Toro Celebrates Princess Komuntale Wedding
by Raymond Baguma
November 17, 2012
Fort Portal, Nov 17, 2012 (New Vision/All Africa Global Media) -- Princess Ruth Komuntale tied the knot on Saturday with her African-American beau Christopher Thomas in a colourful ceremony at St. John`s Cathedral in Fort Portal witnessed by hundreds of guests and the king`s subjects.
Komuntale was led through the church aisle by her brother King Oyo Nyimba in a golden robe, as the police band played the familiar “Praise the Lord,” hymn. Marching from behind were close members of the royal family who included the Queen Mother Best Kemigisa.
The event was colourful, with women adorned in colourful hairstyles of red, orange and purple being the dominant colours. Other people sat under tents raised outside the overflowing cathedral and followed proceedings from the projector screens erected outside the church.
A royal wedding has not taken place in the Kingdom in a very long time. The couple met two years ago in America.
Present at the ceremony were several dignitaries who included guests from other Ugandan cultural institutions of Bunyoro, Busoga, Buganda and Teso. The cathedral was teeming with many dignitaries among whom were Buganda`s Nnabagereka Sylvia Nagginda.
Also present were cultural delegations from African cultural institutions of Ghana, Congo, DR Congo, Benin and Swaziland. There were also foreign diplomats, ministers, and Members of Parliament.
Uganda`s vice president Edward Ssekandi, Speaker Rebecca Kadaga, Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi and former minister Kirunda Kivejinja all turned up to see Princess Komuntale united with Christoper.
© 2012 AllAfrica, All Rights Reserved
Museveni Commends Toro Princess On Marriage
by Raymond Baguma and Sunday Rogers
November 18, 2012
The royal couple waves to the audience. PHOTO: Matthias Mugisha
Nov 18, 2012 (New Vision/All Africa Global Media) -- President Yoweri Museveni has commended the Toro Princess Ruth Komuntale and her American husband for being exemplary to the young generation by committing to each other through holy matrimony.
Museveni said, “Committing to be together into a lifelong relationship is a sign of maturity and responsibility. Thomas and Ruth have indeed demonstrated this sense of responsibility and I congratulate them both.”
President Museveni`s speech was read by Vice President Edward Ssekandi during the wedding reception of Toro Princess Ruth Komuntale and Christopher Thomas in Fort Portal town on Saturday.
President Museveni also commended the Toro Queen mother Best Kemigisa for contributing to the upbringing, education, guidance of Princess Komuntale into a beautiful young lady.
The reception was preceded by a wedding ceremony at St. John`s Cathedral, during which the couple took their vows before the Archbishop Henry Luke Orombi assisted by the Rwenzori Anglican diocese bishop Reuben Kisembo.
The cathedral teemed with guests while other people sat under tents raised outside and followed proceedings from the projector screens which beamed the proceedings.
Present were several dignitaries who included representatives from the cultural institutions of Bunyoro, Busoga, Buganda and Teso.
Others included cultural delegations from African cultural institutions of Ghana, Congo, DR Congo, Benin and Swaziland. There were also foreign diplomats, ministers, and Members of Parliament. They included Speaker Rebecca Kadaga, Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi and former minister Kirunda Kivejinja.
Museveni in his speech said, “The remarkable contribution of the Queen mother of Toro is an example of the great role played by women in national development and world over.”
The President also advised young people to choose their partners early, come out openly and get married as soon as they complete their education.
“Holy matrimony at the early stage in life protects you from many dangers including HIV/AIDS which is still a serious social economic problem in Africa. I advise the couple to build upon the virtues of tolerance, understanding, forgiveness and love,” said Museveni.
He also said that Komuntale`s choice of an American man has united Ugandan with American and will further strengthen the bilateral relations between Uganda and USA.
In an emotional speech the Queen Mother of Toro Best Kemigisa thanked all the people who helped her raise the children especially the President of Uganda for his unending support. She asked Ruth and Thomas to be exemplary in their marriage as they are role models to the whole country and the whole world.
