If you love faith tourism and you are planning to spend your next vacation in Uganda then count visiting Namugongo Martyrs Shrine/Uganda Martyrs site a must in your travel plan. Third June of every year is remarkably a day that Uganda is joined by the rest of the world to mark and commemorate the Martyrs who were murdered on the orders of King/Kabaka Mwanga the second king of Buganda at a time due to their love for religion. Today, thousands of Christians and believers across the world take tours to Uganda to join the rest of Christians in the annual celebrations.
|Pilgrims during Martyrs day|
Incredibly, May is usually a month that several pilgrims from different religions-Anglicans, Catholics, Moslems take a walk up to Namugongo to join other believers who traveled from different areas in Africa and across to mark the third June Martyrs day which makes Namugongo an incredible centre of Great religious importance in Uganda and the world at large hence worth visiting if you are planning for your vacation in Uganda. Namugongo Martyrs Shrine is more like a national park in terms of Uganda tourist sites. It features as one of the most dramatic and incomparable faith based tourism center and also generates a lot more revenue just it is a case with the national park where most of Uganda’s wildlife tours and mountain gorilla tours are conducted. Efforts have been put to familiarize the site world wide and more than 30 million devoted Catholics are intended to be covered with a digital video disc reflecting the entire mystery of the Uganda Martyrs. They include Brazil, Italy, Argentina and many others and at end, this will boost the tourism sectors due to increase in Uganda safaris. Most believers from various religions have kept on gaining interest in walking up to the Martyrs centre and recently, more than 400 pilgrims and approximately 25 million Uganda shillings were realized from sale of T-shirts and corporate contributions.
Notably, the Anglican and Catholic Missionaries started arriving in Africa around the 19th century and the first Catholic missionaries to come were the white Martyrs. It from this that they felt Christianity was a turning point for most people in the Kingdom. As a result, Mutesa disliked Christians and after his death, Mwanga his son also felt that the missionaries were reducing his powers. Around 1885, Mwanga had 3 missionaries dismembered and their bodies burned and during this period, the Baganda featured as one of Uganda’s largest ethnic groups. This was the endowed cultural group with strong statesmanship, an artistic community and a rare architecture. But the darker side of it is that, when he (Mutesa) ascended to the throne, it is said he buried nearly 60 of his brothers alive for him to be a strong political survivor. He passed on around 1884 and that was the same period that Anglican Bishop and his caravan were killed when one of his advisors Joseph Makasa confronted him on killings, Mwanga had him beheaded and Makasa became the first black Martyr.
The Martyr’s day start with a Novena at different areas allover Uganda and usually ends from 25th to 2 June. Various pilgrims come to Novena’s from different areas like Tanzania, Kenya and Burundi and several also walk for kilometers. The archdiocese of Tororo is however expected to head this year’s (2018) celebrations. This will be concluded with a Pontifical High Mass arranged by various dioceses and this also comprises of the liturgical dances and speeches from various dignitaries.
The Uganda Martyrs day celebrations are conducted in remembrance of the 22 Catholic and 23 Anglican Martyrs who lost their lives on the commands of Mwanga the Second the King of Buganda around 1885 and 1887. This occurred when there was a 3 way religious struggle for political influence at Buganda royal court.
In conclusion, the Uganda Martyrs is one of amazing annual events that attract thousands of believers and visitors not only in Uganda but also from in and out of Africa. However, collective effort is needed to make Namugongo a true religious site and in the long run, it will become one of the best religious sites for faith based tourism. It is from this that you can discover the faith Ugandan have for religion and you too can realize a great impact once you pay a visit to this amazing site.