Mwima: Interracial relationships are not all about money

Thursday July 3 2014

Ex-Miss Uganda Dora Mwima and her husband Nader Barrak

Ex-Miss Uganda Dora Mwima and her husband Nader Barrak. The couple say their relationship was built on friendship. PHOTO BY ABUBAKER LUBOWA 

By Esther Oluka

When did you get married and why did you choose to keep your wedding private?

Nader: We tied the knot on May 25, 2014 in front of about 100 guests. We decided to keep it private by inviting only our family members and close friends because we did not want to have a wedding attended by people we did not know.

Dorah: We kept our wedding low key because we wanted to enjoy our day peacefully, considering the previous negative stories that had been written about us in various tabloids.

What were those negative things that had been written about you?
Nader: Let me first bring you up to speed on something. In 2011, I dated a girl called Elizabeth Kabahuma and we broke up in early 2012. The tabloids wrote about our separation and how I was dating another woman, who by the way, Elizabeth physically attacked, blaming her for the breakup. The lady reported the matter to police.

Anyway, Dorah and I started dating in 2013, a year after all that drama. Once we went public about our engagement, all hell broke loose. Kabahuma alleges that we are married and yet we have never been. She also claims that Dorah is the one who caused our separation, an accusation that is absolutely false. Dorah did not have anything to do with my previous relationships.

Things did not work out between us and I decided to move on, but she refused to come to terms with this fact and that is why she is making up all these stories. Besides, I am an adult capable of making my own decisions, so I do not get it when she says Dorah forcefully took me away from her, as though I am a household item. It all does not make sense.

Dorah: I was raised as a morally-upright person. There are things I will never do in my life and that includes snatching another woman’s partner. I never forcefully took Nader from Kabahuma.

Just like what he has said, we only started dating a year after they broke up. Besides the accusations, she has previously sent me threatening and insulting messages on my phone and Facebook account. I reported the matter to police last year and she was arrested, remanded but released on bond. The case is still in court.

Was she your friend, Dorah, as the tabloids stated?
No, she has never been, I had only helped Elizabeth and her sister get a job at Darling Hair Extensions where I was the face of the company as well as the executive secretary.

How did you manage to move on from all the scandal?
Nader: Moving on has definitely not been easy since most times what was stated in the tabloids was perceived as the truth by the public. But anyway, Dorah and I decided to turn the negative situation into a positive one by standing up for each other and, most importantly, not letting such issues affect our relationship and marriage. All that matters is that we love each other.

Dorah: At the end of it all, the situation made our relationship stronger. I have never dated a man who has stood up for me and fought my battles the way he did. I also realised that what we were going through was simply a test of our love for each other. When we look back now, I am happy that I was able to deal with such allegations before we got married. `

Away from the negative publicity, when and how did you meet?
Nader: I first met Dorah in 2010 and this was at the time I had just been posted from Lebanon to Uganda as the general manager of Darling Hair Extensions. Being my first time in Uganda, she directly welcomed me and made me feel comfortable. She also introduced me to the Ugandan social life. She was such a warm, sociable lady and this is why I probably ended up becoming very good friends with her until the time we started dating last year.

What are some of the biggest challenges you had to face being in an interracial relationship?
Dorah: Some people up to now still have negative perceptions towards interracial relationships and it is why they always end up with different sorts of theories. I remember at one time, stories were being written of how I was dating Nader for his money. They regarded him as an “old pensioner” and yet he is not.

Nader is just 32 but people always assume that if a Ugandan girl is dating a foreigner, then, he is old and retired. Also, the same individuals always think that interracial relationships are all about money and yet they are not. Such statements hurt me but I always decide to pay a deaf ear to them.

Nader: I come from Lebanon and my wife is Ugandan. The way we do things back in our country is not the same way here in Uganda. So adjusting was a little bit hard for me.

Have you ever got strange looks or rude comments from people while out on a date?
Nader: Not really, people look at us just like any other ordinary couple out there.
Dorah: The comments are usually from boda boda riders and a few traffic officers. Like recently, a police officer after stopping us and asking about our vehicle particulars told Nader jokingly that “you have taken our Ugandan girl.”

What was your family’s reaction after they found out about your relationship?
Dorah: They all loved Nader and were very supportive of the relationship.
Nader: It was the same thing with my family. My parents welcomed Dorah into the family as if she was their own daughter.

Do you have children yet?
Dorah: I have a four-year-old son from a previous relationship but Nader and I do not have our own children yet. We have decided to put the child-bearing issue on hold for now until after we move to Burundi in about three months’ time, where Nader will be posted as the managing director of Darling Hair Extensions for the Burundi branch.
Nader: We hope to be blessed with three children.

What were your initial concerns when you started dating?
Nader: The only concern that we had was that we were no longer friends but lovers, so we had to adapt to the fact that there are certain things we cannot say or do.
Dorah: We now had to be mindful of the things we say or do, unlike before.

What are some of the things that made you fall in love with each other?
Dorah: Nader is a very caring, intelligent and funny man.
Nader: She is a very honest and open-minded girl, but also very down to earth.

How about the things that you do not like about your partner?
Nader: Nothing. I even do not find a problem with her spending a lot of time in front of the mirror.
Dorah: He spends a lot of time playing computer games, mostly candy crash.

What is the favourite part about your partner’s culture?
Dorah: They have fantastic food and a tight family bond.
Nader: Their wonderful hospitality.

What sacrifices have you had to make to be together?
Dorah: Before I met Nader, I was such an independent woman and would never let a man take care of me. But when Nader came into my life, he requested me to let him take care of me. I had to calm down, open up and share with him about what was going on in my life. I cut off past relationships and friendships that were not healthy for my relationship.
Nader: I used to smoke but I had to stop because Dorah did not like it.

What do you normally do to calm the other person when they are either irritated or angry?
Dorah: Nader is like a baby and when he is annoyed, he wants to be comforted. He wants to be cuddled and told that things are going to be okay. If I do not do that, he will continue sulking.

Nader: It is easier for Dorah to compose herself faster when left alone. So, I normally do not do anything rather than just let her be.

Do you have any advice for couples who are currently facing challenges in their relationship?
Dorah: They should cut off some of the other unhealthy relationships and focus on being happy with their partner.
Nader: Mine is simple. If you really love each other, nothing should stand in your way.

How well do these two know each other?

NADER:
What is Dorah’s favourite colour?
Nader: purple
Dorah:Yes, it is purple
Who is her favourite artiste?
Nader: Beyonce.
Dorah:Yes, I love her music.
Her favourite song at the moment?
Nader: One Plus One by Beyoncé
Dorah: Yes, it is my favourite song
What does she love eating?
Nader: Matooke
Dorah: It is not matooke Nader, but rather chicken.
What is her favourite pass time activity?
Nader: Decorating the house.
Dorah: He is absolutely right.
Her favourite television Channel?
Nader: l don’t know the name but it is about the serial killers.
Dorah: Nader, it is called the Crime channel!

DORAH
What is Nader’s favourite colour?
Dorah: Black
Nader: true
His favourite food?
Dorah: Palak paneer.
Nader: Yes, I do love palak paneer but my favourite food is pizza.
Who is his most preferred musician?
Dorah: That is Glen Hansard
Nader: True. In fact, I love all of his songs.
Which television programme does he love watching most of the time?
Dorah: Al Jazeera.
Nader: That’s correct.
What does he love doing most during his free time?
Dorah: If he is not playing his video and phone games, then he is downloading documentaries.
Nader: (laughs) Guilty as charged.

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