Ugandan weddings are an expression of who we are as a people; generous, loud and joyful. They are rarely about the couple or even the two families being united, but they are a communal responsibility. Here friends, clansmen, village mates and colleagues are expected to contribute selflessly.
This is how two young people who make a collective salary of Shs24m a year can pull off a wedding of Shs100m. This was, until Covid-19 struck and President Yoweri Museveni banned what he referred to as “the hexagonal, extravagant Ugandan-style weddings”.
Enock Musasizi Kazimba, a flight instructor and Josephine Babirye had an initial budget of Shs90m and a guest list of 300 people for their wedding that had been scheduled for April. But then Musasizi’s father was elected and installed Archbishop of Church of Uganda. Their plans had changed and adjustments had to be made. After the installation of his father, Musasizi and Babirye’s guest list rose from 300 to 1,000 guests.
Little did they know that more uncontrollable events were about to happen.
“Then the lockdown happened and there were government restrictions on public gatherings. We revised our budget to Shs15m. The committee members struggled to come to terms with the new reality. With 10 people, most of our family and friends would not be able to attend. But since we did not want to cancel the wedding, we just went ahead and wedded scientifically,” he says.
The couple exchanged vows in the presence of Bishop Wilberforce Kityo-Luwalira at Namirembe Cathedral on April 18.
Then, two months to the wedding of Malik Adam Masiko and Evelyn Nambooze slated for May 23, Nambooze felt the need to hold preparation meetings. They had not foreseen the lockdown.
“The first time they announced a lockdown, I took it lightly hoping that it would be lifted by May,” Masiko recalls.
He had always looked forward to his wedding day because it would bring his family together. Nambooze says their relatives were fine with a scientific wedding.
“I sent messages to different family members who also supported the idea and three weeks to the wedding, we revised our budget from Shs56m to Shs2m,” she says. The couple resolved to reduce their expenditure.
“We had to do away with most of the things such as the decoration, cake, make-up, and invitation cards. Unfortunately, we had already deposited a non-refundable Shs2.5m at UMA hall, Lugogo, our reception venue,” Masiko explains. Click to read more…