together with her baby son Andreas about a week ago. After lengthy discussions Gerd decided to marry Gudrun in spite of Andreas.
July 28th, 1964 -
Gudrun and Gerd will get married as soon as possible.

I read with interest, that you took part in a donation action for East Africa. At the Diocese mentioned (Kisii) is a South
Tyrolean, Father Bartels. He is an excellent sculptor. I have not met him yet but I have admired his sculptures for years.

The Americans wanted me on their permanent staff, but Hubert does not agree that I am working during school holidays. Hubert called our personnel boss and told him that I have to quit working. I have got a very good letter of recommendation which fits nicely in my small collection.

Barbara had chicken pocks. I had to leave her at home with John. Everything went very well.

I have been to a concert in Michys school, which was very good and interesting. It was a farewell event for the music teacher, Mr. Griffith, whose contract came to an end and has not been renewed by the Ugandan Government. This way, one teacher after the other will be leaving. It now depends whether a local music teacher can be found. If not, there will be no more music education. Mr. Griffith was a very good teacher and he was very much liked by the children. He did not only sing and make music with the children, but the children also learned a lot about music history. Michy already knows a lot about
Beethoven, Mozart, Bach und Händel. He is very proud that most musicians come from German speaking countries. There were many German pieces and songs on the program, for instance "Heideröslein" und "Guten Abend, Gute Nacht". Jackie Hitchens, with whom I went to the concert, very soon commented that they only talk about Germany the whole evening.

As far as the TV program is concerned: It perhaps could be better. Tastes, however, are different and it is more than difficult to meet every taste. Apart from the news, there is at least one programme every evening that interests me. I anyway dont have the time to watch every program from A - Z. Maybe the programmes are better in Germany, but here it is just the beginning. The picture - as long as there are no disturbances - is good. TV is governed by the state. Also the sale of TV receivers is ruled by the government. There is only one model in two different sizes on the market. Other TV receivers are not allowed to be imported into Uganda. It is a simple TV receiver from Japan, a kind of
Volksempfänger. This TV receiver gives you a clean and solid impression as - by now - everything from Japan does. Hat off! We have the small one, portable with built-in antenna. The charges are 5 UGS/year.

They run 3 American family series, "Hazel", "Leave it to Beaver" and "Father knows best". Hazel is a household help, Beaver shows an American boy Michys age and his family, Father knows best shows the problems of an American family with their teenage daughter and son. These three programmes are quite entertaining and we watch them. Once every week there is an English play, which has been very good so far. Once a week they show "Science Fiction" a kind of looking into the future on a scientific basis, very interesting. Then there is "International Showtime". European continental Reviews, Circus etc... nice entertainment for the children and favourite program of our African helpers in and around the house, who admire the various performances. The programme is mostly in English. TV in Nairobi shows the Deutschlandspiegel
(a weekly report about Germany) once a week. We are not that far yet, but once a month we can see the Deutschlandspiegel at the German Embassy.

There were, of course, also programs in the vernacular languages. They had two outstanding African TV personalities, a very nice lady from Nigeria, whom I always admired, and
James Bwogi a Ugandan. We knew James Bwogi. Unfortunately he was later killed by Amins people.

We still have got Arco. Gerd does not want to take him to Nairobi and we dont want to part with him.

Arco, Gudrun with Andreas, Michy and Barb
Arco, Gudrun with Andreas, Michy and Barb.

August 17th, 1964 -
Gudrun and Gerd got married in Nairobi on August 8th. Straight after the marriage they came to visit us. The wedding was at 11 oclock in the morning and they arrived here between 8 and 9 oclock in the evening. Yesterday they returned to Nairobi as Gerd has to work again today. If one was not prejudiced I would say that Gudrun is quite a nice girl. Andreas is doing well. Gerd is a surprisingly good dad. He sees to it that Andreas is fed on time etc. The children of course were wondering what their new aunty is like. Michy somehow got a glimpse of Gudrun and I heard him tell Barbara: "She looks like Snow White".

John decided on very short notice to go on leave. So I did not have help in the house while Gerd and his family were here. Then in the middle of the week the pump for the general water supply on
Buziga broke down and we did not have a single drop of water in the house. This is very unpleasant with one has visitors. Fortunately we could connect our own water supply temporary. This should have been ready for a long time, but Hubert is working and has not got too much time for it.

