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Uganda Martyrs - Illustrious Mysticism and History

The Uganda Martyrs are celebrated not just by Ugandans but the world over. Burned to death and cruelly killed in different ways for their refusal to denounce Christianity, these 45 young men went down in the history books of this nation.

Under the orders of King Mwanga II of Buganda Kingdom, the Uganda Martyrs were brutally killed between 1885 and 1887.

Ugandan History has it that by the late 1870s, the image of religion in Uganda was taking shape away from the traditional cultural beliefs and worship to the introduction of Christianity and Islam that had come in earlier on.

In 1877, the Church Missionary Society in London sent Protestant missionaries who were followed by the French Catholic White Fathers in 1879. These quickly took on their work of spreading Christianity.

... And by the 1880, Buganda Kingdom which was considerably the most influential organised society at the time saw, a great number of its subjects converted to Christianity. There was evidently competition for converts and influence between the Catholics and Protestants within the kingdom.

Religion without doubt was starting to influence even the politics of Buganda.

King Mwanga II then attempted to kill this religious influence which he felt was a foreign intrusion that was threatening not just his kingdom but his own existence too. In doing so, the Uganda martyrs met their fate. Majority of them were killed in Namugongo.

Mwanga was later deposed by armed converts in 1888

22 of the martyrs were Roman Catholics. These were beatified by Pope Benedict XV in 1920 and canonized by Pope Paul VI on the 18th October 1964 ... and although their Protestant counterparts were never canonized, all together, the lives of the 45 are celebrated as Uganda martyrs.

image placeholder Shrine in Namugongo

The Catholics have built a shrine to commemorate the lives of the martyrs in Namugongo; exactly where they were burned - which is one place to visit while in Uganda! ... and you can combine this with a visit to the Protestant site too which is just a stone's throw away.

3rd June of every year is gazetted among the Public holidays in Uganda to remember their lives. Christians from all walks of life gather in Namugongo for the annual pilgrimage to celebrate spirituality and history.

These Uganda Martyrs are recognised saints worldwide.

See list below;


1. Achileo Kiwanuka - Burned
2. Adolphus Ludigo-Mukasa - Burned
3. Ambrosius Kibuuka - Burned
4. Anatoli Kiriggwajjo - Burned
5. Andrew Kaggwa - Beheaded
6. Antanansio Bazzekuketta - Beheaded
7. Bruno Sserunkuuma - Burned
8. Charles Lwanga - Burned
9. Denis Ssebuggwawo Wasswa - Beheaded
10. Gonzaga Gonza - Beheaded
11. Gyavira Musoke - Burned
12. James Buuzaabalyaawo - Burned
13. John Maria Muzeeyi - Beheaded
14. Joseph Mukasa Balikuddembe - Beheaded and Burned
15. Kizito - Burned
16. Lukka Baanabakintu - Burned
17. Matiya Mulumba - Dismembered
18. Mbaga Tuzinde - Burned
19. Mugagga Lubowa - Burned
20. Mukasa Kiriwawanvu - Burned
21. Nowa Mawaggali - Speared, Ravaged by wild dogs
22. Ponsiano Ngondwe - Beheaded and Dismembered


23. Kakumba Makko - Dismembered and Burned
24. Rugarama Yusuf - Dismembered and Burned
25. Sserwanga Nuwa - Dismembered and Burned
26. Mukasa Musa - Speared to death
27. Mbwa Eriya - Castrated
28. Muddu-aguma - Castrated
29. Muwanga Daudi - Castrated
30. Kayizzi Kibuuka - Castrated
31. Mayanja Kitoogo - castrated
32. Muwanga - Castrated
33. Kadoko Alexanda - Burned
34. Kifamunnyanja - Burned
35. Kiwanuka Giyaza - Burned
36. Kizza Frederick - Burned
37. Kwabafu - Burned
38. Lwakisiga Mukasa - Burned
39. Lwanga - Burned
40. Mubi-azaalwa - Burned
41. Munyagabyangu Robert - Burned
42. Muwanga Njigija - Burned
43. Nakabandwa Danieri - Burned
44. Walukagga, Nuwa - Burned
45. Wasswa - Burned

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