By Denis Jjuuko
On Friday, I went to Kiruhura to attend the Kuhingira (give away ceremony) of my friend we fondly call Nakiviiri. It was my first time to attend a Kuhingira in Ankole. I had always attend similar functions in Kampala. This one was unique.
Nakiviiri and her entourage who included P (my wife, for the uninitiated) arrived covered head to toe. They looked like women from a strictly Sharia Law country. Face covered up and being guided where to sit. Once they arrived at the centre stage, they sat down bowing down.
For the next four hours or so, Nakiviiri and her entourage remained in the same position. And we (the uninitiated still) were eager for her unveiling. I was shocked when the function ended and she was guided back to the house still the same away as she arrived.
There was no slaying (Ugandan speak for looking all cool as if a woman is a super star), no selfies, no cake cutting and definitely if you didn’t know her man, you went back without knowing who he was. If you had never seen Nakiviiri, you went back without knowing who she was or how she looks like.
There was a time when some men rapped in Kinyankole when introducing the groom and they were rewarded with gourds of I think milk and alcohol. The rest were prayers and speeches and some muted performances either praising God or giving the bride words of wisdom.
Admittedly, I was unhappy at first. I wanted to see Nakiviiri in her glory. She is a very beautiful woman and with P being part of the entourage, I believe it would have been really a show of the beautiful ones only!!! However, after reflection, I thought what can the Baganda learn from this?
Katikkiro Charles Peter Mayiga is on a campaign to preserve more and more cultural aspects of Kwanjula (introduction ceremonies). He recently met the commercial spokesmen of such functions and gave them some words of wisdom. Although a culture that doesn’t evolve can’t survive, the Baganda must preserve certain aspects. There is a lot to learn from Nakiviiri’s Kuhingira in Kiruhura.
Today’s Kwanjula event in Buganda as watched mainly on TV are somewhat comedy shows. Some brides arrive on a camel with some people dressed as air hostesses of Emirates or Ethiopian dancing as if they are at some cheap bar in one of Kampala’s slums. Others come in a car while all sorts of people dance all sorts of weird stuff.
Then the groom joins the comedy, dancing and throwing around some small denominations of the Shilling. A groom should never be doing Paka Chini at his inlaws’ home. And then he brings out a 20 year old Toyota Noah to give his wife and a land title of a 50×100 feet plot in Buweekula!!
If you want to give your fiancée some cheap car or some almost valueless land why do you have to do it at a Kwanjula? Sometimes these items are even just a show as they are taken back the next day to their real owners. Why on earth do you hire a sofa set to donate to your inlaws knowing that you will be picking it under darkness the next day?
At Nakiviiri’s Kuhingira they were no such things even though I believe they have the financial resources to do so. Their function was cultural in every sense of the word. There were no American or European love songs (I once attended a wedding where the couple made their entrance on a song titled..It Must Have Been Love) or the Owoma Owoma type of music. The only foreign stuff were the decoration and the priests who sung many versions of Yesu Omwana w’Endiga (out of key most of the time).
The Baganda must take their culture back and stop the nonsense that is associated with Kwanjula as a lot of it is actually junk. Comedians and grooms giving speeches must be cut out. Brides changing one million times must be stopped as well. It is not only a financial strain to most people, it is making a real cultural event unauthentic. Kiruhura has many lessons for Buganda.
#OutToLunch is Denis Jjuuko’s compilation of lazy and flaky ideas.