For your enjoyment! This is a slideshow of the Kwanjula and wedding of our eldest daughter, Sharon, and her now husband, Brad, who traveled from Australia to hold these here in Kampala, Uganda (thanks guys!). Usually these two ceremonies are held on separate days, but sometimes are combined together. Things change over from the Kwanjula to the wedding when Sharon comes out in her beautiful white wedding dress (with Simon & Ivy). At the same time, you see Brad change out of his traditional Kanzu robe (with suit jacket) into a regular suit. Before all this, during the Kwanjula, you’ll see Sharon & friends (one of them is Sarah, our 2nd youngest daughter) change outfits multiple times.
What is a Kwanjula, exactly? It’s actually a traditional Ugandan marriage ceremony, part of which is where the family and extended family of the bride meets that of the groom, hence it is also known as an “Introduction Ceremony.” Traditionally (and still commonly), the groom and representatives of his family go aside at some point and negotiate the dowry (or “bride price”). As I understand it, in the past, and in an agricultural setting, this was to compensate the bride’s family for the loss of her help and contribution to family life and work. It was often paid in livestock, which the groom’s family may have had on hand and saved/raised intentionally for the event. In an urban setting (like Kampala City), this doesn’t work so well! It usually comes down to a cash payment equivalent to multiple livestock (e.g. 10-20 cows = 10-20 million Uganda Shillings = US$3000-$6000 in a country where the average person’s annual income is less than $500). It’s sad to see young men & women who would really like to get officially married foregoing this and “passing through the window” (as they say here, i.e. instead of the door) because the groom cannot afford the bride price. And it’s equally sad to see parents of most brides still demanding (and I mean demanding!) the dowry regardless of setting (urban or agrarian) and circumstance; instead of giving the young couple a kick-start in their new life together, they’re seeking to take from them. It’s a good thing that the media, churches, and other folk in Uganda are encouraging a shift and change from this tradition. Of course there are also lots of other detrimental aspects of a “bride price,” including seeing your bride as your “property.” Not good.
Needless to say, we didn’t charge Brad a bride price – even for such a beautiful daughter, and even with the loss of all her help around the house and in Aggie’s garden (agrarian setting). You owe us big time Brad!