What you need to know:
- To Immaculate, this was pure madness but to Kenneth, it was showing his faith with works. Although they had known each other as friends, Kenneth knew Immaculate was the one and instead of waiting, he proposed. Although this proposal did not go down well with Immaculate, it set the ball rolling and today, they are happily married.
“As I walked down the stairs of our church, I heard someone say ‘Marry me, you are my wife.’ I turned around and there he was; breathing so heavily because he had run down a flight of stairs to catch up with me before I left,” 29-year-old Immaculate Tumwikirize recalls.
Immaculate and Kenneth Bakashaba aka Ken Royal, 32, a computer engineer and a gospel artiste, both attended Mbarara University of Science and Technology in Mbarara City, western Uganda, between 2010 and 2014. While there, they would go to the same church, Holy Spirit Fire Church.
After graduation and both relocating to Kampala City, they met again at Holy Spirit Fire Church, Kampala. However, for the time they had known each other, they were just friends.
“He had some nerve. I laughed so hard and harshly told him off. If there was anything I hated in my life, it was these ‘church boys’ thinking they can approach anyone by faith. All I saw was a mad man,” Tumwikirize says.
The crazy proposal
Bakashaba was ready to settle down and had been praying to God for a partner for a while. He had gone through his fair share of rejections by 2016 and needed help from God.
“I had been watching Tumwikirize but as a member of the church. It had never occurred to me that she could be my wife. I had never even had a crush on her,” says Bakashaba.
Tumwikirize, a field officer, would go to the field for months and return to Kampala for a short period of time.
“One Sunday in June 2016 as I was playing the keyboard after service, I saw Tumwikirize rushing out of the church like she always did. I cannot explain what happened to me but in that moment, I just knew she was the one and if I did not tell her there and then, I would die. It is the strangest feeling I have ever had to date,” Bakashaba recalls.
He jumped off the keyboard like a crazy man and run after her and proposed to her.
“I will never forget that look on her face and how she laughed at me. I felt so stupid. I totally understood her, in fact if I were her perhaps I would have even slapped some sense into me,” Bakashaba adds.
When Tumwikirize left that day, they did not speak or see each other for about eight months since she was away for field work.
During this time, Bakashaba’s feelings for this amazing woman just grew stronger. He knew more than ever that he had to do whatever it took to have her as his wife.
“It took another two years to convince her. I became a friend, would call her to make sure she was well and whenever she was away, I would constantly keep in touch via WhatsApp and calls. My persistence paid off and in 2018, she agreed to a relationship,” Bakashaba says.
I said yes…
“As Bakashaba and I became closer as friends, I prayed to God and asked Him to show me whether he was the one. The advantage I had was that he had made his intentions known to me from the start, yes in a weird way, but I knew. Most importantly, whenever were together, I felt at peace and this is how I knew God had approved this union,” says Tumwikirize.
Six months into their relationship, Bakashaba organised the proposal of her dreams. He had written and recorded a love song for her titled ‘Niwe ogu’ without her knowledge.
As part of the process for church weddings, couples are introduced in church in order for the wedding banns to kick off ahead of the functions. Coming to church that day, this is what Tumwikirize knew was going to happen.
“In my mind, I thought we had gone past the proposal phase. When we were at the pulpit our pastor said ‘Bakashaba has something he wants to do for his wife to be’ I melted. My heart was pounding, my legs were shaking. Throughout the sweet song he was singing for me, I could hardly believe it was me,” she says.
At the end of the song in the midst of ululations and cheers from the congregation Bakashaba got down on one knee and asked the question; ‘will you marry me?’
“It was the best ‘Yes’ I have ever given in my life next to the most important one of accepting Jesus as my Lord and saviour. I was already seeing myself in a Cinderella white gown walking to the altar and this had always been my childhood dream,” says Tumwikirize.
What I could have added
“Everything was beyond my expectations. Just on point. It had always been my dream to be proposed to at the pulpit, in front of God. The one thing I would have added had I got the chance was to invite all my friends to witness how God answers prayer,” Tumwikirize says.
The biggest challenge the couple faced was their parents owning the functions and giving them less room to have a say. Most of what happened at the function was what the parents from both sides wanted.
Tumwikirize introduced Bakashaba to her parents on September 13, 2019 in Rukoni Ruhaama, Ntungamo District. The two tied the knot at All saints Church in Mbarara on September 14, 2019 and held a reception at Mr and Mrs Fenekas Bandikubi, Bakashaba’s parents’ family home in Sanga, Nyabushozi in Kiruhura District.
In their two years of marriage Mr and Mrs Bakashaba have been blessed with a daughter, Caryn Joy. “My wife is not a singer but since she accepted me, she has been a great support. She is a gift from God,” says Bakashaba.