By Joseph Kizza & Carol Kasujja
SATURDAY - Buganda Kingdom is in high spirits after Prince David Kintu Wasajja tied the knot with Marion Elizabeth Nankya at Rubaga Cathedral in Kampala on Saturday.
Here is how it happened
Just to start you off, Prince Wasajja is the younger brother to Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II.
Those of you with quite a memory of an elephant do remember that Kabaka Mutebi walked the Nnabagereka of Buganda Sylvia Nagginda down the aisle on one such fine day in 1999.
Well, while the difference is that Kabaka Mutebi wedded in August and his brother is set to tie the knot in April, there is one coincidence. The date for the two weddings is 27th.
The bride is the daughter to Bukoto South MP Mathias Nsubuga Birekeraawo and Ms Jolly Nsubuga.
9.20am: Our reporter, Carol Kasujja, who is already at Rubaga Cathedral says decoration is going on. She says the decorators are working behind time. Hopefully, they will work their way around it. Afterall, this is no ordinary wedding. It’s a royal wedding we are talking about here.
9.30am: We are under two hours away to the wedding service, if we are to be guided by the day's program released by the kingdom. It all goes down at 11.00am local time.
Over 1, 000 guests were placed on the invitation list for the wedding. Colourful picture at Rubaga as smartly dressed guests are already at the venue waiting for a security check. Need I tell you that security detail is set to be tight. So if you are thinking of marching up to the hill to witness the ocassion, make sure you leave any suspicious objects or weapons behind. Don't say I did not warn you!
9.35am: It sure is a good day for the kingdom, and a good one for the vendors too. Already, some are seen prowling the area outside the grand cathedral with merchandise, mostly Buganda Kindgom stuff. Calendars, pens, books, and a whole lot more. Call it an easy day for a good sale!
Just to remind you that Kabaka Mutebi will attend his younger brother's wedding. Expect plenty of high profile guests there.
9.40am: They say women are more keen on colour detail than men are. Is that true? Well, if it is anything to go by here, let me direct this for mostly the women. Today's theme colour is white and gold. I repeat, white and gold. Not certain yet why that colour scheme, but it's a gold choice for royalty. What do you think? So as you make last-minute colour decisions on what you should wear, you might want to use a Midas' Touch wand and turn it all into gold!
Just remember to dress the part and appropriately as well. Earlier in the week, a stern warning was issued to invited guests to the wedding to 'dress appropriately'.
As the minutes tick away, and quite fast at that, reporter Carol Kasujja makes sight of banana plants posted along the road. Bananas are said to be the true food for the Baganda. Smart move!
9.50am: Buganda youth groups are arriving aboard Coasters (mini-buses), as kids hang around the Cathedral. I bet most of them, innocently, are unaware of the degree of significance of the church service that is set to begin at 11.00am local time. I don't blame them either.
If you haven't seen her yet, don't say we did not give you a glimpse of what she looks like. No excuses ladies and gentlemen. Pictured right is the bride, Marion Elizabeth Nankya.
10.00am: Back to the matter at hand here folks. Faithful are lining up to enter the decades-old church.
Seated at the top of one of Kampala's hills, the magnificent Rubaga Cathedral has certainly stood the test of time. It was built between 1917 and 1925 when European missionaries were spreading throughout pre-independence Uganda.
Meanwhile, there is only one security point for both men and women. No high-profile figures seen yet. Are they caught somewhere in traffic jam? Are some fidgeting with decisions on what to wear? Or do a few need some guide to the top of the hill? Well, whichever the case, we expect them to turn up anyways. This is not a wedding many see every other weekend, right? But just incase you are one of those high-profile figures, better hurry because we are just almost half-an-hour underway. Quick quick!
10.20am: The inside of the cathedral is washed in colour and decoration. Remember, it is white and gold. Most of the seats are RESERVED, so don't go wanting to sit just anywhere you find space.
Outside in the compound, the Uganda Police band is playing as Ken Lukyamuzi, who is the leader of the Conservative Party (CP), arrives with his wife. Former Namirembe diocese bishop Dr. Samuel Balagadde Ssekkade makes his presence with his wife.
There are two entry points into the cathedral. One point is for all those with [invitation] cards and the other for those without. Note that the Rubaga Cathedral Choir is surely dressed to kill. The ladies are clad in yellow and black Gomesis while the gents look smart in their Kanzus. The two sets of clothing are the traditional attire for the Baganda people.
10.39am: Ladies and gentlemen, we are now approaching the last 20 minutes before the service can start, going by the schedule.
