By Robert K James
It is a Thursday afternoon, with the skies starting to pour when my friend Steve and I jump onto a boda-boda from Kamwocha to Oasis Mall, along Yusuf Lule road for my interview with Zamarad Twaha Mukitte, now ‘Nalongo’. At exactly 2:30 PM, we walk into Sparkles Salon where she is having her haircut. A few minutes later, the soft-spoken young lady chips in a chat with me as she strolls her beautiful chubby twins out for lunch at Café Javas with their babysitter and her little sister.
Her brown face glows with a fine touch of makeup and a brilliant smile as she walks in with a smoothie. She then fastens her hijab as I pull out my notebook. “So where do you want us to start,” she asks in an accent that gives away her two years of working on the plane. How is work and the babies? “Work is okay and like you’ve seen, the babies are really great.”
Anyone that’s acquainted with Zamarad knows that she is such a jolly person. “I hate people coming with sad news. I always like to be around happy people,” she notes with girlish laughter.
The story of how Zamarad and her husband Muhammad Katende of Katende Muhammad Photography met is one that has been written before, but guess what, we will tell it one more time after Mikolo’s James Robert Kayindi caught up with the lady herself.
Relive it for us, how did the two of you meet?
“My husband and I met on a flight,” Zamarad enthusiastically says. She reveals that almost two months later, they met again on another flight. “I don’t know why but when I saw him the second time, I was a bit nervously excited. Butterflies kicked in and I was all blushing,” she reminisces. But a few sighs were enough to calm her down.
Before all such moments would fade out of her mind, Zamarad scrolled through her messenger only to discover that Katende had been courting her long before they even met. “I rarely open my messenger even when I receive lots of messages. I realized his messages dated back to as far as 2015,” she smiles.
A response message set everything in motion and soon it was a breakfast meeting at Café Javas in Kamwocha. “Wow!!! Katende was dressed to kill that day. In fact, it’s the smartest he has ever been. He came with flowers,” Zamarad narrates.
After their date, the two exchanged cars before going for what turned out to be an exhilarating photo shoot at Ssezibwa falls on another day. “He had a pre-wedding photo shoot to do with a certain couple and he asked me to tag along. So we also took photos that he processed quickly and shared on his page that day. And when people saw them, they started asking questions including my parents at home about who this guy was,” she says.
Zamarad adds that she then started receiving all sorts of messages from girls all over asking her to leave their man. “I didn’t respond to any of them but I told Katende about it. He acknowledged them as girls from his passed and asked me not mind them.”
How Katende proposed
He proposed to me in Dubai. He planned everything with my sisters and brothers who also stay on the other side of the world. He booked a ship but let other people also come on board. And on the first day of Ramadan which also happened to be his birthday (6th June), as we broke our fast, in front of hundreds of people, he proposed. It was the ultimate surprise. Although it all happened so fast, with my family and some friends saying it was too early, I said ‘Yes’ because deep inside I knew he was the one. We had a connection. Katende and I were meant to be.
Kukyala and Introduction
On September 10th Zamarad hosted her swain at her parents’ home for the first time at an event that was graced by a big number of family members and relatives and on the same day, Nikkah was done. Less than a month later, Katende, in the accompaniment of family and friends returned to a familiar territory to officially be introduced by the apple of his eye to the rest of the world at a glamorous event on October 2nd, 2016. It was on the eve of their introduction that the two lovebirds discovered that she was pregnant. And it was the more reason to celebrate.
What has changed in your life ever since you got married?
Well, a lot has changed. I’m now a mother of twins and I can’t say it’s been a walk in the park. I did lose some of my friends, some of whom thought that my husband doesn’t deserve me.
Tell us more about the pregnancy, how you manage to balance work and being a mother?
Well, I must say the pregnancy was really tough on me. Carrying twins isn’t a piece of cake. The good thing is that in my line of work, as soon as they know you’re expecting, you don’t do flights anymore for health reason. I was given six months of maternity leave and I chose to take five before giving birth and one after. Tahir and Tamirah were born on 15th May 2017 and I resumed work on 25th June. I had to fly them to Dubai and stayed with them for four months before bringing them back home.
It’s difficult being away from them and I miss them dearly. And when am at work, I’m extremely busy but at least every after two weeks, am at home. My kids know me and whenever I come back to them, they just smile.
Not so long ago, rumors broke that Katende was dating a city model Efrance Nakitto. How did you handle this and how did it affect your marriage?
Nakitto is a model!!!! Zamarad inquisitively smiles in wonder. Yes, she is as far as we know and blogs go, I responded. She is just one of these ‘Kampala slay queens’ looking for survival. So you don’t refute the rumors that she had an affair with your husband. I don’t know about their affair but my husband told me that they are just friends.
Nakitto is weird, desperate and stupid. She knew Katende is a married man and a new dad to twins not even one but still went out with him and even shared pictures online. She really wanted to bring herself to my attention. Some people are so evil and jealous. They always come as a devil to take away people’s happiness. She just wanted to spoil the reputation of my husband’s name. My husband and I are a brand. We have a very good name to protect. So many people look up to us.
My husband and I are a young hardworking couple that is admired by so many people. But like any other busy intelligent young woman like me, I ignored Nakitto because she was acting according to her little brains. Women like Nakitto are so many out there. This is the problem we are getting with women who drop out of school and think they will use their bodies to earn a penny. I don’t blame my husband anywhere here because he told me she was just a friend who came to him asking for a job in his company.
Some girls do not have anything else to offer apart from looking sexy. Argue all you want, but this is the truth. Most ladies spend all their time and resources on their appearance, just to look sexy, forgetting that whoever they’re after isn’t going to be horny forever. There are times when he would only need a real woman to share his worries with and your miniskirts and long lashes would not bring anything to that table. There would be days when he would need your managerial qualities, but you are only used to living Lavish. Slay Mama! Don’t spend all your days making-up, doing nails and turning up anywhere a DJ takes his speakers to. Build yourself and practice things that can add values to your life. Being beautiful or sexy doesn’t prevent you from being Dumb at the end of the day. We need responsible mothers, Not just a SLAY QUEEN.
Reports suggest that the two of you even separated as you work things out. What’s the state of your marriage?
Ha-ha… Separated!!!! No. My husband and I have never separated, not at any one time and we are very happy together. Marriage is about commitment. It isn’t about the long distance. There are so many relationships and marriages doing the long distance locally. Like one person stays in Kampala and another elsewhere but they make it work.
I can tell you for a fact that I’ve had to change flights for more than ten times just because my husband drives me to the airport and then asks me to stay for an extra day. I often travel back at least three days to the resumption of my work schedule, so he uses that to make me stay sometimes. At times, he removes my passport from the bag and hides it at home, so when we reach the airport and I don’t have it, we go back. Our wedding is even coming soon.
We have had to postpone it at least twice. First because of the pregnancy and then now our babies who are still so little and it’s a bit costly catering for them, but soon we will have our reception.