She thanked her two children the Omukama Oyo and the Princess Royal, Komuntale for comforting her and for being there for her. She struggled to remain composed as she remembered her late husband Omukama Kaboyo and their friend, Gaddffi, President of Libya who educated Komuntale in Libya.
Omukama Oyo thanked his mother for bringing them up so well in spite of being a single mother. He thanked the president for diligently supporting them as their guardian.
He said Princess Ruth was attracted by blood relationship to Thomas whose ancestors hailed from Africa and he thanked Thomas for choosing to come back to his roots in Africa.
The Omukama advised the married couple to love and honour one another and to stick to their marriage vows. He argued his sister Ruth to keep the Toro culture by always loving and respecting her husband.
Quoting Shakespeare`s “Take me take a king, take me take a soldier”, Ambassador Katenta Apuuli who headed, the groom`s side said: Chris is a soldier and a gentleman and argued him to remain disciplined so as to have a good marriage. He also advised the couple to look to Jesus. Be patient with each other and to love one another.
© 2012 AllAfrica, All Rights Reserved
Toro Weddings Back in the Day
by Christopher Bendana and Hilary Bainemigisha
November 18, 2012
Princess Komuntale and her brother King Oyo of Toro.PHOTO: Matthias Mugisha
Nov 18, 2012 (New Vision/All Africa Global Media) -- There were societies in Toro, where marriage was by kidnap. The boy`s family decided on a target and waylaid her in the evening as she went to the well to fetch water.
They kidnapped her and took her home. A week later, they would show up at a girl`s home to apologise, pay a fine and ask for recognition as inlaws.
At this point, negotiations would start. But in many other areas, it was a protracted process. The real journey could even start at a beer party when one man who had a daughter would tell another with sons: “I have given you a wife!”
The other would prostrate in thanks and the deal would kick off. Both parents would return home and inform their children of the developments. Neither of the children would know the prospective partner.
However, the real journey would start once a boy grew to marriage age, when the family members would start looking around for a wife.
They considered family background (clan, fertility, hardworking, free from scandals or health problems, friendliness and other historical factors), before zeroing in on a few possibilities.
A go-between would secretly then make contact with the father of the girl and allow him time to do his own research.
If satisfied, the girl`s father would allow the suitors to visit. All this time, the daughter did not have to know.
Among the royals
Toro princesses were only married to royals of any tribe, or successful, renowned individuals in society, but never to peasants.
Suitors were also evaluated on family background (free of vices like wife battering, suicide, murder, genetic diseases), before the royal family could allow their daughter to marry.
The Omukama did not take direct part as other fathers would. He directed the Musuuga, the clan head of the Babiito - Toro`s royal clan, to deal with the man`s parents.
Even during Thursday`s kweranga, Charles Kamurasi, the current head of Babiito clan, presided over the function. King Oyo Nyimba Kabamba Iguru was conspicuously absent.
The king usually accepted one cow, known as Rwahenda, which would, as was done at Kamurasi`s home in Gweri on Thursday, be killed for a feast for the Babiito after the wedding.
The Queen was also given a cloth known as enkanda ya nyina mwana.
After the dowry, the princess remained at the palace until the giveaway. She was smeared with ghee and fed well to look more beautiful. On the wedding day, she was given away by the king or his brother.
In a special royal ritual called okubukara, the Omukama would sit on the omukaya (throne), with the queen next to him. The princess would then sit on their laps, beginning with the Omukama, before leaving the home with the suitors.
The wedding day was one of merrymaking, trumpets, empango and a celebration called mujaguzo, where all people were invited. The aunt escorted the princess to her new home and stayed for about three days.
For the commoners, the boy`s father and his peers, made a formal visit to the girl`s family with at least two beer pots.
They were welcomed with coffee berries and given a pipe at which the boy`s father would puff four times.
