In Summary
  • Dynamic. Marriage proposals have evolved from being a family surprise to happening in hotel rooms with the knowledge of the attendants to a spectacle that grace social media events. Andrew Kaggwa shares his opinion on what was and what they have become.

Very little is known about the origin of marriage proposals. It is an event where one of the people in a relationship asks for the other person’s hand in marriage.

Of course, it was always the work of the man to get down on one knee and ask for a girl’s hand in marriage. It has been said that the whole tradition of man getting down on one knee is not all that, apparently, man only ended up down so as to easily be on the right height while reaching out for her hand.

Though, for the Briton, it was a tradition apparently derived from another norm of theirs, knighthood. It was known for knights to go down on a knee while showing respect and dedication to their lord and thus, when a male was proposing to a wonder, getting down on a knee only seemed reasonable.

Nonexistent?
In many African countries though, such fancy practices did not exist, then marriage was political and was most times used to mend relationships, as a spying weapon and in other cases fulfilling promises.
This left little room for things such as marriage proposals; why propose marriage to a woman that was bestowed to you by the ancestors years before the two of you were even conceived.
And this part almost stayed with us until people started watching Hollywood dramas.

At kwanjula
Lately, Africans have too got onto the wagon of proposing marriage, what differentiates Uganda from the West though, is a fact that the rate of NOs are minimal. Not because our girls are so in love but simply because it is a culture we are only taking on.
For instance, it is common for men to propose marriage on their introduction ceremony, complete with an engagement ring; clearly, what are the chances of a woman that is introducing you to her extended family saying No to a marriage proposal, considering the fact that an introduction is considered a marriage itself.

Besides that though, a typical marriage proposal in Uganda usually happened in the morning, thereafter the morning session she would be like; “Aunt wants to see you.” This was mostly a conclusion of a process that saw her move in after her mother asked her to go back to the place she had spent the past two nights.

On another occasion, still after the morning session, the guy would say; “We should meet your parents,” of course the suggestion would be met by silence but if she stayed and shared a bed with him for the next one or more days, chances her she agrees,
The new generation then flipped things by getting down on one knee like the movies they had seen. Today, they have revised the whole thing to some wholly confusing event.
A marriage proposal today is no longer an affair between two people with one waiting for the perfect moment, music, mood and conversation to pop the question, “Will you marry me?”

Polished event
Edward Nimusiima, a social media influencer says the event has received a makeover, it involves family and friends, workmates, a proposal planner, catering, lighting and photography team to ensure there will be social media worthy pictures.
The most remembered was caught on video that was later shared online, the man walked the woman as if to the middle of the venue, he went down on one knee and probably popped the question.
Of course the lighting was good enough to help whoever held the smart phone record and later post such a clear video.
The other famous proposal had skaters around Wandegeya do their thing in shirts that had the words and yeah, we did notice.

Internet advent
This means that what used to be a moment one man poured his heart out to a woman now has a photographer and probably a crew in the mix – some of the footage recorded here is apparently screened at the wedding, if it ever happens.
“With the internet, a lot has changed; relationships have drastically changed, people meet online and without meeting physically they exchange numbers and start dating,” says Nimusiima.
He notes that at times this goes on for long that even when people start thinking about proposals, they will think of how they are going to make it a perfect online moment and thus turning themselves into actors for the internet; “It is like a stage, where people even fake tears.”

Two cents
Much as they are known to be events, proposals can take place over a period of time. For instance, one man technically proposed to his wife for three years by spelling out ‘Will You Marry Me’ with the first letter of every love letter he wrote her.