Thursday, September 22, 2011

Celebrity weddings

Marriage is said to be a book of which the first chapter is written in poetry and the remaining chapters in prose. After all there is something about a wedding gown that is prettier than any other gown in the world. Kenyan celebrities and personalities are jumping the broom as the touch of love makes lovers, poets, writes STEVENS MUENDO

There were three major celebrity weddings planned across East Africa over the last weekend. Former president Moi graced Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s son wedding in Nairobi. Uganda’s royal family led another in Kampala. The third one slated for Arusha was the wedding that never was.

It has been another season of celebrity weddings. In fact, Nairobi witnessed more than five celebrity weddings in a span of four weeks. There are seven more (those known to Pulse) on the cards, before the end of the year.

Besides the glamour and accompanying joy, for some, what was an eagerly awaited start to a new life seems to have turned into a puzzle with tears and cursing replacing the jubilation. As Pulse broke it last week, the secret female celebrity wedding hatched behind closed doors failed to take off. The botched secret wedding is now plastered on Internet blogs for the whole world to see.

Whoever coined the adage "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned," must have been a genius! (Actually, it was Shakespeare).

The much-hyped Robert Kyagulanyi aka Bobi Wine and Barbara Itungo wedding, which took place in Kampala has everyone talking, just as does the Raila Junior and Yvonne Kibukosya’s holy union, which took place in Nairobi last weekend.

A story is told of how, during the Buganda queen’s wedding, a Lexus bought for the wedding and estimated at about 100,000 dollars (Sh9,273,060) could not be used because her dress was too low for her highness to climb the heavy machine.

Apparently, the organising committee had to order for another car for her, a sedan.

And in a move to keep the royal tradition, celebrated Ugandan artiste Bobi Wine, who hails from the royal Buganda Kingdom had warned that his would be the wedding of the year and set aside about Sh30 million for the lavish affair.

The bride, Barbara Itungo, a daughter of a reputable gospel minister, donned silver stilettos and a beautiful long flowing gown designed to expose the tattoo of the Bad Man from Kamwokya slums, the street credibility tag for Ghetto President.

The multiple-award winning star was clad in a well-tailored white tuxedo, a magnificent black-stripped tie and a blending white long sleeved shirt.

It was a bountiful ‘invites only’ glamourous affair attended by members of the royal Kabaka’s court, government leaders, politicians, dignitaries and celebrated artistes among others.

The royal accord not withstanding, Bobi Wine’s usual controversy reared its ugly head during the wedding mass. The singer took the microphone and shamelessly took a swipe at his singing counterpart Jose Chameleone, who was in the gathering together with his wife. The uncalled for attack was centred on Chameleone’s recent temporal conversion to Islam. Even though he did not answer back, a disillusioned Chameleone did not even join his wife Daniella Otim when the mass lined up for Eucharist. The drama went on. After the presiding archbishop asked Bobi Wine to make a wish, he went on to ask God to bless him with twins on top of the couple’s three kids.

That was not all. There was a long motorcade convoying outside the church, as the newly weds proceeded to the wedding reception. There was one horse carriage, two Hummers, two Benzes, two limousines, two Escalades among other state-of-the art whips. A queue of outriders and boda boda cyclists led the procession. Halfway, the horse pulling the couple’s magnificent carriage stubbornly came to a stop and would not make another step; and since no one was willing to whip the stalled ‘mule’, the couple was forced to jump into one of the whips, all the way to the five star Serena Hotel.

Back in Nairobi, the love affair between the Prime Minister’s son Raila Junior and Yvonne Kibukosya, the daughter of a famous musical family was underway. It had only been three weeks since Machel Waikenda, one of the directors of leading showbiz outfit had tied the knot with Rose Njoroge, his love of many years during a colourful ceremony attended by former First Lady Mama Ngina and members associated to the first family.

And in what seemed to be a show of who owns Kenya, the country’s political power weights who include former President Moi were on the Prime Minister’s side as his second-born son said "I do" to Yvonne.

Wedding bells chimed, crowds cheered and even the sun put in an auspicious appearance on a rather dull Nairobi August day, as the bride walked down the aisle to take her bridegroom’s arm.

Wearing a broad smile, a gold and an ivory gown with lace applique, Yvonne Kibukosya – now Yvonne Raila, amid the pomp and pageantry the Prime Minister’s family prides itself on — took to the tune of the soft playing piano, every step calculated to stir up the emotions of the moment. Before a battery of journalists who jostled to take account of the momentous hour, Yvonne played her part to perfection. She looked every inch the princess in the fairytale the ceremony had been assembled to be.

The total cost was estimated at Sh10 million. According to our source, the initial family ceremonies, one of which was hosted at the Odinga’s Bondo home and another one in Nairobi, at a hefty sum of Sh30million.

Yvonne is the daughter of Gido Kibukosya, a rekown producer.

Still in Nairobi, award-winning secular singer turned gospel star Dennis Kaggia aka DNA of the Banjuka fame was also at it with his lover Ruth Wangu Munyue now Ruth Waweru.

"The two wanted a simple wedding and that is why they kept a low profile, never making it a big issue before the press," Tina Kaggia, the young sister to DNA told Pulse.

Days are gone when Kenyan celebrities made their wedding day a big deal, the way Nameless and Wahu did a day short of six years today. Besides avoiding a big guest list due to the harsh economic times, many musicians have witnessed celebrity marriages collapse barely a year after making the vows, to public disgrace. With this trepidation, and fear of the unknown, most celebrities have decided to go it the quiet way.

Only family, close friends and church members were aware of Mo Sound CEO and Groove Awards founder Kevin Mulei’s wedding, which took place at Safari Park Hotel in June.

He married a former Miss Kenya 2003 title holder, Janet Kibugu . A week later, it was turn for his friend DJ Soxxy (Jackson Kamau) who tied the knot with Anne Waichigo.

Machel’s wedding, which was held in Karen eight months after the proposal, was equally not much publicised. there is Lenah Ochieng’ of the Zaidi ya Mziki gospel group (recall hit single Fundi wa Mbao) who married his high school lover Laura Wahito.

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