wedding was held at a place where trees and shrubs had the honour of outnumbering the guests.
It was in a green temple, where a long stretch of even taller trees dramatized the verse in Psalms, ‘as the mountains surround Jerusalem so the Lord surrounds his people’.
The Aburi Botanical Garden.
Two things were predictable about Manasseh’s wedding – he was not going to wear a suit and he was personally going to supervise ‘Serwaa’s make-up session.
The man through his ‘Letter’s to My Future Wife’ on myjoyonline.com, had confronted wedding and marriage stereotypes well enough for his readers to at least expect that he keeps his promise to wash his future wife’s underwear.
Manasseh dressed like his character – unflatteringly plain. He wore a joromi with simple golden embroidery. Suffice to say you wouldn’t find it in any 2016 wedding fashion guide for men.
‘Serwaa’, a woman who had bought into Manasseh’s philosophy of an unassuming lifestyle, also refrained from the kind of make-up unconsciously intended to demonstrate to God that ‘menh you could have done a far better in designing my face’.
She wore her natural hair plaited in a head gear shape, breaking one of a set of 10 wedding commandments usually enforced in a woman’s world through a tremendously powerful herd instinct.
But this was Manasseh and ‘Serwaa’s wedding. It was going to be on their own terms. This couple was content, happy and care-free judging from Manasseh’s enthusiastic swinging of his ring finger after they were declared husband and wife.
Officiating minister and founder of the International Central Gospel Church, Pastor Mensa Otabil, wore a pretty suppressed smile for much of the service. He doesn’t let his hair down.
He had a practiced composure turned flawless second nature as he stood away from the couple, arms lost inside his signature long robes, not wanting to impose himself on the program.
Let’s face it. Otabil at a wedding is a big deal. But if you looked at his demeanour, it wasn’t. How the investigative journalist got his mentor far away from the Christ Temple sanctuary into an 1890 garden is feed for the rumour mill.
But all throughout the service, Otabil’s words were soft enough to carry a certain weight of solemnity necessary for the occasion.
He whispered the vows to the couple like they were passwords to nuclear bombs. But then again ‘for better for worse’ is a nuclear statement. It is a civilized suicide pact.
And then the Gramophone Choir – a star performance – robed in thick white gowns, let off a song ‘ Lord be Praised, Lord be praised, let the name of the Lord be praised’.
Manasseh helped Rebecca walk off to sign the papers as if he had just discovered the woman had a persisting walking impairment.
He sort of held his breath at many of Rebecca’s step as if a wrong move could be a life-threatening injury. But the chairman for the occasion, married for 26 years, would have been thinking; this is how all love begins.
Some mourners clad in red and black could be seen leaning against the trees, briefly forgot their sorrows and soaked in the amazing spectacle of the wedding.
Slighting appearing jittery, NPP Vice-Presidential candidate Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia also stood by the trees behind the gathered guests.
His standard dimpled smile froze on his face like a requirement for the occasion. He offered his hands to anyone who walked to him but still held back behind the trees.
He may have judged that mixing with the crowd may not be a good idea. His purpose appeared to be, to show support not gatecrash the whole thing and steal headlines.
He shook hands with Citi FM’s Bernard Avle and he met Otabil as they exchanged acknowledging handshakes. Otabil sped off. His job was done.
And then he intoned the words ‘Father in the name of Jesus, I bless Manasseh and Rebecca as husband and wife’.
A nice but unusual partnership of GTV’s Abdul Hayi Moomen and Adom FM’s Afia Pokuaa worked very well as MCs. They helped replace the solemnity with a social atmosphere.
Moomen threw light-hearted ethnic jokes at Bongo guests, explaining that the red drink for the toast is called wine and not ‘pito’ whish is to be sipped and not gulped.
Afia Pokuaa egged Manasseh on to literally go undercover that night. ‘Bie gya’, she shouted as minds went on a dangerous wonder of what-might-be happening on Saturday evening.
The guest indulged the speakers, laughed, clapped and chatted while some kept a healthy eye on the buffet just behind.
Radio icon and Peace FM morning show host, Kwami Sefa Kayi was at his supportive best and wished the investigative journalist the blessing of ‘more daring’, ‘more intelligent’ ‘more patriotic’ children than Manasseh can ever be.
Manasseh, very relaxed, explained that he met Rebecca ‘Serwaa’ in a town in the Western region. She had noticed him pass and thought he looked familiar. They discovered they were already friends on Facebook.
That was in 2014. Now, they have discovered that they are husband and wife. Something that started on Facebook has ended in the bedroom.
Manasseh Azure Awuni is a driven young man specializing in an anti-corruption campaign. He wants to change the world. With his new wife, it remains to be seen if he can now even change the TV channel.