By Edgar Batte
On the day of their first date, Kibenge drove to Mbonigaba’s office and waited. However, when he saw her get out of office, he hurriedly closed the car door and drove as fast as he could to the restaurant they had agreed to meet. After settling down at their dinner table, he realised he had left his shoe in the parking lot.
One evening while waiting in the car for his girlfriend to finish work, Owen Kibenge leisurely sat with one foot out of the car. When he saw Maria Mbonigaba approaching the car, he hastily drove off to the restaurant where they had scheduled to meet. On arrival at the restaurant, he realised he had left his shoe in the parking lot. That night he took her on a date while wearing one shoe.
Kibenge says at this time, he worked in the radio and television industry, and hardly slept.
“It was hard to find time just to be together but we would try as much as possible to maximise on the time we got,” Kibenge says.
Mbonigaba is the chief executive officer of Boda Boda Africa LLC, a Maryland registered company that has interests in logistics, online sales, and real estate both in Uganda and the United States. Kibenge, the co-founder of the company is also a journalist and businessman. The two met while Mbonigaba was a student at Bishop Tucker Theological College, now Uganda Christian University. Her father, the late Canon Elisha Mbonigaba, was Kibenge’s tutor.
The college was Mbonigaba’s compound where she would interact with different students. She would meet them in the Chapel for prayers or on the courts playing games such as darts and volleyball and because she used to play table tennis with Owen, they became friends. One day, when he delivered his assignment to his tutor’s house, Mbonigaba opened the door. He was smitten.
She was a combination of beauty, intelligence, calmness, straightforwardness, determination and of course her amazing mathematics skills. And when they started dating, his open-mindedness and self-esteem was what made her start paying attention to him. Kibenge did not pretend to be someone he was not. It is this authenticity and honesty that set him apart. As their love blossomed, he discovered that it was more than just buying flowers, shoes, or jewellery for her. It was the intangible things that mattered. Click to read more