You have known him as a pastor with a church in Namirembe and founder of Kayiwa International University. Pastor Simeon Kayiwa is also a doctor of Psychology. It is 2pm and I rush to his office at Namirembe Christian Fellowship. When I get to the office, the receptionist asks me to wait a little for the pastor.
Not long, he emerges, dressed in a black body-hugging T-shirt and black jeans. He welcomes me into his well-furnished office. However, being lunch hour, there are some believers praying in the church, which is just in front of the office, so I cannot hear him well.
Pastor Kayiwa suggests we go to his home, which is just below the church.
Entering his spacious well-decorated sitting room, Kayiwa introduces me to his wife, Celia Kayiwa, a doctor. They both dash into their bedroom, leaving me alone in the sitting room, for a few minutes, wondering what is next.
To my amazement, the professor shortly after opens the door to their bedroom and welcomes me in. I hesitate for a bit, wondering if I had heard him well. After all, not many people invite strangers to their bedroom. But before I know it, I’m ushered into this exquisite well-furnished bedroom where I’m welcomed by Celia, who gives me a chair next to their bed. She then pulls another seat and places it just in front of me, ready for the interview, as Pastor Kayiwa rests on the bed.
At this point we are good to go with the interview. But to wipe away the thought that I could be an exception, I begin by asking the couple if they let anyone into their bedroom. And to this they say yes, because they “have nothing to hide”. With the heart settled, I then ask how they met.
“We met in 1981 and we first talked about it on April 16. We had known each other for a few months because I knew her mother was in my church,” Pastor Kayiwa says. He adds that when Celia came back from France where she had been studying, she joined the church. “She was very beautiful and naturally for a man, that’s the first thing we do; look at a beautiful girl and that can be the beginning of other things,” Pastor Kayiwa says.
Celia chips in: “My mother was the first to meet him and she used to talk about a young man who was praying for people, performing miracles and used to come to the church. So, I started coming with her for prayers and that’s when I met him and admired his work; praying and healing.”
“I was attracted by his kindness, the way he talked and his looks too. He was handsome. I love dark-skinned people and it seems our hearts got connected in a strange way,” Celia says as the two burst out in laughter.
Pastor Kayiwa adds that besides Celia’s beauty and having known her family for a while, her care and love were other factors that attracted him to her. He says by then, the church was being held in his house and so most times members left the place littered and disorganised.
Celia, however, stood out because she always stayed back to clean up the mess.
Pastor Kayiwa says after getting permission from her mother, he finally asked to take Celia out so that they could talk about how he felt about her.
“We went to Imperial Hotel, had lunch and discussed whether we could get married or not. That was on April 17, and we got married on May 16 the same year,” Pastor Kayiwa recounts.
He adds that since he had known Celia’s family, especially her mother, for some time, it simplified matters. He says it is within that one month of courtship that he was able to learn more about his wife-to-be.
In fact, he scoffs at many young people who take long in courtship, saying: “Falling in love takes only five seconds, and all other things just follow.” “When we met, we had been both hit by our five seconds,” he says before bursting out into laughter.
Celia interjects, saying the professor was lucky that he did not have to wait long before he got his answer. “I consented to his proposal because I saw in him a good partner and it took me one month to feel satisfied in my heart that he was the right man for me,” she says.
33 years together
The couple has been together for 33 years and have four biological children, an adopted daughter, and many spiritual children. The two, however, seem so into each other that you would hardly believe they have spent all this time together.
As the interview progresses, the couple keep stealing glances at each other and occasionally tap each other as they try to emphasise a point.
Pastor Kayiwa, then says the most important thing about a relationship is knowing that the person you are sharing a life with loves you for who you are and not what you have.
Celia confirms this, saying when she met her husband, he wasn’t rich, didn’t have a lot of property, not even a car, but she loved him the way he was and she trusted that God would make their life prosper.
“My idea of love is that it is not in boundaries of property or sex, or the ability to have a child or not. Love is universal, it is a biological force that cannot be stopped,” Pastor Kayiwa says, adding that while sex and property can be bought, love cannot.