Today marks another yearly celebration of the Uganda martyrs at Namugongo shrine! June 3rd is the date when Christians in Uganda remember fellow believers who met their creator at the hands of a brutal Buganda king-Kabaka Mwanga II. The event dates back to 1985-87 after the demise of Kabaka Mutesa I, an untimely event that saw Mwanga II ascend to the Buganda kingdom’s throne.
Then was the time that Christianity had started digging its roots deep within Uganda and the king felt like his powers were at a compromise when a page could not acquiesce his homosexual advances yet it was dogmatically perceived at the time that a king could live his life whichever way he wished and no subject was to differ from that! Hence a Luganda saying; Namunswa alya kunswaze!! On this date every year, Namugongo shrine is flocked by statesmen and more renowned celebrities from different angles to cerebrate the martyrs’ day event and the countrys’ president is always present whenever he can.
You may be wondering why Namugongo; that is the place where twenty six (26) Christians were executed on 3rd June, 1986 for failing to denounce Christianity and pledge total royalty to the king as the order had been issued by Kabaka Mwanga II in may. The execution marked the climax of the Uganda martyrs and the last Uganda martyr was beheaded at Mengo on Jan 27, 1887
Facts about the Uganda Martyrs.
A total of 45 martyrs were executed over the years and that is only the number that is known. The Uganda martyrs faced horrific executions including spearing, guillotine and burning-a very poignant memory indeed!
Namugongo martyrs’ shrine has become a traditional Ugandan heritage and is now a reckoning force in the country’s tourism sector as an ad on activity to Kampala city tour, Uganda cultural tours, and other Uganda safaris and a major inspiration to the believers.
Observation: People spend months on their journey from upcountry and the neighboring countries walking on foot up to this place with faith and a demonstration of their love for Christ!
**** More often than not, there are showers or a few rain drops at-least, on every martyr’s day celebrations in Uganda! And rain is taken for a blessing in Uganda and Africa in General!
Happy martyrs day to all Ugandan Christians and to everyone that sympathizes with the event and may you have all the day’s blessings!