Tooro is mourning the death of a renowned marriage spokesperson, Kenneth Nyakairu. Nyakairu died on Sunday morning at his home in Mukonomura village in Karambi Sub County. He was 65. Nyakairu has been a Katerarume, the official spokesperson who goes to a girlâ€™s home to officially announce that there is a man interested in her hand in marriage.
Nyakairu died on Sunday morning at his home in Mukonomura village in Karambi Sub County. He was 65.
Nyakairu has been a Katerarume, the official spokesperson who goes to a girl's home to officially announce that there is a man interested in her hand in marriage.
Nyakairu has been acting as official spokesperson at Kweranga, the traditional marriage functions for more than 30 years.
The role of Katererume or a go-between is central in traditional marriages in many parts of Uganda. In Tooro, norms dictate that a man intending to marry cannot speak to his bride's family in person. He must go through an uncle, a brother or a mutual friend of the family to present his proposal and to discuss the terms of marriage. The spokesman also takes the role of the final emissary on the day of introduction.
During his time as a spokesperson, Nyakairu who was the head of the Abachwa clan in Tooro Kingdom has accompanied more than 200 grooms to various introduction ceremonies in and outside Tooro. His work took him to as far as Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya and Tanzania. According to Francis Mwesige, a close relative, Nyakairu collapsed and died suddenly.
Peter Sande Rusoke, a radio presenter and close friend of the deceased, says that Nyakairu was a resourceful person who will be hard to replace. Rusoke says that during introduction ceremonies, Nyakairu used to pull a lot of antics to engage or answer challenges from the bride's spokesman. He says that the antics made the introduction ceremonies memorable and unique from any other ceremony and also made Nyakairu to be popular not only in Tooro but outside Uganda.
According to Rusoke, Nyakairu didn't stop at being spokesperson, but also counseled the couples in their marriage. Rusoke also says that he hopes Nyakairu trained some people who will carry on the mantle even after his death.
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Richard Rwabuhinga, the Local Council 5 Chairperson Kabarole district who is also a Katererume, says that Tooro Kingdom should have taken advantage of Nyakairu's skills in the local language and employ him in the culture department. Rwabuhinga, who was mentored by the deceased, says that the current crop of spokespersons require intensive training on language, introduction ceremonies and bride price negotiations.
Today, many families opt to hire professional spokespersons because they do not have full grasp of local languages or a good understanding of traditional practices.