Then Michy fell sick. That is my biggest worry at the moment. He has at the hospital since Friday, but the doctor still does not know what is wrong with him. They did blood tests but have not yet found the problem. He is now a bit more lively since yesterday and he might be allowed home tomorrow where I will have to take care of him at home. His glands are swollen, the eyes are puffed, he has got a fever and a lot of acid in his urine. They first thought he has a
glandular fever. Also a virus infection could be the cause. But we dont know anything fur sure yet. I am really glad I stopped working.

I was already looking forward to having a local vacation for the first time this year. After Gerds visit we, however, decided to start building the extension to the house now very soon, although the times are not that rosy. So we have to forget about the vacation again and once more have to save every penny for the extension.

Michy is at home again. The swelling and the fever disappeared without any medication. The blood tests did not show anything. The doctor now thinks that it was an allergic reaction. Michy looks far better again, but he still does not eat well and he is very thin.
September 22nd, 1964 -
Yesterday we had 10 cm of hail the size of marbles in Kampala.
October 30th, 1964 -
Unfortunately John has left. We had a dispute about the water. I had to tell him, that he has to be more careful with the water. He then came in the house this morning without having had a bath. I told him, that I dont like that. He argued that I had told him not to use so much water. He felt offended and decided to leave after 3 years. I was very sorry about this. He was a very good and reliable person. I did not want to offend him, but I had to tell him.

When we met John years later, he was very pleased to see us again specially the children. He was very fond of them. I am still thinking of John and I am still sorry that I offended John. He was the kind of person that must have come from a very good family.

I do my housework by myself again. We just can not go out in the evenings together, as I have nobody to watch the children.

At last the water-tank is ready now and we dont have a water problem anymore.
November 17th, 1964 -
Last Saturday I took Barbara with me to the theatre. We watched the first Ugandan dance troupe that will be touring Europe with the program "The Heartbeat of Africa". The program is very well produced. The costumes are really good. In case this troupe is coming to Stuttgart I would highly recommend it to you. The dances on stage are not quite as impressive as in open air where I have seen African dances. The dust-clouds are missing on stage . Instead a lot has been done with light effects. It is a bit loud on stage, but I am sure that this troupe will have a lot of success abroad. In case you are able to watch them - or any other African dance troupe - I would recommend you to choose seats more in the back, preferably on the balcony. You must, however, take your opera-glasses with you, in order not only to see the very noble figures of the dancers but also their interesting faces. The girls are dancing with their upper body bare. They are very young and beautiful girls. It is all very natural.

Its been raining again since yesterday. The garden is looking very nice already. Apart from that I am glad for every drop of water that runs into our tank. We are now almost independent of the general water supply on Buziga. Only the water for the washing machine is still connected to the water-supply of Buziga because this has better pressure. All other water we use is now from our water tank and I am sure that Hubert will be able to increase the water pressure.

I had a letter from Gudrun in which she describes the new house they have rented. That is a really funny story. Hubert helped designing that house. The main house was the house in which the Kruegels lived and where
our wedding reception took place. The guest-house into which Gerd and his family are moving, was built by Kruegels brother-in-law, Mr. Lustman. Kruegel, who also is an architect now, did his practical course at Mr. Lustmans office. Hubert and Kruegel together worked out the plans for the house and now Gerd is living in it.

Another German family moved to Buziga Hill. Herr Rüttinger comes from
Würzburg. At the moment he is still by himself. His wife and their 3 children - all girls unfortunately for Michy - are to follow in a week. He is working for UNICEF. They are living in the house next to the one Gerd used to live in. This was a real surprise when somebody arrived in our yard and introduced himself in German as our new neighbour.
December 14th, 1964 -
Gerd, Gudrun and Andreas are coming to visit us for Christmas.

Click here to continue to "Murchison Falls in 1965"

By Sonja Winklmaier
more from author >>
First published: June 11, 2007
Sonja Winklmaier moved to Uganda in the 1950s to follow her husband, Hubert Winklmaier, as the German Volkswagen Factory sent him to work with their agent, Cooper Motor Corporation.

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