Kabuusu route has been blocked by Police and right now the the church is under inspection by police dogs. Kampala Metropolitan Police operations commander, Sam Omara is in charge of the police security at the cathedral today. He says security is as tight as everything is going on as planned. No incidents yet. "Everything is going on well," he confirms. "Security is alert."
The glitz and glamour surrounding today's royal wedding is unmistakable. The soon-to-be-married couple are seen here in Muyenga. PHOTO/Abu Mwesigwa.
11.00am: The cathedral is half-filled, understandably so, with the restrictions in entry. Guests are streaming in by the minute. Retired Archbishop Livingstone Mpalanyi Nkoyoyo and Capt. Francis Babu have taken their seats with other Buganda Kingdom officials.
11.15am: Other notable personalities have managed to find their way around the traffic jam (i think) and are rooted comfortably onto their seats inside the grand cathedral. We are talking about: Gen. David Sejusa, Uncle Money, Chairman of Uganda Lands Commission, Mayanja Nkangi, Former Katikkiro of Buganda Joseph Mulwanyamuli Ssemwogerere and his wife, Godfrey Kirumira, who is the chairman of Kwagalana Group, Rubaga North MP, Moses Kasibante and Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago.
11.24am: More arrivals as Vice President Edward Ssekandi, the Archbishop of Kampala, Dr. Cyprian Kizito Lwanga and other 15 priests and bishops enter the ornated church.
Kampala is mostly cloudy today, a lot windier (19km/h) than it was yesterday. An atmospheric temperature of 26°C|°F is what we are talking about today. Any chances of rain? I wouldn't wish for that now!
Any time from now, we expect the church service to begin, half-an-hour later than the scheduled time.
11.58am: It is now close to a full hour later than the scheduled time for the start of the service and we are not started yet. No doubt it's our, as we call it, "African time". Right now, most of the guests have arrived and waiting patiently but it is clear who is not around yet. Kabaka Mutebi and the bridegroom, Prince Wasajja, and the bride, and who else? er . . er . . .me? Well, not quite!
There are echoes of "where is he?" "when are they coming?" "hope it won't take long" from within the congregation that is buzzing with considerable amount of anticipation. They should be on their way hopefully. Archbishop Lwanga is with Emmanuel Cardinal Wamala, both awaiting the Kabaka and his younger brother.
Dressed the part: This couple arrived to a glamourous atmosphere ahead of the royal wedding. PHOTO/Martin Ndijjo.
12.00am: Kampala Metropolitan Police Commander Andrew Felix Kaweesi has arrived. Not in his usual police attire, but in a Kanzu. Fancy that!
I need not mention again how high-profile this wedding is. The vehicles in the parking lot can speak for us. Posh!
I can sense your growing anxiety but hold on a little longer with us. I understand, but keep it together there. Reporter Carol Kasujja, dressed in a yellow Kitenge, says "it's a peaceful air" around the cathedral. What she did not add is that there is a whole good amount of anxiety there too.
Wait a little longer with us here as we await the Kabaka, and more importantly, the Prince and his bride.
12.17pm: Well, wait no more ladies and gentlemen (atleast, partly). Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi has arrived accompanied by his wife, the Nnabagereka of Buganda, Sylvia Nagginda. He is donning a grey suit with a blazing yellow tie. Nagginda, on her part, has arrived in a silk grey Gomesi. Very sharp!
Now we wait for the prince. It's getting late, but we shall wait. The church choir is already sampling us with hymns.
12.28pm: And finally, here comes the bridegroom. Prince Wasajja, the most anticipated figure today (with his wife-to-be, that is), has arrived at the Cathedral. He looks smart and handsome in a Kanzu with a black royal robe.
His arrival is followed moments later by the bride's. She arives with an entourage of five flower girls (different ages) and five maids.
It definitely looks like the proceedings will get underway shortly.
12.50pm: And indeed the service starts. I should add that it is in Luganda [the local dialect]. Are you surprised? I hope not. It is a Buganda affair, and so it should be befitting to have the service conducted in Luganda.
1.15pm: The First Reading comes from Genesis 2: 18-24 and the Second Reading from Colossians 3: 12-17. And when Archbishop Lwanga, who is in charge, takes the podium, he describes the wedding as the first royal Catholic wedding at Rubaga Cathedral.
1.20pm: "Those who have been asking questions like why the Prince is not getting married, now have their right answer today," says Lwanga. He goes on to advise the couple not to abuse the way they use mobile phones, as they can easily destroy their union through that.
1.30pm: He goes on further to tip the couple to respect and love the other. And that incase of any problem, they should seek guidance from the "right people, like the Church".
Inside the cathedral, guests followed the proceedings quietly. It was almost half-filled inside, but a huge gathering followed the event from outside. PHOTO/Martin Ndijjo.
