Namugongo Martyrs Shrine is a spot where twenty two catholic Christian converts also referred to as the Uganda Martyrs were executed following the orders of Kabaka Mwanga II (King of Buganda Kingdom by then) in 1886. The Church of Uganda together with the Roman Catholic Church Christians built a shrine in this place. Pilgrimages are made to Namugongo Shrine every 3rd of June to remember the catholic converts that lost their lives because of their faith in God. Its a great place to visit when you embark on your safaris to Uganda.
It should be noted that the entrance of the missionaries in the country (Buganda by then), set an era for new advancements and was a quick religious spin in the lives of the people of Buganda not forgetting the political system of Buganda and the region as well. The background of Buganda took a separate turn from this point of time because of the endeavors from missionaries to change all perspectives of people’s lives. This brought about a lot of discomfort in Buganda especially to the king. It wasn’t long before Kabaka Mutesa I passed on in 1884, a few years after the entourage of the missionaries into Buganda which gave chance for Kabaka Mwanga II’s coronation. Unfortunately, Kabaka Mwanga’s style of rule and command was far distinct from his late father’s style, he was totally against foreigners presence in Buganda.
Christianity was welcomed with great pleasure especially by the new converts only that it came with its own demands. It rejected all traditional religious behavior and practices implicating becoming part of it was more like a commitment to denounce the old traditions, build and depict new relationships and keep up with the new Christianity behaviors and standards. This started creating segments in Buganda and new converts were referred to as traitors.
In a bid to denounce the trend and maintain the Buganda tradition, Kabaka Mwanga ordered the converts to select between the new kind of faith they had adapted to or complete compliance to his orders. The converts who weren’t willing to do away with their new faith would be sentenced to death.
Surprisingly, the converts stuck to their faith. This was the main reason behind the execution of close to 25 Christians at Namugongo on June 3, 1886. The last convert who lost his life in this campaign was Muzeeyi Jean-Marie. He was executed from a place called Mengo in 1887.
Namugongo Shrine is situated in a place Namugongo, approximately 17 km from Kampala City.