You’ve got to love Ugandans for how they approach this thing called love. There's so much that can be said about Ugandan love from the vibe that is thrown and the phrases we use to the tears and the wild ride of romance we witness.
I have had my fair share of loving in Kampala. I think I have a pretty educated opinion on what it looks like. So, let's talk about some interesting commonalities I have noted while navigating romance in the capital of enjoyment.
I’ve got this one looming question: Do Ugandans actually know how to vibe?
The act of stringing together perfecting worded sentences in the hopes of grabbing the attention of a love interest/lay interest.
The playful act of showing interest in an individual that has caught your eye (or your heart or your loins depending on the situation),
Odes spoken or written in glory and pursuit of an individual that one is interested in romantically or sexually.
See, the problem with a lot of our countrymen (and women) is that they will approach you, repeatedly tell you that you are attractive with the usual, “You are beautiful.” “You’re cute.” and assume their work is done.
Even worse, if you’re out wawelu-ing, they’ll buy you a drink without uttering a word and assume you get it. As a recipient of many a-drink, all you have done is quench my thirst and save me a few shillings…nothing more.
Where’s the poetry? The romance? The sickeningly sweet and tasty nothings? I would like to see, hear and read more vibe that makes me go, “excuse me as I gulp a drink because you’re making me thirsty” instead of the “let me sip my drink and act like you don’t exist”. The latter happens more often than not.
Perhaps I’ve just been hanging around the wrong crowd, the kind that don’t know a real vibe if it slapped them in the face.
However, I must add the disclaimer that there are those out there who may not be able to lay it that vibe on thick in English but hehe, allow them the space to spit it in their native tongue and hoho, you’ll be left clutching your pearls, short of breath and magnetised.
If you’ve never heard this phrase used either with you or any of your friends, praise the heavens. “Our wife” is that term that has a reputation of being stomach-turning.
His friends will call you our wife from the moment they meet you. They will call you “our wife” even when they know this ninja has a girlfriend of 4 years that’s steady-dreaming about that title for herself. They will call you “our wife” even though their bro has a whole family and a ring he hides.
Nothing is certain
You will meet his mum, his dad, his sisters; Facetime, WhatsApp video call and Zoom his favourite cousin who lives in Sweden and the other one in the Netherlands; give him money for his ventures; have Easter in his village; the family dog that he adores will grow to know and love you; he’ll tattoo your name on his wrist; and you’ll still not end up together.
You will invest in her business; drive her everywhere she needs and wants to go; meet her big brother and that one cousin who’s like an older sister; her best friends will tell you how you’re the best thing in her life; exist completely out of your element; go on trips together; enjoy premium birthday and valentine’s day gifts; and you’ll still not end up together.
These streets are rough. Nothing is certain until you hold a marriage function. Even then, nothing is certain. Because some of these dudes will continue to galivant the streets of Kampala telling girlies that he was forced to marry you, that this arranged marriage serves his parents, that he’s in it only for the kids. The girlies will lie about how they don’t love their husbands because he cheated but forced by the family to stay or “if only they had shown up a few months earlier”.
Shine your eye! Always!