Kampala’s long awaited formalisation of love between a celebrated singer and her man finally took place last week Thursday. We have talked about it before, we have been talking about it every day, and we are still talking about it even after it happened.
And who is ‘we’? Our studious citizens could dismiss Uganda’s romance of the decade, if not century. But the numbers don’t lie. Nor do the facts on the ground.
National TV stations devoted most of the morning and the whole afternoon to live coverage of the love between two people: songbird Rehema Namakula and little known Dr Hamza Sebunya.
Big corporates like Coca-Cola were fully involved in sponsoring the event. The Coca-Cola logo could be seen the whole day on TV screens as Rehema introduced her beau. It is also worth noting that the two lovebirds are Muslims – a community not given to public displays of romance in a predominantly Christian country.
Do you have a sense of dejà vu when we mention this couple? What they did a month or so ago was the preliminary visit of the intending groom to his girlfriend’s people. What we saw on November 14, the long-awaited day, was the official introduction. This also amounts to the traditional wedding, officially recognised in our laws. So even if the couple don’t go to the mosque, they are officially wedded.
You may ask what the big deal is about the wedding of these two people, since every week dozens if not hundreds of people wed across the country. Well, Rehema is a crooner who has been singing about love for the past several years. I don’t think she has sang anything else but heart stuff.
So dreamy young and not-so-young ladies love her. Then she was in a steady relationship with an even bigger music star, Eddie Kenzo. But she called off their relationship that has already yielded a gorgeous little angel called Amaal, now aged five, following Kenzo’s dillying and dallying.
Eddie Kenzo broke down. The separation from Rehema hit him hard, though their affair had apparently run stale. Come last Thursday, sisters in Kampala could not concentrate on anything else.
How the national channels chose to cover the whole thing says a lot about what really matters to people. Even the Pope’s visit three years ago did not command such lengthy live coverage on TV.
Many work places were hit by an undeclared go-slow, as staff kept stealing time to catch a glimpse at a TV screen or online coverage of the introduction ceremony.
What’s more, the ceremony was graced by none other than and no less a personality than HRH – that is, Her Royal Highness for those unfamiliar with royal matters, the Queen of Buganda herself.
Royalty is royalty. It is not bought. It is different from state political power. It is simply different.
But that is how classy the romance between two otherwise ordinary people was. And now try to fathom how the actual wedding in the not-too-distant future will be!