In Kigali there is a phenomenon that is all too common. It isn’t exclusive to Rwanda, but here it takes a uniquely Rwandan quality.
The KP – otherwise known as a Kigali proposal is more complex than you think. A Kigali proposal would be called a shotgun wedding, a hastily arranged affair to beat the deadline of pregnancy.
The jokes are numerous “I married my girl coz I heard those three words.” What I LOVE YOU? No “I am pregnant.” It just becomes a matter of life, some foreigners would think that Rwandan children only gestate for 6 months but there is a deeper reason.
I plucked up the courage to talk to a cousin of mine about the tricky subject of the timing between his wedding and the birth. I found him surprisingly honest; he dropped a bomb I never expected.
“I had to know that she was able to have children. So we took a blood test, HIV, then stopped using contraception. Two months later we got a surprise, we had to arrange matters quickly.
That was a eureka moment for me, Rwandans plan their unplanned pregnancies, is that clever or what? Either way it is genius, all corners were covered, they went to the pastor for a blessing, started marriage classes, took an AIDS test and went full ahead with an unplanned pregnancy.
This says a lot about our views on fertility; a woman has to prove it before hand. It makes sense because we cannot view it as a trap set by the woman.
The fact that condoms are the main form of contraception means it is incumbent on men to be careful. So this is something men actually plan to do, but there must be other reasons.
“It forced the hand of her Dad, he didn’t like me but once he heard she was pregnant, he was suddenly in favour of the idea.” These days Gusaba’s or betrothals are a sedate charade, in the old days you stood the chance of a rejection or at least several attempts before you got a yes. This way the result is guaranteed.
This raised a question, what would he have done if she couldn’t have kids? If he really loved her no matter what, he should have married her anyway. Even worse, what if it was he who had the problem in conceiving? This is the box of questions you open when you explore the KP issue.
So if you are planning on an unplanned pregnancy take it easy, don’t jump into matters you can’t handle.
At least be like my cousin who planned it with military detail to coincide with his annual leave. Sometimes it is an accident, sometimes it is a trap, other times it is planned by people desperate to be together. So this KP thing is more complicated than we think.