Winnie Odinga: I went through severe depression when Fidel died

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A collage of Winnie Odinga and the late Fidel Odinga.

Raila Odinga’s lastborn daughter Winnie Odinga has opened up on battling depression after the demise of her elder brother Fidel Odinga in 2015.

Speaking on an episode of ‘Iko Nini’ podcast, Winnie said she could not cry when she first received the sad news but it later took a toll on her.

She recalled a barrage of activities in and around their home at the time, saying grieving actually starts after the deceased has been laid to rest and all the mourners have departed.

“When he died I did not cry. I just started crying when we were burying him. When doing a funeral process, many people are around, you just don’t feel it, it is after that body goes in and you are just there with your family that is when you feel it. That is when people get into depression,” she said.

Adding: “You do not get over it, it is just something you learn to live with. There are tough times…when some people are playing with me. And I am just like ‘if my brother was here you would be done’. But it is a difficult thing losing a sibling.”

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Winnie also acknowledged that different people grieve differently and the best way to do it is to actually go through it without trying to appear strong.

“I went through the worst depression when he died and that is when my sister-in-law took me and said you have to meet this person.

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“That is when I started seeing a therapist…believing in stuff like that…talking about it and now I have three but I do not tell them the whole story,” she said.

Winnie Odinga

Growing up and school

Asked about what it was like to grow up as the lastborn of the Odingas, Winnie said she went to Rusinga School and later Brookhouse, where she admits getting a culture shock.

“You go there and there is a jungu telling you to speak like this talk like that…that’s not how you pronounce that…so that’s why guys come out of there speaking in a certain way,” she said.

Winnie also said the legendary Esir schooled at Brookhouse and was one of the best students although they never shared a class.

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On the ‘degrees debate’ she said she holds two undergraduate degrees and a master’s degree.

She recalled an incident in the US when her father Raila visited her on campus and the next day she was summoned by the Vice-Chancellor who asked her, “Why didn’t you tell me your dad was a Prime Minister?”

“I remember one college party where an American friend of mine walked up to me and asked whether I was the African Princess because she thought my dad was a king in Africa,” she said, bursting into laughter.

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