Theogene Kalinamaryo is a proud Rwandan who greatly participates in give-away wedding ceremonies known as Gusaba. He is mostly approached by friends to represent the interests of a groom when asking for a daughter’s hand in marriage or to give-away the bride.
He was born on July 5th, 1962 in Mbarara Uganda and he is the fifth child in a family of twenty.
“I attended Kibwera Primary School before going to Ntare High School for both my O’ Level and A’ Level. I joined Nkozi University were I pursued a Bachelors Degree in Education,” Kalinamaryo said.
He taught Biology and Chemistry at St.Charles Lwanga ,Kasasa in Masaka District while in Uganda. When he returned from exile, he became the Mayor of Kanombe for 11 years before joining the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF) Secretariat in 2006.
At 49 years, Kalinamaryo is married and blessed with two daughters and five sons.
“Since I have been in leadership for some time, patriotism and mobilization are some of the key factors I uplift. When I’m approached by people to ask for a daughter’s hand in marriage, I don’t hesitate because it is a way of strengthening the Rwandan cultural traits,” Kalinamaryo said.
Handling a ceremony:
“I’m usually given an invitation card which has the details of the ceremony with the parents and the couple’s names. This avoids unnecessary mistakes like addressing a couple with a wrong name.
“Currently girls acquire their father’s names and this is something that was not common in the Rwandan culture. For instance, if the bride is called Jackie Gasore and yet it’s also the father’s surname, in such circumstances, the daughter is addressed with her first name alone,” he explained.
In Rwanda’s culture, a traditional marriage sequence includes; (Gufata irembo) making your intent known to the girls family, (Gusaba ) official request for the girl’s hand in marriage, (Gukwa)paying dowry or bride price, (Gutembutsa) requesting for the nearest date for the give-away ceremony and (Gushyingira) the give –away ceremony.
Some of these procedures have been mixed up or skipped over time.
Kalinamaryo attributed this to the couples who are trying to cut costs and time on weddings because of work and other factors such as, the absence of relatives who are meant to be witnesses in all the ceremonies.
Another factor for the mix-up is when couples go for a civil marriage before the give-away (Gusaba) because officials don’t usually work on weekends. This act has creates confusion and its misleading the youth from fully understanding their culture.
“Although culture changes with times, the issue of mixing up the traditional marriage stages is something we need to revise; for example, elders should make amends for the sake of future generations,” said Kalinamaryo.
Additionally, several changes have been made regarding the traditional marriage. Previously, bride price was solely cows but today, it is in the form of an amount of cash agreed upon by two families. In cases where parents of the girl are very conservative, they may stick on the kind of cows they want—either the local long-horned breed or Friesians.
Kalinamaryo said he prefers participating in the grooms team to avoid conflicts of interest that may arise, for instance; in case the girl’s parents refuse to hand over a daughter due to unclear circumstances like it was done in the ancient times when a boy would not marry a girl of a particular clan.
“I have never encountered such a challenge because by the time the date is set, that means the interested parties have come to a conclusion,” Kalinamaryo clarified.
Quote: - ‘Imana yirurwa ahandi igataha mu Rwanda’ literally meaning God spends his day else where and sleeps in Rwanda.
Drink: - Milk and alcohol
Music: - Local music especially traditional dance songs
Soccer Team: - Amavubi
Colour: - Blue