By Rashim Nabanja

It was all glitz and glamour as all roads led to Ntugamo grounds to witness a brother, friend, and workmate’s happy moments. Guest travelled from as far as Arua, Kampala, and although the borders were closed, some still managed to come in from Rwanda.

January 25, 2020 will always be a day to remember for Daily Monitor’s Perez Rumanzi. It is on this day that he finally sealed his relationship with the love of his life, Claire Ankwasa.

How they met
Rumanzi and Ankwasa met through the lines of duty; this was in 2012, when the journalist got to work closely with Red Cross in Ntungamo.
At the time, Red Cross was in need of volunteers to help with some of their voluntary work. Ankwasa happened to be one of those that applied.

She was shortlisted and even before they could actually meet, Rumanzi says she had his attention. Then, he had only seen her name.
“When I checked for the volunteers that were pinned on the notice board, I saw the name Claire and it immediately stuck to my mind,” he narrates.

Rumanzi says he has always loved the name Claire which is why it was easy for him notice it and hopefully some time put a face to it.
However, the two did not meet until one time when Red Cross assigned the volunteers to give out items during one of the projects.

He says when he finally got to meet Ankwasa, they interacted a little but became close with time.
As time went by, he invited her to his home for a chat and as he walked her back, they exchanged contacts. When Ankwasa reached home, she gave Rumanzi a call and this sparked the entire chemistry.
“I didn’t expect her to call me first so when she did, I noticed that there was something special about her,” Rumanzi explains.


The visits became more frequent and the two got closer than ever and eventually started dating.
Rumanzi shares a moment that Ankwansa had a stitch on her leg and he had to carry her on his back to her home, “I carried her for 600 metres for some time until her leg was okay.”

So, when did they start formalising the relationship?
Rumanzi: The kukyala and introduction took place on June 12, 2013 at the bride’s parents home in Nyakagando, Ruhaama. It was supposed to be a small ceremony but I was surprised by the way it turned out. Her parents welcomed us and were happy to receive us to the family.

Tell us about the wedding.
Rumanzi: The wedding took place on January 25, 2020 at Mathew’s Cathedral Kyamate in Ntugamo Municipality. We later hosted our reception at Ntugamo grounds. Over eight hundred people came to witness us start a new journey of our lives which was really overwhelming.

800 is quit a large number, how did you manage such a large crowd?
Rumanzi: Eight hundred people are not many to me, I even had to leave out some but it could have been more than that. I invited people through different groups like the Lion’s fraternity, the journalists’ fraternity and many others.

How much was the wedding budget?
Rumanzi: About Shs42 million.

Did you have any fears as your wedding approached?
Rumanzi: Yes, I was anxious about the guests’ turn up. There was also a lot of pressure coming from the people handling the venue, they wanted all their money in time or I risked losing it in the final stages of preparations.

Judging from your dance moves in the video that circulated on social media, you seemed a really happy groom, how did you manage to deal with the anxiety?
Rumanzi: (laughs a little) that is my nature, but to top it all, I was really excited when I saw the people, the crowds. It really made me happy to know that such a large number could leave whatever they had to do, just to come and witness my big day. Also, many of these people had contributed to the wedding and I just could not hold the excitement.

Did you have any disappointments?
Rumanzi: Yes. I used one service provider when for to the venue, tents, décor and sound and he ended up letting me down. He almost provided only 20 percent of what I had requested for. I paid for 15 tents but he provided only 10, which really bothered me.

Do you ever wish to have done something different?
Rumanzi: If I had known I would get disappointed, I would have hired different service providers. Things could have been manageable because they all can’t end up disappointing you.

Did you have a honeymoon?
Rumanzi: No, we had to prepare and take the kids back to school so we didn’t get a chance to have one.

Any advice to couples out there?
Rumanzi: Marriage isn’t always about weddings. It is all about the way you live your life with your partner. If you put so much focus on the wedding then you may miss out on the actual happiness of marriage because a wedding lasts for one day but marriage is meant to last forever.

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