Raila Odinga has unveiled details of his girlfriend. While studying mechanical engineering at Magdeburg in Germany, the son of Jaramogi met a German girl whom they would turn out to share a lot in common.
In his book Flames of Freedom, Raila writes that he met Hildegund Ruge, who was often referred to as Hilde, and she was one of his year-mates. However, Hilde was in a different seminar group studying chemical engineering.
“As I was the only African in a group of more than 300 students, it was not surprising that we became friends. Hilde came and sat by me one day in the dining hall and we struck up an easy conversation. I told her I was from Kenya. She did not know where Kenya was; in those days, African countries in the news were Ghana and Nigeria,” Raila recalls in his memoir.
The German was fascinated about Africa, and the two would, later on, discover that they had a lot in common.
“Hilde and I discovered a common love for theatre and German literature and generally found much of mutual interest. I walked her back to the women’s halls, about a quarter-of-a-mile beyond ours, and after that we met up often, chatting, going to the theatre and eating out. I came in for a lot of teasing from my friends but Hilde and I remained friends close for about a year,” Odinga goes on to jot down.
Despite the closeness the two had, their love story finally faded six months later. He would, however, not remain single for long as he instantly met another lady he only referred to as Margita.
Margita was a teacher at a school in Arendsee, a town north-west of Magdeburg. Raila describes Arendsee as a pretty holiday resort on the shores of an inland sea.
The two would travel back and forth to visit each other.
“I stayed with her several times and would take my books to study while she was working. We went to the lake in the summer and it was a very happy and pleasant time. When she visited me, we would go for walks along the River Elbe, which followed through the town, sometimes taking a ride on the luxury steamers that piled the waterway,” Raila ponders back on the fond memories.
“We would cycle out into the countryside, and sometimes watch the horse-racing at the Herrenkrug racecourse. We went to concerts, including one by American blues singer Louis ‘Satchmo’ Armstrong, where I was drafted in as interpreter and stood on the stage with him. Satchmo’s talent electrified the town,” Raila passionately remembers.