The host family would pretend they knew nothing about the visitors` intention until one of the visitors made a formal request. It would generally be like: “I have come to be born in this home, to be a son, to take the cows out for water, to make a bigger cowshed and to help alleviate your needs. I will do all these and more if you give me a wife for my son.”
After a little teasing and display of humorous intellectual literature in proverbs and sayings, they would be accepted.
The two families would then discuss bride price of about three or four cows.
According to Mbiti, all the items had a symbolic meaning. Beer was a symbol of friendship, communion, oneness and acceptability.
Coffee berries represented fertility, productivity and fruitfulness. The pipe was sharing and breathing in unity.
The bride was handed over as soon as the bride price was delivered.
The function would last several days, littered with rituals. On the day of the wedding, the groom would not come.
The family would send about nine strong men who would put up a symbolic fight, `fending off` the village boys to reach the bride`s home. They had to remove a bundle of leaves (ekikarabo), from the parents` roof. Failure to remove it meant failure to marry.
Thereafter, they were given the girl, whom they carried on their backs up to their home.
The bride would be crying. The men would sing to comfort her and to announce to their people that they had been successful, as well as signal that they were approaching. They were met by others in a victory dance before they all walked into the compound triumphantly.
The bride and her aunt would be ushered into a house where the groom, holding a spear would be waiting with his parents, including all his father`s wives.
A ritual followed where the groom sat on and off his father`s and mother`s laps four times.
The bride followed suit but would sit three times. Then she was taken to a house specially prepared for the occasion.
However, a married member of the family would block the doorway saying: “You found me married in this home; please go back and leave me in peace!”
She would only give way after receiving a gift, giving way to frenzied dancing and feasting, which usually lasted the whole night.
The following morning when the guests had returned home, the couple had to bathe very cold water, placed in the courtyard and guarded by the boy`s sister.
They undressed and splashed water on each other as a ritual of binding and cleansing themselves of unmarried life.
The girl`s aunt would stay around until she was sure the marriage was consummated.
If the girl was a virgin, she was given a cow and another was sent to the girl`s parents together with sheets bearing blood. This was the biggest credit a daughter could give her parents.
The bride was then hidden away from the public for several days to symbolise death to the life of unproductivity, to later resurrect to a life of productivity.
On the day of rebirth, her relatives visited with gifts and were given a cordial welcome and great respect.
The bride was brought out and given presents. Other presents were distributed among the people who played a part in the ceremony.
© 2012 AllAfrica, All Rights Reserved
At the Royal Wedding
November 17, 2012
Fort-Portal, Nov 17, 2012 (New Vision/All Africa Global Media) -- The wedding today of Princess Ruth Komuntale and Christopher Thomas was colourful, with women adorned in colourful hairstyles of red, orange and purple being the dominant colours. Other people sat under tents raised outside the overflowing cathedral and followed proceedings from the projector screens erected outside the church.
Barbra Kaija (Vision Group EIC) captured the events as they happened.
AT THE RECEPTION
Omukama Oyo thanked his mother for bringing them up well in spite of being a single mother. He thanked President Yoweri Museveni for diligently supporting them as their guardian. He said Princess Ruth was attracted by the blood relationship to Thomas, whose ancestors hailed from Africa. He hailed Thomas for choosing to come back to his roots in Africa .
The Omukama advised the married couple to love and honour one another and to stick to their marriage vows. He urged his sister Ruth to keep Toro culture by always loving and respecting her husband.
Quoting Shakespeare`s “Take me take a king, take me take a soldier”, Ambassador Katenta Apuuli who headed the groom`s side said: Chris is a soldier and a gentleman and urged him to remain disciplined so as to have a good marriage. He also advised the couple to look to Jesus, be patient and love one another.
The Vice President of Uganda Edward Ssekandi, who represented the President, thanked the Queen Mother for bringing up Ruth so well. He thanked Thomas and Ruth for being role models to the youth by committing to be together in marriage. He said committing to marriage was a sign of maturity and urged the youth to come out openly and marry early as a way of fighting HIV and AIDs.
