Uganda Martyrs Day 2021
Namugongo | Thu, 03 Jun 2021
For religious travelers, this is the biggest you can ever travel for in Uganda. The martyrs day celebrated on 3rd of June every year is a commemoration of the young men who were slaughtered by Kabaka Mwanga’s next man Mukajanga for having faith in God. For the king thought God would take over his kingdom and he ordered that every Christian should be killed. Millions of people from all parts of Uganda and East Africa walk to Namugongo shrine to mourn and pray for the over 20 saints that were killed for faith. The tale behind is the most interesting one that inspires thousands to also join the walk to the shrine. You only have to miss this if you must.
The executions, which took place in about 1886, were ordered by Mwanga II, the kabaka (ruler) of Buganda, for, according to the dominant narrative, the martyrs’ refusal to renounce their faith. Another has it that they were killed for refusing to do his bidding and a third is that the king was a homosexual and they refused to have sex with him.
Ten years earlier, under Mwanga’s predecessor Mutesa I, about 70 Muslims were burnt to death. Mutesa had accepted Islam but later regarded the religion as a threat to his power, according to changing-horizons.com. There is now a mosque on the site where the Muslims were killed.
Mwanga perceived the growing popularity of Christianity as a threat to his power, according to an online history of the Buganda people (www.buganda.com/martyrs), although the Christian faith “was received with much excitement …it denounced all the native religious behaviour and practices as heathen and satanic”.