At about 10am, on Friday, a well-dressed young man stepped onto the aisle at St Andrew’s Church in Nairobi, his face beaming with pride.
By his side, in a wheelchair, was his equally happy wife.
This was no ordinary wedding. It was of two lovers, a husband of 36 and his bride of 75, who have defied the norm and tradition and become a symbol of the proverbial power of love.
Mr Peter Mbugua was in a striped black suit, light orange shirt and matching tie while his bride was in a cream suit, wide hat with a flower motif and a large black ribbon.
When they first had their civil wedding ceremony at the Registrar of Marriages at Sheria House in July 2003, Mrs Wambui Otieno Mbugua, a former freedom fighter and Mr Peter Mbugua, a former stone mason, became instant media sensations. That was eight years ago.
Friday’s ceremony was to solemnise in church the vows taken in 2003. It had been planned earlier, but Mrs Mbugua’s illness had often stood in the way, the Rev Geoffrey Gathairu told friends and family at the church.
She has been in and out of hospital and now uses a wheelchair. The Rev Gathairu said when Wambui was in hospital last year, she had asked for a minister from St Andrew’s to visit her and celebrate Holy Communion.
But the priest said she would need to have her marriage blessed in church first and take faith renewal refresher courses.
She took the courses in November and December last year, and the couple underwent marriage counselling where the Rev Gathairu said “Wambui was candid although Mbugua was sometimes shy”.
“Love comes from God, and he is the only one who can explain it. Love is the source of the ability to give yourselves away in love,” he said.
Outside the church, Wambui told journalists she had asked the choir to sing the hymn “When the storms of life are raging” because it had kept her going throughout her life.
“When I was in detention, where we were beaten up a lot and over the six months I used to go to the mortuary to check on my late husband, S.M. Otieno, that song gave me hope,” she said.
She fought and lost a six-month court battle for the right to bury Mr Otieno. “I love Mbugua because he has taken care of me for the last 10 years, even in my condition,” she added.
All Mbugua said was: “I am happy. I am very happy.” At the reception in the church hall, the couple cut a three-tier cake.