The 150-strong Ramaphosa clan travelled to the Ugandan capital of Kampala over the weekend, where Andile was formally welcomed into his 37-year-old bride Bridget Birungi Rwakairu’s family in a traditional ceremony attended by the who’s who of Uganda, including Ramaphosa’s Ugandan counterpart President Yoweri Museveni.
Rwakairu was given away by her uncle John Amama Mbabazi, Uganda’s former Prime Minister, who thanked the Ramaphosa family for being reliable and for fulfilling all the conditions his family had set in order to hand her over, according to a Sowetan report.
“As a big army from home, we are delighted that as we go home we won’t go back empty-handed. We accept her as our daughter firstly, and we also accept her as our son’s beloved wife and I can assure you that the two of them are deeply in love,” Ramaphosa was quoted saying during the ceremony.
He set the record straight on social media rumblings by disheartened South African women, many of whom had questioned Andile’s decision to settle with a Ugandan woman.
“Many girls in South Africa are envious of you, even on social media they were asking: ‘Why did he go so far when we are here?’,” he told Birungi. “They don’t know that you fell in love in China.”
The couple met in Beijing, where she was finishing off her Environmental Engineering degree and he was working, nearly a decade ago.
In an interview with Uganda’s Daily Monitor, Andile opened up about what made him fall in love with his bride and mother of their daughter all those years ago. He said he was instantly taken by her humble nature.
“Bridget loves meeting people from different cultures and is able to assimilate with people from everywhere. That is how she has been able to live in South Africa, after China. However, what really attracted me to her is her humility and the way she carries herself, as an African woman,” he told the publication.
He revealed that the couple share a passion for farming, a common interest that binds them and a topic they have been discussing since their first date. Ramaphosa is one of the biggest Ankole cattle farmers in the country and purchased his first herd of cattle from Museveni back in 2004.
“One of the first things we spoke about when we first met was farming,” Andile says. He recalls questioning how she knew his family were farmers, but later discovered it was a purely coincidental common interest.
“That even attracted me further. With love for farming, it meant that she has love for land and nature, and patience to see something grow.”
Andile has spoken previously about his desire to have a big family, but it’s highly unlikely he will follow through on advice meted out to the couple during their ceremony by an aunt who encouraged the newlyweds to have 22 children.
Check out a few pics from their special day below: