How we met:
MIKE MUGALA, Lusaka
JUST count; one, two, three. Yes, K3, that is how much it cost Kunda Mwelwa to have Hyanshita Maipose as his wife.
Kunda can now afford to laugh when he talks about the bride price he was charged, but make no mistake, back, 49 years ago, it was a lot of money.
“I was charged K 3 as bride price, the money had a larger value in 1968,” he says. “One would struggle to find it.”
Hyanshita had to negotiate with her parents to reduce the bride price.
“I thought the K3 they charged him was exorbitant,” she says. “I had to intervene through negotiations with parents but I did not succeed.”
Kunda met Hyanshita in Kabwata in 1968 during rehearsals. They were both members of the famed Zambia national dance troupe.
After six months, Kunda was attracted to Hyanshita and began to develop interest in her.
“Every time we talked, she sounded matured and responsible. I also liked her conduct and presentation,” he says. “I didn’t waste time in approaching her and asking for her hand in marriage.”
Initially, Hyanshita was sceptical in accepting Kunda because she was new in Lusaka and did not know many people at that time.
“I joined the drama group later than him, and when it was time for rehearsals, it was strictly business,” she says. “I never thought any man from there would approach me. But when he said he wanted to marry me, I told him to inform my parents back in Samfya.”
Kunda asked for permission from work and arranged with Hyanshita to go and meet her parents in Samfya, Luapula Province.
“Before I went to her village, I had sent a message that I wanted to marry, to both her parents and mine,” he says. “Her parents received me with open arms and accepted my wish to marry their daughter; they charged me K3 which I paid.”
The pair traditionally got married and later came back to Lusaka in mid-1968. Before the end of the year, Hyanshita left the Zambia national dance troupe.
“I was pregnant for my first child and I thought it was time to concentrate on my marriage,” she says. “I had no option but to stop dancing.”
The Zambia national dance troupe was the real deal and often travelled out of the country for performances.
But did she feel uneasy when he travelled out?
“I trusted him so much,” she says. “I knew he had gone for work and it was for the benefit of the family. He would at times take two months and I never felt bothered.”
“I traversed the world and met different women, but I never thought of leaving my wife or even cheating,” he says. “Each time I travelled out of the country, my heart was always at home and I always thought of my wife.”
Kunda’s experience in marriage has taught him that communication is vital.
“Communication helps to solve problems in marriages,” he says. “One must always accept their wrong and apologise to their spouse. People must not be too proud to apologise or humble themselves when they do something wrong.”
Hyanshita is of the view that most of young couples are facing challenges because of pretence.
“I have observed that the love of money and material things has over-taken the value of true love in most marriages and this has brought a lot of problems,” she says. “Women must learn to love a person and not what he has.”
Kunda says lack of love and understanding, especially in new marriages, is contributing to marriages breaking up.
“Marriages must not break unnecessarily, people in a marriage must love each other and stick to the vows they made when getting married,” he says. “Only death must separate people in a marriage.”
Kunda is urging young people not to rush to get into marriage but always take time to know the person they are getting married to.
“Marriages in the old days used to work because people had respect for culture nowadays, young people have lost culture.” “We the elderly have tried by all means to impart knowledge in the young people but they still don’t adhere, I also think that the devil has taken centre stage in most marriages.”
She believes that her 49 years of marriage to Kunda was the plan and will of God.
“God has seen us through from the inception of our marriage, we had our own challenges but the love of God was always between us,” Hyanshita says. “Without love for each other and the love of God, it is difficult for people to stay together for a long time.”
Kunda describes his wife as a loving and caring person who has been there during his difficult times.
“My wife has been taking good care of me since we got married, I thank her parents for teaching her well,” he says. “I have been sick for eight years and she has always been there for me.”
The couple lives in Lusaka’s Kaunda Square and has eight children.