By Claire Balungi
Simon Wanyera, 31 and wife, Joan Constance Wambuya, 23 begot a lovely baby girl on 30th June at Norvik Hospital, Kampala. The baby came between 6-8pm. He got into the new month excited about their new bundle of joy and his phone has since buzzed notifications of congratulatory messages.
The father of the child who is renowned for his brave role of leading strikes for freedom and fairness on behalf of the student community at Makerere University decided to name his child Mary Stuart. “We’d discussed about the name prior to our daughter’s birth and my wife proposed Gabriella, I proposed Mary Stuart, so the child is Mary Stuart Gabriella Wanyera. If the baby were male, we’d name him Lumumba.” explains the strike master.
Why we named the baby, Mary Stuart
The baby is Mary Stuart because of Lumbox, a name combo to tell of the solidarity between Lumumba and Box (Mary Stuart Hall). Wanyera’s life, while at Makerere, revolved around Lumumba- he was known for always elevating the Lumbox culture and solidarity.
“When my wife was taken to the ward and I was asked to stay away, I was nervous about what would happen to my child and wife.”
Wanyera cried and kept praying to God that he’d see his daughter and wife in perfect shape. When he was finally asked to see the child, he was scared; He was so happy and couldn’t behold the delight that came of setting eye on skin of his own flesh. “I thanked God.”
When he saw her, his wife… it was all Thank you Jesus!
“There were too many calls coming in. I switched both our phones off and we celebrated. When the situation was more calm, I turned our phones back on and shared the good news, first to our parents then friends.” recounts Wanyera
Wanyera’s wife and the baby are currently with his mother-in-law to allow her a few weeks of decent healing and feeding.
Big dreams for Mary Stuart
“I’m going to take care of her, make sure she goes to great schools. My wife wants her to attend City Parents Primary School. When I got a little concerned about the high fees expenses at that school, my wife laughed and said to me, God will provide. I’ll make sure my daughter has access to everything she’ll need, I’ll get her medical insurance and mentor her to be a great citizen of this country; I want her to be a Winnie Madikizela, a Winnie Byanyima, a Margaret Thatcher, a Kamala Harris. I’ll teach her how to be a brave young woman and know that she’s a mother of the nation, I’ll guide her and make sure she moves in the right direction.”
How Wanyera met his wife
“We met at Mary Stuart Hall when I was residing at Lumumba Hall. I was moving with my friend to Mary Stuart at about 6pm. Joan heard us talk and she said she understood the language we were using which was Lugisu. I was rude to her at first but she asked me to calm down as she had no evil intentions with what I thought was a rude interruption.” narrates Wanyera
Joan had been bargaining for a lipstick from a vendor who always sells jewellery and perfumes at the hall entrance. Wanyera asked the vendor to reduce the price for her. The lipstick was 8k and Joan only had 5k.
They met again and Wanyera asked for her phone number so they could become friends. “She refused to give it to me and when I asked for her room number, she first gave me a wrong room number. I insisted on giving her a push to her room, Room K4 and when we were finally there, her roommates welcomed her and I knew this was the right room.”
Joan would hear stories about Wanyera and how he was rowdy, violent, chaotic; a bad boy, a strike master. They later became friends and she came to understand the kind of person Wanyera was. This did not stop her friends from worrying. They wondered how a humble girl had fallen in the arms of a bad boy from Lumumba Hall, a man who was known for violence and strike. She told them he was a good person with a generous attitude. Her friends still asked her to be careful… Now she’s his wife.
The couple’s dating
They dated for four years before their wedding in 2020. She likes him because he’s brave, humble, sociable and works with vigour. Sometimes, the couple would be in conflict when Joan found Wanyera at Mary Stuart Hall because of his very social lifestyle. She’d ask him what he would be doing at the girls’ hall. “Joan had started feeling insecure. I had to be clear with her about my relationship with the girls, they were just my friends.” tells Wanyera
The proposal and wedding
The couple got wed last year on 17th October at St. Francis Chapel, Makerere followed by a beautiful reception at Emerald Hotel. Wanyera had proposed on 21st March when the first COVID-19 case in Uganda was reported, followed by a lockdown. “I didn’t see her for 2 months until the restrictions on movement were eased. I had to find a way of meeting up with her.” They talked and prepared for their wedding online while in the lockdown.
Wanyera graduated from Makerere with a degree in Education in 2019. His wife graduated with a Social Sciences degree in 2020.