By Arthur Baguma
RUE love has no boundaries. It transcends all barriers and nothing stands in its way. Hundreds witnessed this last Saturday, when city lawyer, Geoffrey Kayanja, from a conservative Kiganda family, was introduced to the family of Mercy Asiimwe, the daughter of a conservative Munyankole in Kitunga, Ntungamo district.
Kayanjaâ€™s father is a loyal of the Kabaka, but this did not stop him from escorting his son to get a wife from a different cultural setting.
Smartly-dressed in traditional kanzus and gomesis, Kayanjaâ€™s family members and friends set off from Kampala on a four-hour journey, which to many was the discovery of a new world within their own country. Many had never crossed Katonga River.
Rib-breaking jokes were directed at Kayanjaâ€™s friends hailing from western Uganda, with remarks like â€˜Muvawalaâ€™ (you come from very far). Others asked Kayanja why he risked jumping over the â€˜fenceâ€™ of Mengo Kingdom to get a woman hundreds of miles away.
To many like, Dan Mbaziira, a teacher and part-time comedian, it was a fulfilling experience since this was his first time to travel to western Uganda.
Godfrey Mukiibi, a prominent
businessman in Kampala was the most excited. Having talked throughout the journey, he forced the driver to stop at the round-about as one enters Mabarara town, so that he could take pictures with a statue of a cow.
When we reached our destination, talk was about the anticipation at the reception, but Mukiibi surprised everyone when he demanded for directions to the streams where milk flows like water.
â€œThey say this is the land where milk flows in village paths like water, but I have not seen any.
Why do Banyankole in Kampala tell us lies?â€ Mukiibi asked.
After a few minutes of waiting at Rwashamire trading centre in Ntungamo, our convoy snaked through hills, until we reached the home where Kayanja was to be introduced. Before we proceeded to the tents, the ladies were warned not to kneel when greeting â€“ which is the culture in Buganda.
The master of ceremonies welcomed us in poor Luganda, punctuated with a heavy Runyankole accent. After this, something unusual happened. From the initial warm reception, things took a U-turn.
â€œWhat do you want? You found us having a family meeting. Can you please continue with your journey?â€ the MC bellowed into the microphone.
Kayanjaâ€™s head of delegation was fast to answer back, â€œWe are your visitors.â€ After a brief exchange of words, we were finally recognised as visitors.
The next hurdle was seeing the bride.
First, they brought us a group of girls between four and 10 years and we insisted the bride was not among them. Our spokesman was then fined in order for them to bring other girls.
It was the arrival of a third group of young women, smartly-dressed in Mushanana â€“ the Ankole traditional dress, that put a smile on our faces. Kayanja had finally seen the bride. Slowly, he walked up to where Mercy was and put an engagement ring on her finger. High-pitched ululations and music followed. Mercy had introduced her man. Speeches followed and bride price, which included an assortment of items and 10 cows, were given to Mercyâ€™s family.
Asiimweâ€™s father welcomed the new relatives from a different region. When Kayanjaâ€™s father took to the podium, he also welcomed Mercy to his family and promised to keep the new-found relationship in the two families.
By 8:00pm, the ceremony was coming to a close. The delegation from Buganda left happy, except for one thing.
EKitiibwa Kya Buganda was not sung. While they had requested for the Buganda anthem to be sang, the hosts politely told them it was not on their programme â€“ a polite way of saying you cannot sing the Buganda anthem in our home.
Present were Hon Joseph Balikuddembe, (MP Busiro South), Hon Richard Nduhura, the Minister of State for Health, politicians and lawyers.