Letters from Sonja: Something is Happening in Kampala!
At the trade fair in Jinja at the CMC stall.

Letters from Sonja: Something is Happening in Kampala!


As many Europeans leave Kampala as Independence day approaches, people of different nationalities are moving in and Kampala is as diverse as ever as a number of Africans move into positions of authority.

By Sonja Winklmaier
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First published: June 29, 2006


Click Here: Previously on "Letters from Sonja: Will it Float?"


July 2nd, 1962 -

The theft of Gerd's wheels has cost him 500 UGS. His finances are therefore rather low. He paid the last installment on his car on July 1st and as of next month he should be OK again. He is taking in Mr. Tessin as a lodger. He is as old as Gerd. He was born in Dar-es-Salaam and has been in an internment camp in Rhodesia. Miss Weigt is the Secretary of the German Consulate, which was opened today. Last Friday the new German Consul in Uganda gave a party und we have met the momentary representatives of the BRD. They are the Consul, Dr. Wersdörfer, who came from Japan, the chancellor, Mr. Herold from Ravensburg, who came from Zurich and Miss Weigt from Cologne. It is her first assignment abroad. I guess she is in her early 20s and all the bachelors in Kampala are crazy about this new addition to Kampala. Two or three Secretaries are to follow and so are the 15 and 20 year old daughters of Mr. Herold.

Something is happening in Kampala! Everything seems to be changing over night. As of October 9th the Consulate will be an Embassy. The Ambassador and the remaining personnel will be arriving prior to this date. I was wearing my first self-sewn cocktail dress for the party. I used a dark-blue pure silk brocade and it turned out rather well. I chose a simple pattern, but I could spend a bit more on the material as I made the dress myself and the result is really good.

We have got new neighbours now. At last the Americans have rented the house. Mr. Cairie is the political attacheé of the American Embassy. They are a young people with three children: Douglas is as old as Michy, Anne is 8 years old and William is 9. Michy finally has some boys to play with. He very quickly realized that Douglas is in the same class as he and since then he goes to the Amis und the American children come over often. Now he does not have to depend on girls only. On the other hand he also has some competition now. But the boys rather like to stay by themselves and the girls also stay by themselves now.

We have now broken down the old water tank. Our yard at the moment looks like after an air raid. I am hoping that everything will be cleared up soon. Then the house will get newly plastered, at least on the backside- what actually is the entrance to the house. The whole yard around the house in the back will be a large lawn.


John Hanning Speke
John Hanning Speke.

Last Sunday we went to Jinja. In memory of the discovery of the Source of the Nile by J.H. Speke 100 years ago, there was a trade fair in Jinja, which we wanted to see. The newly opened Crested Crane Hotel in Jinja is very nice. Our new hotels can easily compete with the ones in Europe.

At the trade fair in Jinja at the CMC stall
At the trade fair in Jinja at the CMC stall.

August 3rd, l962 -

We have booked a voyage to Venice for next year. At the moment we are still on the waiting list.

Unfortunately our American neighbours are already moving away again. They were called back to Washington. The children played very nicely together. They were the first boys that lived on the hill. Americans will move in again and I do hope that they also have children in Michy's age range. Barbara is talking very nicely now and every second word is "OK" in a real American slang. William and Douglas will still be really nice playmates for Michael for another few days.

Before the end of term the children had a sports day at school. Unfortunately Michy talked far too much again and missed the start every time. He, of course, did not win a price but got a badge saying "also ran". He, nevertheless, was very proud of it. As there are now more and more African children at Nakasero School this "also ran" was valid for most of the European children. The African children were the winners all the time.

When the late John Akii-Bua later won a gold medal in the Olympics, this did not surprise me at all, as I always remembered what good runners the African children were.

I have been to the theatre again twice, once it was a play and once a comic opera Lolanthe by Gilbert and Sullivan. It was quite good and I am always surprised what talented people can be found in this small Kampala. They are all lay people who sing, play, dance and make music.

I am sure I have told you already that Hubert in the meantime has got a sender. We do hope, that he will get a licence. The sender works very well. Someone from the radio ham club in Kampala has tried it out and we had contact with Germany. It is really interesting. Sometimes the conditions are so excellent, that it works better than the phone. But these conditions change from time to time.

Lolanthe by Gilbert & Sullivan Lithograph
Lolanthe by Gilbert & Sullivan Lithograph.
Image Source: ROYKAS

August 16th, 1962 -

All houses on Buziga are now occupied again. Many Europeans are now leaving the country, but more and more non-Africans come to Uganda. So far already the Chinese, Russians, Japanese and so on have arrived. Also more and more Africans have come into higher positions and are moving into the houses that were occupied by Europeans before. These days, quite naturally, Africans also live in the very best parts of Kampala. On Buziga though, you only find Europeans. Africans live at the bottom of the hill. They are all farmers.

We really live like in the countryside. Without exaggerating, this is by far the nicest place around Kampala. Whoever does not know Buziga does not expect that. It is in the middle of the bush although we are only 6 miles away from the Kampala city centre.

Wasn't it a super achievement by the two Russian space ships?
[They flew simultaneously]

From Wikipedia:

Cosmonaut Andrian Nikolayev
Cosmonaut Andrian Nikolayev.

Vostok 3 was a mission in the Soviet space program.

Vostok 3 and Vostok 4 were launched a day apart, and together these missions were the first time that more than one manned spacecraft was in orbit at the same time, giving Soviet mission controllers the opportunity of learning how to manage this scenario.

Vostok 3 was manned by Andrian Nikolayev, who reported sighting the Vostok 4 capsule after it entered orbit near him. The cosmonauts aboard the two capsules also communicated with each other via radio, the first ship-to-ship communications in space.

A final "first" for Vostok 3 was Nikolayev's taking of colour movie footage of the Earth from orbit.


A few days ago apparently a rocket, presumably of South African origin, was sighted over East Africa.

Hubert is imagining already a nice cartoon showing the Americans landing on the moon. On their arrival they are asked for a visa by a Russian guard.

Barbara now only sleeps in the afternoon. In the morning she is busy helping me with the cooking and specially tasting the food. Michy never seems to be hungry, but Barbara is a real glutton and tries everything, no matter whether it is raw potato peels, eggshells or dog food. I indeed have to be more than careful that she does not eat anything dangerous. She got a little stool (basket work) from Gerd the other day. She always brings that little stool to the kitchen so that she can climb up and look on the counter and does not miss anything. As soon as I open the refrigerator, Barbara is thirsty and when I open the food storage cabinet she is getting hungry and needs a biscuit. She is talking quite a lot now and when she has nothing better to do, she suddenly starts to say all the words she knows. She now has a quite noticeable horsetail and everybody admires her curls. I think the curls are getting less though. But she also is very willful. She already wants to decide what she is going to wear and what not. She sometimes needs a smack on her bottom.

Michy now is getting better and better. He does not have to be told off so often anymore. He now considers good manners very important. It is surprising how fast children grow up. He is so anxious to know what you are going to say when you see him again. I must not tell you, that he will soon be 6 years old. He rather wants to surprise you when he comes to Germany.

Barbara at about 2 yrs with her stool and Michy
Barbara at about 2 yrs with her stool and Michy.

Michy is looking forward very much to coming to Germany again and he tells Barbara very enthusiasticly about Germany. There was a time when he did not want to go to Germany, but now he is getting really interested in Germany. He remembers so many things and wants to see all this again now as a big boy.

Click here to continue to "We had Snow!"

By Sonja Winklmaier
more from author >>
First published: June 29, 2006
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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