Five years later, travel brought us together

Ahereza and Tusiime on their special day. PHOTO/iconic photography

What you need to know:

  • Ever after. Joined by travel,  Brian Ahereza and Tracy Tusiime Bonita were destined. But nothing seemed to say they were meant to be than her visit to his family, writes Promise Twinamukye.

Five years after their initial meeting at Makerere University, Brian Ahereza met Tracy Tusiime Bonita, a fellow travel expert, as they found themselves in the same car going to Bwindi Impenetrable Forests.

They decided to stay in touch, and their relationship gradually grew closer. They spent time getting to know each other, supporting each other during the pandemic, and eventually realising that they had a strong connection and were ready for a committed relationship.

In 2021, Tusiime went out with Ahereza to celebrate his birthday (which he had never celebrated before), and that is when they believed they belonged together.

“He is caring, and he is always there when I call. I used to think he was a tough guy, but he is soft with me, and the fact that I see the side of him that most people do not see is attractive to me,” Tusiime says.

“She was there when I needed someone, especially during the pandemic. She is beautiful and caring, and she always has time for me and, of course, her loved ones,” Ahereza says.

He did not propose

Since they had dated for a year, they started a serious discussion of what the future holds for them.

After their trip in June 2022, Brian and Tracy had a week of serious talks about their future. They discussed their goals, values, and desires for marriage and realised that they were both ready for commitment.

Brian then travelled to Mbarara to discuss marriage with his parents, who were already prepared with questions. After the discussion, they were both on the same page and excited about the prospect of getting married.

“I took my mother out and told her I was going to get married. She was so happy that her lastborn was also getting married. Since she had seen Brian before, she was excited. She shared the news with my father,” she says.

Okugamba obugyenyi (visiting the bride’s family)

Before the event, Ahereza took Tusiime home for a family event, and according to her, they were so welcoming. That meant a yes for them.

It was a tradition to send a ‘lunch’ for and from the groom’s family (okweekunira in Runyakitara) and also prepare the gifts to go to Tracy’s home (okukyaala).

“We had to agree on the dowry, and that okuhingira (give-away ceremony) was set for December. The dowry was sent to the bride’s family a month before for steady progress,” he says.

While Tusiime’s father wanted the couple’s wedding to happen a week after the give-away ceremony, they wanted to savour every event. They decided the wedding would happen on September 23, 2023.

The road to the wedding

Now traditionally married, the couple went to the groom’s home for a function in May, and it was decided that the wedding would happen in the last days of September 2023.

Being the first boy in the family, the groom’s father wanted the first wedding to happen in their home area. He informed the bride, and they were on the same page.

They decided to plan their wedding thanks to the experience from the weddings they have attended.

“My siblings were excited for a Mbarara wedding, and my parents were okay with the idea. This would also make it easier for my relatives in Bushenyi to attend the wedding as well,” she recounts.

“The first thing we booked was a church and venue, which was not easy. My parents are teachers, and they are keen on expenditure. I had to go behind their backs to book the best venue. I told them after,” he says.

The couple found it easier to entrust the planning to the groom’s elder sister, who became a shock absorber between their needs and the parents’ needs.

“The budget overwhelmed me. My budget was around Shs80m, and I did not know how we would raise the funds. Social capital was the way to go,” he says.

They started their wedding meetings in June, just three months before the wedding, and were able to collect Shs8m during the launch. Together with his savings, whatever money they got, they paid off service providers, and by the last meeting, they had cleared 95%. Three days into the function, all the service providers were paid.


In August, the couple travelled to Mbarara for their premarital counselling, and during that, they met all the service providers as well.

“The reverend mentioned the difference between a woman and a wife in factory settings and what they go through to get them ready. This increased my respect for a woman because, as a multi-tasker, a woman can actually do even more things than a man can do,” he says.

“Consider your partner’s feelings in whatever you do and be transparent regarding financial issues,” she says.


Because it was ‘the big family wedding’, everyone had a say. There were different fights over the number of guests and the choice of service providers, among other things.

What was originally a 300-person affair was shot up to 500 guests after a lot of haggling.

Two days before the wedding, Tusiime left Kampala for Mbarara to get ready for her wedding. She was determined to enjoy herself.

“I was once the bridesmaid of a friend, and she did not enjoy her wedding. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and I was willing to let anything slide to enjoy mine,” she says.

I woke up at 4 a.m. for hair and make-up, and by 8 a.m., we were finishing up, and by 9:30, we were ready to go out. We had stayed in apartments that were 10 minutes away from church.

At 6:30am, Ahereza called Tusiime, and they prayed for their marriage together before he stepped out to see his friends.

By 9:30am, the bride and entourage were leaving their rooms to head to church. Reaching church, she moved in with her father to sign the marriage certificate before walking down the aisle.

Ahereza, on the other hand, had his bachelors’ party the night before the wedding.

“It was the first time I stayed out late while at my father’s house. I partied with my friends, most of whom had come early specifically for the party. I left the bar at 2 a.m. and found my parents awake, waiting on me,” he recalls.

With his father, he worked on his wedding speech before heading for a three-hour nap.