In an emotional speech the Queen Mother of Toro Best Kemigisa thanked all the people who helped her raise the children, especially President Museveni, for his unending support.
The Queen Mother asked Ruth and Thomas to be exemplary in their marriage as they are role models. She thanked her two children the Omukama Oyo and the Princess Royal, Komuntale for comforting her and for being there for her. She struggled to remain composed as she remembered her late husband Omukama Kaboyo and their friend, Gadaffi, fromer Libyan president, who educated Komuntale in Libya.
AT ST JOHN`S CATHEDRAL
In his characteristic evangelical voice, Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, Luke Orombi delivered a moving sermon about the sanctity of marriage and its role as a foundation for a strong church and nation. He called for strong families and decried the disintegration of the family unit and the fact that families no longer sit to eat together or talk.
He asked Christopher as the head of the family, to sit and eat with the family, to pray for them, and with them.
“The Princess seated next to you is God`s greatest gift to you,” said Archbishop Orombi. “ Your wife is a very special person, a gift from God. She is priceless. God has given you somebody to compliment and fulfil you. A wife is a favour from God. Christopher in Princess Ruth you have received favour. She is your mirror who never lies. Christopher you will be more complete now. Women have intuition. When she says something is wrong please stop and listen. She will help you stand. You are also there to make her stand you will lift her and encourage her. You have somebody to talk to.”
He asked that husbands Love their wives as Christ loved the Church. He called for husbands to sacrifice for their families. He advised the youth to wait for God to give them the right helpers.
Princess Komuntale and Christopher have just taken their vows, both in confident, audible flawless American accents. As Archibishop Orombi declared them husband and wife, the congregation broke out into loud praises with the old Christian revival anthem Tukutendereza Omwana gw`endiga.
In Kabarole, at the foot of the beautiful Mountain Rwenzori, it is bound to rain and this morning, the clouds have opened in blessing to the beautiful Nsemera Komuntale.
It was emotional as she walked hand in hand with Omukama Kabamba Iguru, the King of Toro, who is also her younger brother and who also culturally represents their late father. Dressed in her flowing snow-white gown she looked truly regal. They walked in to the old church tune To God be the glory.
In attendance are Vice President Edward Sekandi, Primer Minister Amama Mbabazi, Speaker of Parliament Rebbeca Kadaga, ministers and members of Parliament from Kabarole and neighbouring districts. Also present is The Nabagereka of Buganda, Delegations from the kingdoms of Bunyoro, Ankole, Busoga, Alur Kenya, Congo, Swaziland, Ghana, European Union Ambassador, Italian Ambassador to Uganda, Rwanda Ambassador to Uganda.
Now at St. John Cathedral, Kabarole. People from all over Toro and Uganda began streaming in as early as 7.30am for the Royal wedding. St. John`s Cathedral, with a seating capacity of 500 is full to the brim. Royal entourages from all the Ugandan kingdoms, Mps, ministers, are all seated. The procession of clergy led by The Archbishop is now coming in to the soft tunes of How sweet the name of Jesus sounds.
Matron: Princess Tracy Guma
Assistant matron: Princess Catherine Kajaguzi
Best man: Williams Thomas
Flower Girls: Princess Zara Mukasa; Princess Davina Kanyaihe; Princess Nkwanzi Ruganda; Princess Kisha Kawamara; Princess Joylyne Katekaine; Princess Sherry Musiime
Princess Shiba Matovu, Princess Lydia Kankya, Princess Shilla Kawamara, Princess Hilda Katuuta, Princess Penninah Baguma
Prince Elly Mugamba, Prince Nathan Kazoora, Prince Justin Mainuka, Prince Tumuhairwe Mwebesa, Prince David Mujungu
Prince Mutumba Irunga
© 2012 AllAfrica, All Rights Reserved