Uganda Martyrs


There are 24 Catholic Uganda Martyrs. The 22 martyrs were killed between 1885 and 1887 by Kabaka (King) Mwanga of Buganda in the Southern Uganda; 13 of them were burnt to death at Namugongo. The 2 Martyrs were speared to death in Paimol, Gulu in the Northern Uganda in October 1918.

The names of the 24 Uganda Martyrs are Charles Lwanga, MattiasMulumba K, NoeMawaggali, Kizito, Joseph M Balikuddembe, Denis Ssebuggwawo, PontianNgondwe, Andrew Kaggwa, Athanasius, Bazzekuketta, Gonzaga Gonza, Luke Banabakintu, James Buzaalilyawo, Gyavira, Ambrose Kibuuka, AnatoliKiriggwajjo, Achilles Kiwanuka, MbagaTuzinde, Muggaga, MukasaKiriwawanvu, Adolphus Mukasa Ludigo, Bruno Sserunkuuma, Jean-Marie Muzeeyi, JildoIrwa and DaudiOkello.

Who is King Mwanga?

He was born at Nakawa in 1868. His father was Muteesa I of Buganda, who reigned between 1856 and 1884. His mother was AbakyalaAbisagiBagalayaze, the tenth wife of his father's eighty five wives. He ascended to the throne on October 18th, 1884, after the death of his father. He established his capital on Mengo Hill.

Reasons for the killing the Uganda Martyrs

Why King Mwangaordered the killing of the Martyrs?

They failure to denounce their faith.The martyrs where so faithful to Christianity to the extent of giving away their lives for the sake of Christianity.

It is also believed that the martyrs had become disobedient to King Mwanga. They refused to a bid by the King’s rules and regulations.

Their nicknames were threatening. Names like “BazzeKetta” –meaning they have come to spy, “Mawaggali” –meaning, the disobedience and so on.

The martyrs failed to stick on the traditional religions which annoyed King Mwanga.

They were bold to face death. In other word they failed to apologies to the King and they were ready to face death sentence.

The contribution of Uganda Martyrs

Every 3rd June, Uganda receives millions of pilgrims to Namugongo. In return Ugandans get market for their products like food, water, art and craft, Religious Attires among others.

Other places like Munyonyo and KiyindaMityana also receives seasonal pilgrims from different countries and Ugandans. On the visit, they praise and thank God for the gift of the Uganda Martyrs who died for their faith.

The Uganda Martyrs have boosted Uganda tourism industry.  Tourist come to visit Uganda martyrs shrine and also pay visit to other heritage sites like Kabaka’ Lake, The Kasubi Tombs, national parks like Queen Elizabeth National park, Bwindi impenetrable Forest National park, Mountain Elgon national park, Lake Mburo National park, Murchison Falls national park, Semliki National park, Mountain Rwenzori National park,Kibale Forest National park,Mgahinga national park and Kidepo valley National park.

The Uganda Martyrs strengthen believers’ faith that God is real and heaven is there – the Martyrs are expected to be in heaven according to catholic beliefs.

The Uganda Martyrs markets Uganda internationally – thus Uganda is famous for her Namugongo Uganda Martyrs shrine.

Namugongo Martyrs shrine is among the heritage sites in Uganda.

Prayers are conducted at the shrines every Sunday – it is a source of blessings. People join worship at the Martyrs shrine to take blessing.

It’s believed that Uganda Martyrs play for all believers in Uganda and outside the country.

Many people takes water from the Lake near the shrine – it is believed that water from the lakes cure diseases and source of blessing to whoever use it.

The visitors/ tourists to the Martyrs shrines entry fees for the visit. The government tax base is widening day by day.

It has led to the development of infrastructures like roads, accommodation, schools among others. Near the shrines, Uganda martyrs secondary school was named after the Martyrs.

Uganda is now receiving famous International visitors like Pope, presidents, ambassadors among others.