By Bamuturaki Musinguzi
Published September 18, 2013
A young man returns home after a long time in a city where he has been studying at university. His parents welcome him warmly. They already have a village girl waiting for him to become his wife. But the young man, Cruz, declines the arrangement as he had come home with Emma, a girl he met in university and whom he intends to marry. He argues that the only marriages he believes in are those based on love.
â€œWhat has love got to do with marriage? Love comes after marriage,â€ the angry father retorts. â€œYou should marry the girl chosen for you by the family according to our culture and tradition.â€
For the sonâ€™s unwillingness to yield to the familyâ€™s arrangement, the angry father not only disinherits but sends him away from home. The mother, sympathetic to her sonâ€™s plight, blesses him, advising him and Emma that it is not love that matters in marriage but their commitment to each other.
But upon returning to the city, Emma falls in love with another man.
That is the plot of Any Cow Will Do, a play written by Kwezi Kaganda Ruhinda that has just been staged at the National Theatre in Kampala, Uganda.
The play revolves around a university-trained, city-dwelling young man being forced into arranged marriage by his father. To force the obstinate son to do his bidding, the father even hires a married man to seduce his fiancÃ© in order to test her love for the younger man.
In the end the father is left with no option but to bless his sonâ€™s marriage to the woman of his love.
Directed by Ruhinda who also wrote it, the play was staged at the National Theatre on September 6, 2013. It will show again at the same venue on October 20, 2013.
The show involves a cast of 30 actors, all of them former students of Namasagali College; it was a fundraiser whose proceeds will go towards the Father Grimes Foundation which offers skills to fresh university students in leadership, speech, critical thinking, etiquette, ethics and integrity.
The foundation was set up by former Namasagali College students to honour Rev Fr Damien Grimes for his 31-year contribution to Ugandaâ€™s education sector and to carry on his legacy. Grimes founded Namasagali College in 1967 as Ugandaâ€™s first private school and was head master up to 2000.
Kwezi told ArtMatters.Info that todayâ€™s marriages are based on poor foundations and illusions: â€œWhen that illusion wears off, the marriage is no more because there is nothing to hold it together.â€
â€œPeople meet and marry in no time because of that magical moment called falling in love. They do not have any sense of commitment to the person they are getting attached to. Todayâ€™s wedding is just a show off with no solid foundation for a long lasting relationship,â€ Ruhinda contends.
Marriage, Ruhinda says, is like two trees standing side by side. Their roots begin to grow towards each other from underground so that when pretty blossoms have fallen from their branches, it is realised that the trees are no longer two but one. â€œSo we have to nurture these roots in order to build a bond which should make a marriage last,â€ Ruhinda says.
â€œI am not in for arranged marriages in todayâ€™s society because they are based on selfish grounds like wealth, religion, tribe and class. But in our traditional society it was about family units knowing each other very well. Marriage did not just involve the two families, but the entire community that endorsed the conduct of the two families. When people get married under such arrangement they are backed by a strong family and commitment,â€ notes Ruhinda.