Photography: Jot media
Bound by the elections: they first met in early February 2016 just before the elections and in the midst of a heated presidential election and the anxiety of its aftermath, in 2021, Emmanuel and Brendah still found a safe haven to make their love official. Mikolo had a chat with the groom, who was kind enough to share his love story with his now newly wedded wife.
Do you mind sharing both your full names?
Emmanuel Kenneth Mwawula and Brendah Aryatuha Mwawula
So when and how did you and Brendah meet?
We met in January 2016 – then, I was hardly a month in the employment world since I had just left MUK. Brendah had just completed her first year at UCU and was an intern at one of the ministries. We both commuted from a hostel in Wandegeya. We used to run into each other every morning to take a taxi to town.
Any chance you recall when you first asked her out? Or you didn’t have to!!!
I first asked her out in early February 2016, just before the elections. It was a Saturday morning when I had just finished doing my laundry and was still cleaning up the laundry area when she showed up. She asked me to help her with a basin to do her laundry which, I happily offered. On returning the basin, I did ask her if we could go out for coffee.
Did she say ‘Yes’ to you there?
No – she did not. She told me she would think about it and get back to me the next time we run into each other in the morning as we head out for work. To me, this was an obvious yes.
Haha…counting your chicks before they hatch!!!
That was the thinking – little did I know that I would start from the friend zone and work my way upwards to the main man.
So did it come on Sunday or you had to wait until Monday?
I had to wait until Monday since my Sundays were dedicated to cricket. I would leave the hostel at 6:30 am and return past 6:00 pm.
Are you a batsman?
Yes, then I used to opening batting for my cricket club. I was good at facing the new seam although, over time, I have moved up the batting chain since there are lads with better eyes at the moment.
Wow!!! How did that work out? Are you now part of the Cricket Cranes? (I’m a sports enthusiast although mostly football)
No – I play at club level
So what is it about Brendah that made you realise “she’s the one”? Miss Right!!!
Being a Christian, I looked out for someone that loves God since he is the author of love – it’s easy to love such people as they understand the basics. I also looked out for someone calm and caring. All the above I found in Brendah. She was also very constructive – I remember this one time when she advised me to save my money instead of spending it recklessly. I would be lying if I don’t talk about her beauty, this was the first thing although I have mentioned it last.
So when did you ask for her hand in marriage?
It was on 25th January 2020. I organized something for her at Kololo Courts Hotel. I asked one of her friends to bring her to the place. On the guest list were a few of her friends, siblings, and my friends. So she came knowing she was going to hang out with her friend.
Wow!!! That must have blown her away.
Yap – we were both emotional. I almost failed to say the words which I had rehearsed for almost a week.
Hahaha…the nerves and butterflies almost threw you off. And when was the kukyala (Pre-visit)?
It was on 25th July 2020.
And the introduction?
The introduction was on 9th January 2021 in Kyamuhunga, Bushenyi.
How about the wedding?
The wedding happened on 23rd January 2021. Following the proposal on 25th January 2020, we first set our wedding date for 19th September 2020 since we wanted to do our wedding before the political season starts. But just when we had started booking services providers, Covid-19 shut down the world. We were hopeful that Covid stories would be no more by May which, did not happen. By June 2020, we were still indifferent about going ahead with the wedding since we had relatives coming from abroad and the airport was closed in addition to buying the idea of a scientific wedding
We prayed about the day and agreed to move the wedding to January before February since we had anticipated elections to happen in February based on the past election dates.
Little did we know that Justice Simon Mugenyi Byabakama was eavesdropping on our plans—so he moved the elections to January. Again, we were at the crossroads, whether to push the wedding or go ahead with our plans irrespective of what was being said about the election aftermath. We prayed about the dates and decided to continue with our plans. To date, this is one of my greatest steps of faith I have ever taken. Lucky enough, there was no post-election violence so our wedding went on well.
Please share a little more about the church, wedding photo shoot site & reception
We exchanged our marriage vows at St. Francis Chapel Makerere University and held our reception at Sheraton Kampala. Also, we had our photoshoot at Sheraton since we did not want to get stuck in traffic jam and keep our guests waiting for long.
One of the things I prayed against was rain on our wedding day. On the morning of the wedding day, the day was clear, and we left for church. But after entering the church, my fears came to pass, it started raining heavily from nowhere. Throughout the entire church service, I prayed to God to stop the rains and it stopped raining when the Reverend handed over our marriage certificate – then I knew it was a blessing.
How was the entire planning experience for you?
On one side it was easy since I had planned and executed some of my friends’ weddings, the most recent one being on 5th December 2020. I knew all the service providers’ in-person and I knew what to expect from each service provider. Also, since the function was in January, most service providers were available. Key to my plans were my family members, friends, and colleagues that provided financial support – they gave generously towards the cause. Also, planning was easy since I had read about organizing functions and other people’s functions via Mikolo on Facebook so I had a clue, not forgetting my chairperson that played a vital role.
On the other hand, it was hard since every time I’d log onto social media, all I would see is #weareremovingthedictator. Given the violent incidents of 18th and 19th of November 2020, it seemed a given that they would repeat in the election aftermath if he is not declared a winner. Also, covid-19 fears were high at that time since at least everyone around Kampala knew someone that knows someone that is ill due to Covid-19. These two gave me more sleepless nights than the wedding itself.
I remember one time when someone told me he was not going to give me money until after the elections are done since he anticipated election violence. But my wife was strong, she would assure me that nothing was going to happen and it came to pass.
So where did you guys go for your honeymoon?
Our initial plan was to travel out of Uganda however, given the prevailing Covid_19 conditions and the travel restrictions, we had to settle for an upcountry place that would offer us sporting activities we could do together and not a place that could confine us.
What advice would you give couples planning to tie the knot?
Start planning your function early enough so that you don’t have to count on people. Never give in to the wedding pressure, it’s close to impossible but can be managed. Additionally, enjoy the day to the fullest. If you plan on dancing please do so like there’s no tomorrow (imagine it’s you and your wife present and don’t mind about the guests).
Is there anything you regret not doing at your wedding?
Yes, I planned to sing and play an acoustic guitar at my wedding. I put in effort towards the cause as I got myself a nice acoustic guitar and a tutor at the beginning of this year. I planned on performing a rendition for one of the songs my wife loves but I abandoned the rehearsals towards the wedding since I was advised not to do much on the D-day. But I compensated for this with dancing, I remember leaving the high table to join the guests into dancing every time they were coming to give their speeches.
Congratulations once again Emmanuel and Brendah.