- TOGETHER FOREVER. To legalise their relationship according to culture, Sarah Kiiza, 38, a teacher, introduced her spouse Henry Mulinde, 45, a businessman in Masaka to her parents in Nyakasanga— Kasese District on September 8. The couple shared their love journey with SHAMIM J NAKAWOOYA.
When and how did you meet?
Henry: I met Sarah in 2003 at school my children went to. She was a teacher and we became friends.
Sarah: That is about 15 years ago and we eventually became friends.
For how long did you date?
Sarah: We dated for three years and later decided to stay together, hence bonding more.
What drew you close to one another?
Henry: She did not know how to drive and I decided to teach her. I also used to buy her gifts and, we used to hang out.
Sarah: He is caring. We also spent most of our leisure time in some interesting places, such as clubs, beaches, and other times we travelled abroad.
What attracted you to each other?
Sarah: Since childhood, I dreamt of finding a hardworking man. Henry is tolerant, hospitable, and I learnt a lot of things from him. He taught me about urban life because I’m from the remote parts of Kasese. He is loving, caring, jovial, and loves my friends and family. Henry is social because he introduced me to many high profile people such as the vice president Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi, members of parliament and ministers such as Vincent Ssempijja, Haj Haruna Kasolo, Florence Nakiwala, Joseph Ssewungu. I had never dreamt of meeting these people. My only worry was our religious differences but he had 90 per cent of the qualities I looked for in a husband.
Henry: Sarah had all the qualities I was looking for in a wife. I never wanted a woman who bleaches and my ideal woman was: a tall, patient, and Muslim Mutooro, who is respectful to my family.
How did it feel for a Muslim girl falling in love with Anglican?
Sarah: At first, I believed that the longer I stayed with him, he would may be convert to Muslim. My family is strict and I prayed hard to Allah and sometimes I fasted for him to become a Muslim. I tried hard to convince him in vain. Eventually, I made an independent decision because I love him. I told myself that there is one God. I went home and talked to my father, whom I thought would not allow him. Surprisingly, he accepted and respected my decision.
When did you go for kukyala?
Sarah: Five years ago. Our plan was to do an introduction ceremony a month after the kukyala. My husband wanted to see my family’s reaction during the kukyala. However, they insisted that he convert to Islam. I respect my family and I did not want to annoy them. Religion is the major reason I took long to introduce my husband.
How did you come to choose the Introduction date?
Henry: Since I’m a devout Anglican, I went to church and told my priest that Sarah’s family had finally permitted her to become an Anglican. Bishop Emeritus Dr Kefa Kamya, baptised her and she became a Christian. She was determined and that is when I chose September 8, 2018 as the day to go to Mr and Mrs Sowedi Kabagambe’s home in Kasese accompanied by my friends and family to be introduced.
What was the set bride price?
Henry: Sarah’s father only asked for a Koran, he told me that he was not selling his daughter. However, as a responsible man, I thought of many gifts, including bride’s gift (Toyota Lexus), sofas, two Friesian cows, 20 sacks of sugar, 30 sacks of rice, 60 boxes of soap, and 120 baskets of groceries.
What was the budget and how did you raise funds?
Henry: Shs180m. I managed to raise Shs100m and the rest was raised by friends, family, and well-wishers. I’m grateful to my friends who went with me to Kasese.
We had more than 250 vehicles, including Masaka business community led by Hajat Sarah Kiyimba, Benon Mugarura, Vincent Ssempijja, Florence Nakiwala, Godfrey Kayemba ,Joy Walusimbi, my friends from Bugaga Kwagala group in Kampala led by Godfrey Nyenya Kakeeto Of JBK Plaza. We travelled on the introduction eve (Friday) and everyone catered for their accommodation and fuel. May the Lord bless them.
How did you choose your service providers?
Sarah: I wanted classy things. Hajat Mpuuga of Masaka Town chose my attire such as gomesi and mushanana.
Henry: Through my friend Freeman Kiyimba, I managed to get good service providers, including Abas Catering Services, Ebenezer catered for the juice, and Lwasa Events for the decoration. They did their best.
What were your priorities on the list?
Sarah: The cake, my attire, number of guests, food and drinks.
What was the most expensive item on your list?
Sarah: My clothes, jewellery and the shoes cost Shs 25m.
Henry: The bride’s gift which cost Shs65m, decor went for Shs23m and the cake cost Shs10m.
How many times did you change?
Sarah: I changed four times because I had three gomesis and a mushanana.
What was your colour theme?
Sarah: I chose red, gold, and peach. I chose red because it blends with my dark complexion and the others are neutral.
Henry: I wanted yellow for the decor because I’m an NRM supporter but my wife replaced it with gold and peach to match with other colours. For the kanzu, I chose white and a grey suit.
Who baked your cake?
Sarah: Abigail at JBK Plaza made us a fruit cake with different flavours; coconut, oranges, and strawberry. We chose a calabash for the centrepiece, cooking pots and baskets, which cost us Shs10m.
Who was your introduction planner?
Sarah: Hajat Rehema Naiga worked hard to get the best service providers.
Henry: Henry Busulwa aka Musikawutu, the former deputy mayor of Masaka Municipality, sacrificed a lot to plan for our function.
What was the most exciting moment at your function?
Henry: Seeing many people in attendance and I was escorted by a delegation of 400 people (bako) to Kasese. Someone would think the entire Masaka Town had been invited. I was overjoyed, it was overwhelming. I’m glad the security officials made us feel at home.
Sarah: Seeing (bako)enjoy my function. I got worried about seats in the morning because we expected 200 bako but the number multiplied by two. My husband told the decor provider to add more tents and seats to cater for all. The decoration was beautiful.
Were you disappointed by any service providers?
Henry: I had planned to buy a cow thigh from Kasese but I could not find the most suitable, so my bestman, Ssalongo Richard Kimera bought a cow and we had it slaughtered.
What challenges did you face during preparations?
Sarah: The chef could not find quality peas and onions in Kasese. I had to call someone to get them from Masaka.
What was special about the function?
Sarah: My village had never experienced such a big function with many dignitaries. This caused traffic jam.
Henry: Having a delegation that combined majority of dignitaries including politicians and businesspeople. And also my friend Hon Florence Nakiwala Kiyingi used a chopper to attend our function. That felt special.
What were the most important things?
Sarah: I organised a special prayer for the weather. Entertainment, which included matali, music, guest musicians were also important to make people happy. And also food, I considered getting a trusted chef since I expected big people and I did not want them to suffer food poisoning.
Any special message to your spouse?
Sarah: I thank my husband for fulfilling his promise. I’m proud of him and I promise to love him until my last breathe. I cannot thank everyone enough for contributing to the success of our function.
Henry: I promise to be there for her in every situation. I thank her for being brave and patient. I plan to wed her early next year.