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South African president’s son to marry Ugandan former prime minister’s daughter

by Eva Rose Tesfaye on May 23, 2018

While people around the world celebrate the royal wedding, Africans can look forward to a more political traditional marriage to celebrate.

Andile Ramaphosa, President of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa’s son is getting married to Bridget Brirungi Rwakairu, the niece of the former prime minister and current presidential candidate, Amama Mbabazi.

Andile arrived in Uganda to ask for Bridget’s hand in marriage over the weekend following the Ankole traditions from which Bridget hails. The Ugandan newspaper, the Daily Monitor, reported that Andile and his father arrived in Uganda with their delegation last Friday afternoon. Included in that delegation was prominent Ugandan businessman, Charles Mbire.

They arrived to participate in the traditional proposal ceremony on May 19th known as, “Okhusaba” which loosely translates to “to ask”.

“In accordance with culture, the marriage is to be preceded by a traditional ceremony known as ‘Okhusaba’ which shall be held on May 19. The ceremony shall be at 10 Nyanyi Gardens Kololo, at Rt Hon Amama Mbabazi’s residence,” says a statement issued by Mbabazi’s family party.

The ceremony will take place at Mbabazi’s residence in a wealthy suburb in Kampala called Kololo. It will give the families of the bride and groom a chance to meet each other and negotiate the bride price.

President Ramaphosa is known to own Ankole long-horned cattle on his large 51100-hectare farm in South Africa. Mbabazi however turned down the dowry of 100 cows, claiming that bride prices dehumanize women.

“This is prehistoric form of injustice which we must address. We should instead be cementing the bond between the two families and growing the roots of the family trees. We are not giving away our daughter because she is still one of us,” he said.

His remarks came after Mbire, the spokesperson for the delegation, said that they would be willing to pay the bride price in exchange for Bridget. “Even the so called giveaway ceremony is distorted. We are not giving away our daughter. She is still our own, so whatever you’re going to give us, we are giving it to the young family so that they can multiply it to raise their family,” Mr Mbabazi told the relatives.

The current prime minister, Dr Ruhukana Rugunda, shared these sentiments and said that the family however will accept the cows in the form of a wedding gift.

“We do not want to hear the word dowry or bride wealth in this meeting, because we are not selling our daughter. You may find another word. Maybe gifts to thank us the parents for raising our daughter,” Dr Rugunda said.

The wedding is called “Kuhingira”. According to Ankole tradition, Ramaphosa would attend and provide cows and gifts as a thank you gesture. It is unclear right now if Ramaphosa is planning on attending or not.

Andile, who is 35 years old is a prominent in business and finance in South Africa and the head of strategy in the Executive team of Macquire Bank South Africa

Rwakairu, who is 37, was raised by Mbabazi after her father died in 1983. Her parents were Shadrack Rwakairu of Kabale and Peace Ruhin. She holds a bachelor of environmental engineering from Beijing Jiatong University and a post-graduate in Business Administration from Beijing University of Science and Technology.

The intelligent couple met at Beijing University of Science and Technology and have been dating for ten years. They have two-month-old baby. On arrival, Andile was apparently slapped with a goat fine for having a child out of wedlock.

The marriage is set for later this year but will only be officially confirmed when Bridget’s family makes the visit to South Africa.

Featured Image via Wikimedia Commons

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Eva Rose Tesfaye
Eva Tesfaye has traveled around the world her whole life but thinks of Africa as home. She loves reading novels and watching plays (especially ones with people of color in them). She has a love-hate relationship with her big curly hair.