1.50pm: Prince David Kintu Wasajja finally exchanges vows with Marion Elizabeth Nankya. They are declared husband and wife by Archbishop Cyprian Kizito Lwanga amid deafening applause from the congregration.
It's a a royal atmosphere at the top of Rubaga Hill. The temperatures are now sweltering but even those outside are braving the heat.
2.00pm: The Kabaka of Buganda, Prince Wasajja's elder brother, is present as a parent and as a good friend. We should remember that their father, Sir Edward Frederick Muteesa II, fondly known as King Freddie, died in exile on 21 November 1969.
The main service is done and now it's time for offertory.
2.40pm: About forty minutes after the Prince and his wife are joined in unison and now the Cathedral is full. Reason? Not quite one that I can answer for you right now.
Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi stood in a both a parent and as a good friend of Prince Wasajja. PHOTO/Benjamin Ssebagala
Meanwhile, let's get acquianted with the proceedings following the main service. According to the program released by the kingdom, there will be cocktails at Lubiri, Mengo.
That should be between 4.00pm and 6.00pm local time. Will they keep time? That's a question for you, considering that the starting of the service at Rubaga delayed for close to two hours. The organisers should now be thinking of playing a game called 'Catch Up' now.
After the cocktails, the special guests, and I would like to repeat, special guests, are expected to take their places ahead of speeches and entertainment set to run between 6.30pm and 8.00pm local time. If you plan on being there, make sure your watch is working good. Be prompt!
That's not all though. A royal dinner is scheduled for between 8.00pm and 9.00pm after which the cutting of the cake and entertainment follow.
A royal ball will crown the day before guests can throw on their dancing shoes, ease into some loose clothing (but remember, not skimpy!), borrow some of their dancing prowess and groove away into the wee hours of Sunday morning. If you will be part of the show, four hours of shaking your bones (from 10.00pm to 2.00am) should remind you how important it is to make frequent trips to the gym, or do a few morning road runs. Don't break a bone! You might come through with some muscle aches, but worry not. Routine exercises should sort you out.
Tycoon Godfrey Kirumira (in the lead) looks steady as he presents traditionally wrapped gifts during the offertory. PHOTO/Josephat Sseguya
3.00pm: But before that other part of the day can go down, let's swing back a little to Rubaga. It is time for Holy Communion, so all those prepared (have repented their sins) start to join the long queues.
3.07pm: The organizing committee, led by Godfrey Kirumira, is paraded before the congregation. There are already signs of tire on the faces of some individuals within the congregation, but that shouldn't worry them. We are almost there. The committee thanks Archbishop Lwanga, who united the newly-weds, for hosting the wedding. And for that, he is rewarded with a gift. Could it be a Bible? Or a crucifix? Well, I can't tell, but whatever it is, it must be a good one. Kudos!
The clouds cleared, partially though, as we got drowned in the day's event here in Kampala. We now are having the sun peeping through pockets of clouds here and there. Lovely weather for a significant event, if you asked me.
Meanwhile, reporter Carol Kasujja is getting involved in the proceedings inside Rubaga Cathedral. Remember me telling you earlier that Police had noted that the event was running smoothly? Well, it's still quite the situation right now. No alarming incidents yet. Everything going on OK, save for a couple of babies wailing out their hunger and exhaustion.
A few lengthy yawns here and there and arm stretching are evidence that exhaustion is taking its toll on many. It's been a long day afterall.
3.30pm: Speaking of royal nuptials, this is the second in just under six months. The previous one was not a Buganda affair though. It was a Toro one.
On November 17 last year, Princess Ruth Komuntale of Toro Kingdom tied the knot with her African-American beau Christopher Thomas. The wedding service took place at St. John’s Cathedral in Fort Portal witnessed by hundreds of guests and the king’s subjects.
3.45pm: As we wrap up the matters of the Church today, the Uganda National Anthem and the Buganda Anthem are sung. Of course this is one of those rare occasions when you hear anthems sung during a church service.
4.00pm: If the program was our guide, which it still is anyways, we are late. Right now the invited guests should be at Lubiri, but that's not quite. It's the end of the service here at Rubaga and all roads are now leading to Lubiri, Mengo. In case you need navigation, I won't give you any accuracies, but Lubiri is not miles off from Rubaga. I would run there in a about 20 minutes, although a spirited sprint would halve the time.
