Credit: David S. Mukooza – Daily Monitor
SILVER JUBILEE. Unlike in 1992, where the parents of the now Mr and Mrs Ssenkibuule attended as fellow congregants in a simple church marriage of their children which they were opposed to, they sat comfortably in front of the altar at Uganda Martyrs Shrine, Namugongo as their children celebrated 25 years in marriage on February 25
When and where did you meet?
Augustine: We met at Holy Trinity Church Kamwokya. I’m a long serving parishioner at the church of Kamwokya and it was through the church that I met Catherine. I was a choir member and every time I saw her I was carried away, so I pursued her.
At what age did you get married?
Augustine: I was 28 years old and Catherine was 19. We believed we were mature enough.
Did he propose to you?
Catherine: Yes, we met and he told me how he loved me and he was holding my photo, which he fought hard to get. He said he liked the photo and later asked me to marry him.
How did you react to the proposal?
Catherine: It was a huge surprise but I got a bit scared because my energies were focused on school. I asked him to wait a bit. Later, I accepted him because of his persistence and likeable traits.
How did you tell her that you were interested in marrying her?
Augustine: It was always hard. In my case, I wanted a copy of her photo from our village camera man. He refused, citing professionalism and he advised me to talk to Catherine about it. I sent my cousin to get Catherine’s photo and on the same day I requested her to find time and we talk. Catherine accepted and that’s when I told her I wanted us to start a relationship.
What were the most expensive items back then?
Catherine: We cannot specify what was expensive because we had a simple ceremony and the fact that we did not have that much money set aside for the ceremony. Gowns and suits used to be expensive; that is why this time we opted for kitenge.
Who was on your entourage?
Catherine: We had a bestman, maid of honour and two maids.
Augustine: They were our good friends and the maids were children of our church friends.
What were you doing on your wedding eve in 1992?
Augustine: I had prayers at home and I visited a barbershop. Also, I spent it preparing the items that were to be taken in the morning as kasuzekatya to the girl’s home.
Catherine: I was at the salon because back in the day things were not as fast as today. We used to spend a lot of time working on our hair.
Where was your reception?
Catherine: The reception was at the Holy Trinity Church Kamwokya hall.
Augustine: We did not have enough money, therefore, we could not afford hiring a venue therefore having been serving in the church I was given the offer by the parish priest then.
What did you serve your guests?
Catherine: A friend pledged cake and she delivered it.
Augustine: We served snacks like cakes, popcorn and sodas. We did not have enough money.
What went through your mind during the ceremony?
Augustine: We were very excited that we made it to the altar for Holy Matrimony because to us it was the most important. The church was full and so was the reception. We were both excited.
What did you like the most?
Catherine: Our kitenge clothes were outstanding and unique.
Were you disappointed in any way?
Augustine: Before the function, our parents were opposed to the wedding saying it was too simple and they could not attend. The church leaders managed to convince them.
Catherine: However, they attended like any other congregants.
How did you prepare for the anniversary?
Augustine: It took us around five months. Unlike the first wedding, we sent out messages to our friends for contribution. Being the leader of the marrieds ministry in Kampala Archdiocese, I expected a big turn out. Therefore, I had a fairly big budget and given our simplicity we tried to cut costs. We also dressed the same way we did in 1992.
Did you go for premarital counselling?
Augustine: Yes, it was conducted by the late Mr Katelega, head of marriage ministry also known as, “Sabaffumbo”. It lasted one month and we had three sessions.
Catherine: Rev Fr Festo Adra, also the in-charge of preparation of premarital counselling took part.
What lessons did you learn from it?
Augustine: They taught us how to pray together and said communication is key in a marriage. Dialogue too is key whenever there is a misunderstanding and a little about sex in marriage.
Catherine: They said Augustine knew a lot about the dos and don’ts of marriage since he was a leader.
What have you learnt from your parents’ relationship?
Monica (their first daughter and third born): I have learnt the aspect of prayer, patience, and effective communication which have held together my parents’ marriage.
What do you think of today’s marriage?
Augustine: The wedding ceremony has been exaggerated that it involves a lot of money. Therefore, the poor are afraid of attaining the sacrament.
Catherine: Today’s marriages are not based on the true values of marriage as taught by the church but rather a bandwagon that everyone who feels like, just joins. They are materialistic and not based on true love of two individuals that later form a union. This describes the rampant breakups.
At what age do you think one is ready for marriage?
Catherine: I think a woman can get married at 25years since they would be through with their education and the men can get married at 30 years.But due to the deterioration of morals in our society some people cannot manage a family at that age so they end up getting married at a very old age.
Your life lessons from marriage?
Augustine: Communication is very important in a marriage. Another aspect is praying together as husband and wife, which we think has helped us skip the hurdles in life.
Catherine: Marriage has taught us how to be patient with one another.
What is your advice to those planning to get married?
Augustine: I treasure the aspect of courtship without staying together. Go for counselling to get guidelines on issues of premarital sex, family planning, in-laws, how to parent, manage finances, and others.
Catherine: I discourage trial marriages.
What has been the strongest pillar of your marriage?
Catherine: God is our number one because I have served in the church even before I got married and we have always been guided by the church. We have been striving to be exemplary and this is why we have probably reached this far.
Augustine: We have prayed as a couple, as a family and even with the community.
Quality Catering Group, Bukoto baked the Ssekibuules’ anniversary cake. Although, the bakers had initially asked for Shs 1.2m, they gave the Sekibuules’ a discount. They paid Shs1m.This custom-made cake spelling out their marriage years befitted the ceremony.
Catherine’s gown and shoes cost Shs800,000 and the maids spent Shs100,000 each for the dresses and my maid of honour spent Shs400,000. Augustine and his best man spent Shs400,000 on their attire.
To cut costs, the couple served popcorn and cupcakes at their first wedding. This did not strain their budget and they aimed at spending within their means. This too was easy to serve their guests as well as an affordable meal in such hard economic times.