10 years and three children, the Bugingos’ relationship is still going strong

comic to family man. Hannington Bugingo might have that silly grin and earned himself a following from theatre, but did you ever imagine he would be treated as a ‘joker’ when he first visited his girlfriend’s family?

Thursday January 16 2014

Hannington Bugingo and Esther, his wife. Photo

Hannington Bugingo and Esther, his wife. Photo by Edgar R. Batte 

By Edgar R Batte

His story
How did you meet?
I met Esther through my friend and business partner Abdu Aziz Kayemba. Abdu and I visited Esther together. When I saw her, I liked what I saw. On that same day, we went for jam session at the National Theatre.

How easy was it to win her?
I am a smooth operator. [laughs]

What was your strategy?
I first treated her as a friend, was kind to her and acted like I was not interested, but deep within I was serious.

How serious were you?
I proved myself to her. In fact within three months she was pregnant. I had just graduated.

How did you react when she told you she was pregnant?
I was speechless. No girl had ever told me she was pregnant. Not even the girl I had dated for three years.

What happened to your previous relationship?
My ex and I were living together at campus. One day when I went for a week-long workshop in Fort Portal, I returned and found her gone. Her phone was off so I could not call and ask her what had happened. I was heartbroken and it was during this mix that I met Esther.

Did she ever contact you?
I have never told Esther, but she resurfaced when Esther was pregnant and I told her I had moved on. She asked how I could have moved on after we had been together for that long. She offered to bear me a child but I told her I was serious with Esther.

How would you compare the two women?
My ex was more like me – hyper, while Esther is calm, reserved and a good listener. Everyone needs someone who is their exact opposite to stay together.

Did you have a job when Esther got pregnant?
I was still hustling. I thought of the responsibility. I was scared but I knew, as a man, I had to plan. So I started saving money for the hospital. It was not easy.

What was it like when her waters broke?
It was at about 1am, we were home and she began complaining about the pain. My neighbour had a car, so he drove us to Nsambya hospital. She gave birth at 10am that morning.

Did life change after the baby?
Yes. I started saving more because it was not about me and Esther anymore. I was now a father and husband. She had difficulty getting breast milk so we needed to buy milk more often.

You hadn’t met Esther’s parents yet. Did you feel pressured?
No. We visited Esther’s parents while she was pregnant. Her dad passed on so it was her mum and uncles. Esther told me to go for lunch with two people but when we got there, we found about seven old men in cultural outfits. They started grilling us, asking why we were on our own and how many cows we had brought. We had carried pineapples, pawpaws and two crates of soda.

What went through your mind?
Wow! We almost ran away but Esther’s mum told them we were only invited for lunch. They later dropped the serious talk and allowed us join their table. We drank beer together.

Did they ask when you would officially introduce their girl?
Oh yeah and the pressure started mounting on me. Ansell, our son, was about two years now. Esther kept asking me what to tell her mother when she asked about the wedding. We set the date for the introduction in May and wedded on September 18, 2009.

What were you doing on your wedding eve?
I was at the theatre acting. The wedding committee had paid for everything. My friends supported me so much. After the theatre I wanted to go to Steak Out for Rock Night because we often went there on Thursday, but I decided to go home and sleep.

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