Archbishop Cyprian Kizito Lwanga (with spects) led the royal wedding service with other clergy. Emmanuel Cardinal Wamalwa stands on his left. PHOTO/Benjamin Ssebagala
If you are using a car there, it shouldn't take longer than 15 minutes, if all roads are clear. Meanwhile, just outside in the compound of the cathedral, it's a meet-and-greet moment, hugs and kisses around. Everyone wants to steal a glimpse of the newly-weds, and the Kabaka and his wife too.
The weather has been kind enough. Not necessarily kind to those who braved the heat from outside, but it wouldn't keep you guessing much over what rainy weather would do to the event. Personally, I would do with some sweat dripping down my face than a downpour washing me down from head to toe. How about you?
4.30pm: If you thought we were done here. You are wrong. Not yet. It's cocktail time at Lubiri, with plenty of drinks at service. Reporter Carol Kasujja says she can see"all tribes of drinks". Meanwhile, if you are fan of live music entertainment, here is a moment for you to envision. The Barbed Wire Band is doing it's thing here at the cocktail.
The lovely ushers too deserve mention here. In their long purple dresses, they look simply adorable. Gorgeous!
5.00pm: The guests are enjoying every moment of it. The drinks are going around generously as is the conversation. Everyone is mingling conspicuously as musical rhythmns create a perfect backdrop to the entire moment. About the honeymoon, I haven't even heard any rumored destination yet. I am limited to thinking of it as a royal honeymoon. Nothing more than that. What do you think?
The sun is still up. Are we seeing sunset soon? Refresh my Geography memory here. Are we in that time of the year when the days are shorter than the nights? That time when we see darkness confront us as early as 6.45pm? I am not quite sure of myself here, but whatever it is, we are set for a good long evening here. As I told you earlier, the dancing shoes are lying somewhere ready for the moment. Some guests should be rehearshing a few strokes in the washrooms, or from 'behind the curtains'.
Should we expect some interesting dances tonight? Oh, yes! And from the newly-weds? He is 47, she is 27. Who will teach the other some moves on the dance floor? Will he show her what he is made of with his experience as her senior, or will she tell him to pick a leaf or two from her youthful dance styles? Let's wait and see.
14 years ago, Kabaka of Buganda wedded his wife, the Nnabagereka. Today, it's the Prince's turn. PHOTO/Josephat Sseguya
6.20pm: Trust me, there has not been much for a highlight that has occurred between the last hour or so and now. So, don't think we abandoned you here, left to feed your mind with just imagination of what is taking place at the cocktail.
As has been for the last hour, the guests are mingling and mingling and mingling. The newly-wedded couple joined the rest for a meet-and-greet and they have been moving around exchanging pleasantries, hugs and smiles, with friends, family and everyone else invited.
The evening is warm, and the organisers should be the most relieved that the day is sailing on as smoothly as they must have wished for in the first place.
If there have been any mishaps and glitches, well, not that I know of so far. The music is fine, softly courting the hearts and ears of those listening, the drinks are finding their way smoothly down the throats of many, and the ushers are doing a great job too.
Need I say more? Hope not. For now, let's envision a perfect evening!
6.30pm: Guests are now making their way to the tents for the reception. The evening remains as young as the couple.
7.30pm: Exactly an hour later, the Kabaka and the Nnabagereka of Buganda arrive at the reception. Did you expect a change in attire? Not quite. They remain in their church service dress code. For the Prince, we don't have him in his Kanzu any more. He is now as handsome as ever in a dark suit with a crimson red tie. His wife is still wearing her gown. The only difference is that she won't see you through the mesh of her veil. It's off now!
Did I tell you that the Emcee of the day is Buganda Kingdom's information minister, Charles Peter Mayiga? I doubt I did. What was I thinking not to? He sure is showing the mic some justice, i must say!
The decor is pleasant on the eyes. The props for that will go to Silk Events for organizing this.
7.40pm: Question: Did I forget about the cake? Answer: No. Just so you know, it was a work of a maestro. All in 'creamy-white', the cake has eight tiers. And there is the symbol of the Buganda emblem 'emblazoned' on it. Do you know the symbols of the emblem? Cummon, that's not a trick question.
Okay, it's a shield, two diagonally crossing spears and a lion at the bottom. You see? That wasn't hard, was it!
8.30pm: Prince Wasajja recieves 32 head of cattle from his uncle, Edward Kiraka, it is announced. Plenty of applause!
11.00pm: Following performances by local musicians, the guests got fired up for dinner. The cake will be cut at midnight, and the rest of the night should present the best opportunity for music lovers to groove themselves away.
OK, that's it for us here folks. It has been a defining moment for Buganda Kingdom, a defining day for Prince Wasajja and his wife, as well as a defining hours for us here today. Thanks for keeping with us here and hope you have yourselves a good evening.
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