He proposed in a packed cinema

What you need to know:

We have seen many public proposals and they do not come any more public than when Arafat proposed to Shakirah. He paid management to pose a movie so that he could propose. And because other cinema goers had been let in on the secret, they made the occasion more special by showing the couple so much love and joy.

“From the moment I saw her, I had this feeling that it was my responsibility to take care of her. So, caring for her came naturally,” says Arafat Axam Kayemba.

Shakirah Nanyondo says when she met Arafat, he made it his sole responsibility to take care of her needs. He would often call to check on her and make sure she was okay. So, even when they spent days without seeing each other, she knew that he would always be there for her.

The business partners met at a party through a mutual friend. When Arafat saw her, he was quite smitten and asked their friend for her phone number to be able to call and tell her how he felt.

“That evening when I reached home, he called and that is how it all started. He was very polite and for the few minutes we talked, I realised he was mature and responsible so I agreed to meet him,” she says.


When they met, he asked whether she was open to dating to which she agreed. For their first date, he took her to the Source of the Nile in Jinja City, Eastern Uganda.

“Every experience that day was special. The conversations we had while travelling, the adventures and everything else we shared. It was on this day that I decided that I wanted her to be more than just a girlfriend,” he says.

“I will never forget the day he came home for the kukyala (official visit). I remember everything like it was yesterday,” she says, adding that after this visit, he asked for her hand in marriage to which she said yes.

The proposal

He started planning the proposal which was to take place at Century Cinemax at Acacia Mall in Kampala.

“I booked slots for us to watch a movie at the cinema. My plan was that halfway through the movie, it would be stopped and the spotlight turned to us. The cinema screens would show our story in pictures and during all this, I would get down on one knee and ask her to marry me. When this happened, all eyes were on her; waiting for her response,” he narrates.

Because Arafat had paid the management, all those who had come to watch the movie had been told about what would happen.

“I was surprised to see my pictures on the screen instead of the movie we had come to watch. When he popped the question, everyone waited quietly for my answer and when I finally said yes, everyone clapped and shouted, which made the proposal even more special,” she says. 

“He planned everything so well that I had no idea what was going on until the last minute. Everything was just perfect,” she adds.


The couple recently tied the knot in the traditional Muslim ceremony called Nikkah. They promised each other a happy and everlasting relationship full of peace, love and affection.


I ask the lovebirds what their biggest challenge has been thus far and how they have mitigated it.

Shakirah says something that really troubled her for a while was the fact that he did not introduce her to any of his family members during their courtship. Thankfully, towards their Nikkah he did, which made her feel secure and happy.

“When we have a disagreement, she switches off her phone because she does not want to talk to me,” Arafat says, adding that this is the main challenge he is facing and they are learning to solve it each day through learning the importance of constant communication and never letting disagreements fester.

Handling finances

When it comes to their finances, Shakirah says it is her husband’s responsibility to manage their money and she is okay with this arrangement. The couple have three bank accounts; two personal ones and a joint account which caters for the family needs.

How they make it work

The couple say the secret is in understanding each other’s needs and emphasising communicating even when one party is angry and they would rather offer the silent treatment.

“I love my partner the same way I love myself and I would advise other couples to do the same,” Shakirah tips.

Arafat says apologising when there is a misunderstanding is also one of the main reasons their marriage is thriving. He always says sorry to his wife whenever there is a misunderstanding, which has helped them live harmoniously.