For many, a wedding is a long awaited dream come true. Some see it this way because their dreams of walking down the aisle in the white wedding dress date back to childhood when they played (father and mother) games with the neighbour’s children.
For, others however, the concept of a dream come true is because it drained them of every single shilling and the celebration would have been postponed if it were not for friends’ contributions and money lenders.
Since it is a once in a life-time event for many, one of the considerations during wedding preparations are the cars to use.
Away from the uncountable cars that get Kampala’s roads jammed with traffic today, it was a big deal, even prestigious, to own a car between the 60s and 90s. You had to be wealthy and important. Cars were associated with the white man and were only owned by a handful.
A car would earn a man respect from the community because it portrayed status. The Morris Minor, Morris Kabawo, Zephyr Zodiac, Humber locally known as Police 999, Volvo, Saab, Mercedes Benz round light, 190 and 200, Volkswagen Beetle, Honda, Peugeot 203, Citroen and Fiat are some of the cars that graced Uganda’s roads in the 1960’s.
George Sekitoleko a 70-year-old car dealer at the Old Taxi Park says back then, if a couple did not have a friend, relative or acquaintance who owned a car, they would simply walk to and fro the church on their wedding day.
Similar to any other era, most cars from the 60s and 70s went on to be used in the 80s and 90s.
With a smile and swinging his arms in pride, Hajji Edirisa Nakaana a 53-year old car broker boasts that he transported his bride in a Peugeot 504 estate on their wedding day in November 1984. He adds, “It was one of the best cars at the time.”
Other cars that were common in the 80s were the Peugeot 403 and 404, Mercedes Benz 190 and Datsun 1600SSS. Since few people owned cars, most couples had little or no choice but to go for the car owned by someone in their circle.
“All cars were used as wedding cars. If one did not have a car, he would ask a relative or friend to lend him the car on the wedding day,” explains Nakaana. In the 60s to 80s, Beetles and Peugeots were today’s Jaguars and Mercedes-Benzes.
In addition, Richards Mutwafu, Marketing Manager of Hertz Uganda and Elphazi Muwonge a mechanic says in the early 90s, Mercedes-Benzes took to the scene. They were expensive and raised the bar of any event they were driven to.
To date, Mercedes-Benzes are used as wedding cars because of the several classes they are available in.
Mercedes-Benzes still have high competition over other wedding cars because of their continuous development thus providing a variety to pick from. Some of the most opted for Mercedes-Benzes today are the C-class old model and E class (round eyes).
In early 2000s however, BMWs and limousines surfaced on the wedding scene. BMWs are big cars, and most couples prefer theBMW 5 series and the X3 and X5 SUVs.