Letters from Sonja:  Uganda gets its Independence
Independence Monument by Gregory Maloba, 1962.

Letters from Sonja: Uganda gets its Independence


I am convinced that development here now will be advancing at an even faster pace.

By Sonja Winklmaier
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First published: October 9, 2006


Click Here: Previously on "Letters from Sonja: We had Snow!"


Unfortunately I only recently found out, that my letter about Independence is missing in the file. I can only presume that my dad found this letter so interesting that he took it out again and forgot to put it back. Only the last page of the letter was there.

Undated last page of my letter:

The other picture shows Mr. Maloba, a Ugandan sculptor, with one of his works. Maloba is also the artist who made the Independence Statue that was erected in Kampala. I have not yet seen this statue, but the bust on the enclosed clipping in my opinion is very good.
So that's what I had to say about our Independence...


In an email to UGPulse.com's Peter Kigonya dated 7th August 2006, Sonja writes:

Hi Peter, today I actually wanted to start writing about the time after Independence. When I went through my letters of 1963 I found the missing page of my letter regarding Independence. I must have suffered from Alzheimer's already then as I misdated the letter with October 15th, 1963. So the letter was misfiled due to my mistake.

I have now in a hurry changed my letter about Independence. I do hope it does not give you too many problems. I am very sorry indeed.

With a separate e-mail I also send you some more clippings from the Uganda Argus, which you might want to use.


October 15th, 1962

Thank you for your letter dated October 2nd. Due to the Independence festivities the letter only arrived now.

For the past 6 days we are already living in a free, independent Uganda! That was a really long weekend: Saturday, Sunday, Queens Day, October 9th Independence Day and another holiday on Wednesday in honour of the state visit of the Duke and Duchess of Kent.


Duke and Duchess of Kent arrive in Uganda
Duke and Duchess of Kent arrive in Uganda.

King George Rukidi III, Omukama of Toro I just listened to a speech by the King of Toro which was broadcast on Radio Uganda. Only today is the last day of celebrations in some parts of the country. The Duke and Duchess of Kent have visited all the kingdoms of Uganda as well as all the provinces and they will only be returning to Entebbe today.

Tomorrow the Duchess of Kent will consecrate the Mulago Hospital, which will be the last function in connection with Independence.

All the holidays were really very quiet and peaceful. We did not really expect any disturbances, but perhaps drunken people etc. But the people here were very disciplined and there was not the slightest incidence. This is a really good start for a new country and I can only hope and wish that it carries on like that. I can see real good chances for a prosperous Uganda. After the holidays the people all returned to work again.

I am sure that there will be pictures about Uganda's Independence in the news-reel. If possible look at them. Perhaps there is something on TV too.

We had decided not to go anywhere without the children during these days. When we however saw how peaceful everything is we started to go out more. We, for instance, went to Entebbe to watch a regatta of African rowing boats and an air show by jet fighter planes. On this occasion we met the Russian delegation in an American car!!! That was the best - in a real capitalist Pontiac. They all were very good looking people, tall, slim, blond and very well dressed. Only the "Hammer and Sickle" showed that they were Russian.

At the Airport in Entebbe we also watched the arrival of the Prime Minister of Tanganyika, Mr. Kawawa. Very interesting really, how quick times change! On the return trip, which was quite trying as there was record traffic, we admired the illuminated Kampala. Kampala really is a pretty town and most of the bigger buildings went up during our time.

During Independence night we had a barbeque at our neighbours and at midnight the children were allowed to see the fireworks as we don't only see the lake from our house, but we also get a good view of Kampala. Our neighbours lit up a big bonfire and we also woke up the people working for us to see the fireworks.

On IndependenceDay I went to Kampala together with the children and we watched a procession which also was a great success.

Parliament House, Kampala which accomodates the Chamber of the National Assembly
Parliament House, Kampala which accomodates the Chamber of the National Assembly was started in Febuary 1958. It was inaugurated for use in September 1960.
from Uganda Independence October 9th 1962 Souvenir Programme.

On Tuesday there was a festive opening of Parliament by the Duke and Duchess of Kent, who represented the Queen. Uganda is a member of the Commonwealth and therefore, the Queen as head of the Commonwealth is also the head of Uganda or Queen of Uganda.

Germany was represented during Independence by Bundesminister Luecke. The German Konsul gave a reception in his honour on Friday evening. After the party we were talking with Mr. Luecke for a long time. He is a typical Rheinlšnder and therefore very talkative. But he certainly told us in a very nice way about his experience with Konrad Adenauer.

I enclose two clippings of the Uganda Argus today: On the one you can see part of the 70 different flags that were flying in Kampala during Independence.

Flags of 70 Lands

The other picture shows Mr. Maloba, a Ugandan sculptor, with one of his works. Maloba is also the artist who made the Independence Statue that was erected in Kampala. I have not yet seen this statue, but the bust on the enclosed clipping in my opinion is very good.

Gregory Maloba
Gregory Maloba

The whole family went to Kampala and we positioned ourselves on the roof of Baumann House from were we could watch the festivities taking place in front of Parliament Building. The children had Uganda paper flags and were waving them enthusiastically. There were also plastic badges with the Ugandan flag on them. Everything was really very colourful.

In the days before Independence the Uganda air force was busy practicing for a fly-over during the Independence celebrations. There also was a firework in the evening and a Military Tattoo. We did not attend any official celebrations but took part in the celebrations on the street.

The Uganda flag now is striped in the colours red, black and yellow with a Crested Crane in the centre. The colours have the following meaning:

Red stands for the brotherhood of men, black for the African people and yellow for the sunshine.

The German Government gave 15 VW Ambulances to the people of Uganda for Independence.

The 15 ambulances from the people of Germany to the people of Uganda
The 15 ambulances from the people of Germany to the people of Uganda
The 15 ambulances from the people of Germany to the people of Uganda
The 15 ambulances from the people of Germany to the people of Uganda on the occasion of their Independence Day
The 15 ambulances from the people of Germany to the people of Uganda on the occasion of their Independence Day.

Driver of the German Ambassador in front of Parliament Building
Driver of the German Ambassador in front of Parliament Building.

Hubert directing the driver to position the ambulances in front of Parliament building
Hubert directing the driver to position the ambulances in front of Parliament building.

We now have a small Japanese transistor radio. That's really interesting. With that little box, which has a built-in antenna and is about the size of a ladies handbag I can listen to the Deutsche Welle from Cologne without any problem. The reception is extremely good. That is simply super. By the way, Kenya already has TV. I am wondering when we will be getting TV in Uganda. And with all that we forget that it was only in 1931 that the railway came to Kampala. Uganda has now been a British protectorate for 68 years. When one thinks seriously, in spite of everything, a lot has been done here within a short span of time. And I am convinced that development here now will be advancing at an even faster pace. Uganda now is being offered development aid from all sides.

Tomorrow morning I will go shopping for the first time since Independence.

Click here to continue to "The Rest of 1962"

By Sonja Winklmaier
more from author >>
First published: October 9, 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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