Hans-Ulrich Duwendag discovered the special status of the Beetle in East African Rwanda soon after taking up office at the German Embassy in Kigali in the 1960s. Not long before, at a reception hosted by the Ambassador for Rwandan Ministers, the Ambassador’s secretary had tried in vain to keep the parking space immediately in front of the entrance free for Rwanda’s then President Grégoire Kayibanda, because the diminutive driver of a battered up Beetle wearing a simple sweater was stubbornly refusing to move on. And with good reason, as he explained in his best German: “I am the President!”.
Collecting the Beetle in person in Kenya
In his book “Tarzan, ein Missionar und zwölf Askaris” (Tarzan, a missionary and twelve askaris Agenda-Verlag, Münster, 2017), Duwendag describes his experiences in Africa: “Even then it was already clear to me that there was a special relationship between Volkswagen and Rwanda – so I naturally also drove a Beetle”. But he had to wait a while before getting the car – and then collect it himself from the port of Mombasa, around 1,500 kilometres away in Kenya.