Today marks 133 years since the brutal execution of 45 Ugandan men on the order of the then king of the Buganda Kingdom of Uganda, Kabaka Mwanga II after they refused to renounce their faith, and rebellion by rejecting the King’s sexual advances on his pages. In this largely Christian nation this is one of the most important days for Ugandan Christians.
This event is often termed as the African holocaust a term used by Faupel, Rev. J. F. in his 1962 publication African holocaust: the story of the Uganda martyrs.
While only 45 martyrs are officially recognized the list is believed to be larger because some were not documented. 23 of the Martyrs were of the Anglican faith while 22 were of the Roman Catholic faith. The names of the 45 men killed for their faith are listed below:
Kakumba Makko, Rugarama Yusuf, Sserwanga Nuwa, Balikuddembe Yosefu Mukasa, Mukasa Musa, Kaggwa Anderea, Ngondwe Ponsiano, Ssebuggwawo Denis, Bazzekuketta Antanansio, Gonza Gonzaga, Mbwa, Eriya, Muddu-aguma, Mulumba Matiya, Muwanga Daudi, Kayizzi Kibuuka, Mawaggali Nowa, Mayanja Kitoogo, Muwanga, Lwanga Karoli, Baanabakintu Lukka, Buuzabalyawo Yakobo, Gyaviira, Kibuuka Ambrosio, Kiriggwajjo Anatoli, Kiriwawanvu Mukasa, Kiwanuka Achileo, Kizito, Ludigo Mukasa Adolofu, Mugagga, Sserunkuuma Bruno, Tuzinde Mbaga, Kadoko Alexanda, Kifamunnyanja, Kiwanuka Giyaza, Kizza Frederick, Kwabafu, Lwakisiga Mukasa, Lwanga, Mubi-azaalwa, Munyagabyangu Robert, Muwanga Njigija,Nakabandwa Danieri, Walukagga Nuwa, Wasswa, Muzeeyi Jean-Marie
These men suffered the most atrocious experiences during their martyrdom, they were castrated, dismembered, burnt alive, beheaded speared and even ravaged by dogs in some instances
The 22 were declared “Blessed” by Pope Benedict XV in 1920 and canonized by Pope Paul VI on October 18, 1964; during the Vatican II conference. Thus these martyrs were now recognized by the universal church as being worthy of being honored as Saints.
This day is marked in Uganda by pilgrims from all over the world congregating at Basilica Church of the Uganda Martyrs, Namugongo which is built at the very spot where Charles Lwanga was killed. The Pilgrims embark on journeys which take days and weeks to ensure they attend the ceremony at Namugongo. As we celebrate this year’s Martyrs Day, we wish you peace, prosperity and happiness.