By Surihe Gaomas
“The knight of the white horse has finally found his alluvial diamond queen.”
This opening line sealed the matrimonial ties between the Minister of Health and Social Services, Dr Richard Nchabi Kamwi, and Managing Director of Namdeb, Ingenesia (Inge) Kameeja Zaamwani, at a glamorous ceremony in Windhoek on Saturday.
At exactly quarter-to-six that evening the Safari Court Hall, with over 200 guests and dignitaries, rose in anticipation of the grand entrance of the bride.
“Here comes Namibia’s very own polished gemstone, as her white horse awaits,” was the follow-up announcement by the Master of Ceremonies, Isaac Kaulinge.
Escorted by six bridesmaids, Inge smiled as she gracefully walked into the hall accompanied by her father, Apia Kuruuo.
Applause and ululation erupted. The groom, Richard Kamwi, in his beige-coloured suit and gold tie, looked affectionately at his approaching bride, Inge, as she was officially handed over to him by his father-in-law.
Glancing into her eyes, Kamwi could not hide his love and joy. He gently clasped her hand in his, stepped inside the heart-shaped petals on the floor and turned to face the audience.
The naturally-decorated hall with brown, gold and cream colours, silhouetted well with the flowing, cream, satin wedding gown with pearls. Without the usual bridal shawl, Inge’s hair was neatly pinned up with pearls, and tassels hanging from the sides.
” Love yourself, love your spouse more than yourself, and love God above all else,” was the Bible verse read by the master of ceremonies from 1 Corinthians Chapter 13:1-8.
The wedding ceremony that carried on until the late hours of the night, was one of praise and congratulatory messages for the newly-wedded couple.
One of the main speakers was the Founding Father of the Nation, Dr Sam Nujoma, who said both Kamwi and Inge had presented a shining example of a rather historical day.
“I wish to see every day as a wedding day in Namibia. The reason for that is that we need to grow the population. So, you just did the right thing,” said Nujoma who, at the same time, wished them a happy and long marriage together.
Nujoma gave gifts to the groom, a traditional bow and arrow to defend his family as a man. “This is to defend your house so that your family can live in peace,” said the Founding Father in handing over the gifts.
As for Inge, she was bestowed with a number of traditional baskets and clay pots from the Uukambi Traditional Authority.
After making their wedding vows in front of Magistrate Harris Salionga, the newly weds sat down for a photo shoot with close family and friends. Guests were entertained by traditional African music and a live band performance.
What made the wedding so memorable for many was that it ties three different regions together, thereby expanding the already large African families from which the couples derive.
“Through this marriage of my niece, Inge, and her husband, Kamwi, we are binding our families from the Omaheke, Caprivi and Omusati Regions. So let love be your guide,” said Uuatatjo Zaamwani, great uncle to the bride.
But the question on everyone’s lips was how did the newly weds’ courtship start?
Well, to answer this question, New Era spoke to the newly weds a day after they officially tied the knot.
The 57-year-old Kamwi laughs warmly, thinking back to how he met his wife.
“Kameeja and I met four years ago in Durban, South Africa, during the World Economic Forum. I happened to lead the Namibian delegation. I was very impressed with her as I found out that, like me, she has a good sense of humour, is very intelligent, down to earth, religious and a well-composed woman,” said Kamwi, who is already a father of eight children.
It is these similarities of character that drew them together. Soon after, Kamwi pursued her for more than three years, before Inge finally gave the nod.
“Mainly, we would go out for dinners and lunches. Once in a while I would ask, when are you going to give me an answer. She would say, when you wait good things will follow,” added Kamwi.
The mother of two children, 48-year-old Inge wanted first to finalize her divorce from the previous marriage. She accomplished that in 2005.
Thereafter, she asked Kamwi: “whether the offer still stands?”
Both Mr and Mrs Kamwi love nature and go for walks together. Cleanliness is another aspect they share, while healthy eating is a strict part of their lifestyle. “We are very meticulous about unhygienic environments. We both love to eat muesli with yogurt or even hot mahangu pap with sour milk and wash it down with our favourite grape juice, Monis,” said Inge with a smile.
The proposition to get married out of community of property came from the Health Minister himself, who insisted that he would love to marry her for who she is and not for what she has.
“I told her: please, we must get married out of community of property. I don’t want to be misunderstood. I’m not a property man and Kameeja is a principled woman. I saw a combination of her in myself,” said Kamwi.
Inge added that whatever they accumulate together as married couple, they intend to share with each other.
Kamwi was born on June 3, 1950 at Ioma in the Caprivi Region, and his wife was born on November 11, 1958 in Grootfontein in the Otjozondjupa Region and later migrated to Omaheke.
As for this cross-cultural union, sentiments from those who know the couple feel that different cultures should not be a barrier for people to know each other better.
Quite surprisingly, they have decided to go on something they call a “working honey-moon”. For now, they are both back at work, until such time as they decide to take off two weeks of quality time in December this year.