Namugongo Shrine is located at Namugongo, Kira Municipality Wakiso District, in the Central Uganda. Namugongo Shrine is located approximately 14 kilometers (9 mi), by road, northeast of the central business district of Kampala, Uganda’s Capital and largest city in that East African country. Namugongo is a blessed site; well known as the Uganda Martyrs Shrine, which is for everyone’s interest in Uganda’s faith tourism while on the Uganda safari. Namugongo Shrine stands tall with the amazing ancient cathedral whose structural architectural design derives its inspiration from the African Hut. The Uganda martyrs were killed quite a long time ago, about decades ago, in Uganda the Namugongo  Shrine it is believed that the Namugongo destination that it’s a place where King Mwanga of Buganda killed the martyrs by burning them, that is 45 Christian martyrs were brutally murdered between 1885 and 1887.

The 45 Uganda Martyrs were executed between the years 1885 and 1887, 23 Anglicans and 22 catholic converts. The murder of these martyrs occurred partly in different places. Twenty-two Catholics converts were murdered at Namugongo. The event has since inspired many Ugandans to form a strong sense of faith which is partly attributed to the heroic acts recorded in the chronicles of the Uganda martyrdom of the 45 Uganda natives.

Namugongo Shrine
Namugongo Shrine

The Uganda martyrs shrine at Namugongo was constructed in 1957 and it was finally finished to be constructed in 1967, thanks to the Lt.Cardinal Emmanuel Nsubuga, who was the author of the construction project, the opening ceremony was attended by the pope himself represented by the eminence Sergio cardinal pignedoli on third June, and this is the reason to why the celebration of the Uganda Martyrs at the Namugongo Shrine is celebrated on every 3rd June annually in Uganda.

List of the Uganda Martyrs.

 Yusuf Rugarama.

Kakumba Makko.

Serwanga Nuwa.

Balikunddembe Mukasa.

Mukasa Musa.

Kaggwa Anderea.

Ngondwe Posiano.

Ssbuggwawo Denis.

Bazzekuketta Antanansio.

Gonza Gonzaga.

Mbwa Eriya.


Mulumba Matiya.

Muwanga Daudi.

Kayizza Kibuuka.

Mawaggali Nowa.

Mayajja Kitoogo.


Lwanga Karoli.

Baanabakintu Lukka.

Buuzabalyawo Yakobo.


Kibbuka Ambrosio.

Kiriggwajjo Anatoli.

Kiriwawanvu Mukasa.

Kiwanuka Achileo.


Lugido Mukasa Adolofu.


Sserunkuuma Bruno.

Tuzinde Mbaga.

Kadoko Alexanda.


Munyanyabyangu Robert.


Kiwanuka Giyaza.

Kizza Frederick.


Muwanga Njigija.

Lwakisinga Mukasa.


Nakabandwa Danieri.


Walukagga Nuwa.

Muzeeyi Jean-Marie

The forgotten Muslim martyrs.

Long before the 45 Uganda martyrs were killed, an estimate of about 70 Muslims had been killed under the orders of the Kabaka Mutesa I. Their murder came after several tales of the strict observance of the Muslim laws prohibiting eating meat. Kabaka Mutesa I was a Muslim. He became an Imam because of his love for the Muslim religion. He, however, feared circumcision, and this made his subordinates criticize him. The Muslim martyrs refused to eat meat slaughtered by the uncircumcised Muslims and non-Muslims .These martyrs were accused of treason and were lynched at Namugongo. Muslims martyrs were recognized during Iddi Amin reign after realizing martyr talks were based on Christians .A mosque was constructed near the Namugongo for the Muslim martyrs.

Namugongo Shrine
Namugongo Shrine

Who was the first Uganda Martyr to be killed?

Yusuf Rugarama, Nuwa Serwanga and Makko Kakumba were the first Uganda martyrs. The execution of the three was done on 31 January 1885, just a year after Kabaka Mwanga the second had successed his father, Later on that year, Bishop Hannington, on the returning to Uganda, was also murdered. Joseph Mukasa was the first Catholic Uganda Martyr. His execution happened in January under the suggestions of Katikiro Mukasa. Katikiro Mukasa received a hint that Joseph Mukasa would become a king. Katikiro, therefore, developed jealousy, grudge and hatred towards Joseph Mukasa.

Why were the Uganda Martyrs killed?

The major reason to why the murder of each martyr varies, thus they have created a consideration debate. Some martyrs went missing when summoned by Kabaka. It has also been recorded that Kabaka executed Uganda Martyrs for lack of submission to his sexual advances. Something that depicted that Kabaka was a gay, subjects who had denounced Christianity as their faith were spared from death.

Also Mwanga summoned the martyrs and asked for those who love to pray to stand on one side. Most of them being the youths, stood aside and declared themselves as worshippers of the Christian religion. Their age bracket approximately ranged from 10 to 30, and they were later executed.

The youngest Uganda Martyr.

Kizito was the youngest Uganda martyr, he was burned alive on the order of King Mwanga 11 of Buganda on 3rd June, 1886 in Namugongo.

How the Uganda martyrs were killed.

The Uganda martyrs were beheaded, tortured, and burnt alive until their death, the burning of the Uganda martyrs began at Gombolola, Mengo, the place of the sacred fire, and ended at Nakiyanja, the site of execution. The holy fire never went off unless a King died and was reignited on the entry of another King. Ssenkole who was the deputy executioner managed the holy fire. He took ash of the killed to use it to protect the king from the dead spirits.

Ssenkole would bring fire on the day of the execution using the reeds, though not up to the place of performance. The blood of the executed was not to be spilled at Nakiyanja. Family members were not allowed to bid farewell to their loved ones in Nakyinja. Farewells were done at the present-day place, Kyaliwajjala.The first was ignited to each condemned while cursing them that disobedience to Kabaka and al Buganda spirits killed them.

Namugongo shrine is not only good for the Christian life of the Uganda’s only, but also other parts of the world that is a lot of people pilgrim from the different countries to come and honor the Uganda Martyrs. Despite the vital of the martyrs to the Christians, the shrine has led to the development of the 3rd June is the best time for business around the shrine in Namugongo, a lot of lodges have been constructed around the shrine to provide accommodation for the pilgrims.

Human beings should embrace respecting each other’s religion. Respecting each other’s religion ensures peace and harmony amongst ourselves. Freedom of worship, this helps attain humane goals that help better that future. The Namugongo shrine has also given the greater contribution to the tourism industry in Uganda, thus many of the tourists visit the country, find time to take a Kampala city Tour and also check out the Namugongo shrine.

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