Why on earth do people do wedding launches?
Zero chills: There are few lines one must cross cautiously, weddings in Uganda is one of those lines. But for how long? For how long shall we fear to speak? For how long shall we suffer in silence? I am speaking on behalf of the lonely voices that trod the pothole-infested suburb of Najjera. There is just something about weddings in Uganda that does not sit right.
I suspect weddings may overtake cars and houses in the hierarchy of the Ugandan dream. Nothing confuses the other gender in this country as a wedding. Come what may, everyone dreams of that gown. Not that we really mind what dreams people hold. But we mind when those dreams are to be fulfilled with the rest of us the singletons at gunpoint.
Nothing has brought back old friends, former schoolmates, exes, relatives, nothing has done it like weddings. There is always that random message that pops from nowhere, from that guy you last spoke to at some university orientation. It always starts with the niceties; “Hey bro, long time…” It is a trap. You should run as fast as your legs can take you. Nothing good ever came out of a man calling another man ‘bro.’ One of the two parties is always trying to scam the other.
The only time a Ugandan man calls you bro is when he is trying to take something from you. If he is looking for an extra round of drinks in a club, if he is trying to tap on your bottle of whisky, a Ugandan man will always look for titles of familiarity. From bro, to my guy… arghh arghh, Mr Man, Ben or whatever name you call yourself, we aint bros.
On to weddings, when that message comes in, treat it with the skepticism it deserves. Because sooner than later, there is a follow-up message coming. It is an invitation to the wedding launch. Why on earth do people do wedding launches? To announce what? Like what don’t we know Maria? What don’t we know about this relationship that has suffered puncture after puncture? What don’t we know about your dude and his side hustles? What are you really launching? The fact that you love each other and are seeking our support to finance your feelings? Since when did it become our burden to finance your feelings?
Anyway, we get invited to the wedding launch. It always starts with a bribe. A bribe of some snacks, some food, some pleasantries. It is the calm before the storm. Because the next moments of the launch are never to the pleasure of the economy. It is now time to coerce us into making those crazy pledges. It is time to size us up. It is a competition of tables against tables. It is always arranged in such a way that your ex will always be on the other table. Launches are nothing but ego fights at the benefit of the couple’s financial situation. We need to stop calling these launches. We rather save time, organise carwashes and help people get married. Right?
Once you survive the MC at the wedding launch, once you survive that auction where you end up purchasing a watermelon in the guise of the gift, then you have unlocked the next level. The next level are the constant reminders, the different messages in the wedding WhatsApp group. God forbid you get selected to be part of the entourage. Then you must buy your own wedding dress, you must buy your suit. But why should we be punished for two hearts that fell in love without our permission? Why were we not notified in the first place? That Denzel and Diana are now falling in love, at some point X, they will seek our bailout to support their romantic encounter. Or this was never envisaged during those #RelationshipGoals trends?
At this point in time, we need a department of weddings in Uganda. We need a special department that will review all weddings and align them according to the GDP per capita of the nation. The government should create a wedding fund. We can agree to have a percentage of our annual salaries dedicated to the fund. Then for all those couples that need financial support, they will apply to the department of weddings in Uganda.
We can no longer keep up with the weddings in the country. Some of us are now hiding. We are always blackmailed into contributions; “You better contribute lest you will not have anyone to contribute towards your wedding.” Nice try people, nice try, does the same argument hold for funerals? ‘Attend other people’s funerals so they can also show up at yours.’
There are those who trick us into contribution with the invitation card. They always stamp the pledge next to the wedding invitation card. Huh. Again, it is nothing but shame trapping, guilt trapping. For how on earth do you want to show up at a wedding party where you have not contributed?
We could stomach everything. We could stomach the contributions. But we cannot stomach the silence in the aftermath of the wedding. Before the wedding, the couple treat us as royals, once the wedding is done, they ghost us. The OB and OG disappear never to be seen again. At least thank us, at least update us when the ‘bufumbo’ has failed. By virtue of our contributions, we are shareholders in the marriage. Tuko wazi? We shall still contribute naye mututwala speed.
Disclaimer: These are not the views of the author, but rather the views of his kabalaza drinkmates. Shoot not the messenger!
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