If I found a man to marry in Zambia, my wedding reception would have to float on one of its magnificent rivers.
That was the dream of American scholar Lori Lowman, and it came true last Saturday when she walked down the watery aisle of the Kafue River Cliff (KRC), hand in hand with a man of her dream Danny Imasiku.
The US$10 million Four Star hotel at the gorgeous waterfront is still under construction but the amazing scenery at the frontier got a rare facelift last Saturday with a colourful Lozi traditional wedding reception sailing over the chilly Kafue waters.
Yes, even the hippos had something to entertain them as speed boats splashed around while hungry crocodiles salivated in agony over a hundred people who boarded Lady Betty cruise boat at the Madison Investment managed marina for the wedding.
Danny and Lori braved both the sea breeze and science to stay afloat for hours on the Kafue River and enjoy a memorable party that was witnessed by LSA group of companies chairman Lawrence Sikutwa and former Energy and water development deputy minister Hastings Imasiku.
However, none of the two was officiating at the event; Sikutwa was present to watch the inaugural wedding ceremony hosted on the K1.2 billion worth water investment while Imasiku was marrying off his fifth born son.
Dancing to Cheleta, a heavily adored Namibian track that has been toping music charts locally, the bridal party mesmerized onlookers and Lori's American family with the traditional shoulder twirling groove.
The dancers, four men and four girls were clad in well crafted Siziba and Musisi outfits leaving the concept of the wedding planner to no assumption.
After a showdown of dance routines, the newlyweds emerged from the somewhere in the curved mountains, also clad in traditional gear and literary walked down the watery aisle in a simple salsa routine to boarded the cruise boat as the elders ululated in awe.
Before the sun withdrew its final dusk rays on that clear-sky Saturday noon, Lady Betty voyaged.
Ulululululu! Wiyu wiyu wiyu! Utamile musebezi mwanaka (you have done us proud sonny) the women shouted in jubilations as the barman and waiters introduced the drinks and buffet menus.
After about two hours of nothing but, dancing, drinking and eating, Lady Betty docked with over hundred tired houseguests full of memories.
In an interview, Danny said his wife fell in love the first time she visited Kafue River Cliff.
"This was the place we first met two years ago and she proposed that we should have our wedding here. I also told her the history behind the cruise boat which is named after former fisrt lady mama Betty Kaunda and she loved that too," he said.
Danny said it was also a memorable achievement to have a traditional wedding reception on the Kafue River.
"Despite being very far, we thought we needed to do something unique and we made it. We had fun. This was a typical traditional wedding and the reception on the cruise boat was so amazing," Danny said.
The University of Zambia Psychology graduate said the new couple would relocate to the United States of America where Lori hails from until she finishes her PHD studies in Education.
Kafue River Cliff manager Situmba Simasiku said it was a lot of work ensuring an incident free cruise for over hundred people.
"It is a tough job, we took a lot of time preparing for this event because we needed to make sure that every precaution measures are taken into consideration. This is on water and we need to guarantee the safety of everybody," he said.
Simasiku said although hosting a wedding on Lady Betty may cost K20 million, the benefits are numerous because KRC provides all the catering services.
He said the landscaped venue is undergoing major transformation with the construction of the first four star hotel expected in Kafue district.
LSA group of Companies through Madison Investment Company Limited is building a four-star commercial resort at the Cliff at a total cost about K34 billion.
The hotel will comprise 28 chalets, four of which will be floating on the Kafue River.
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