Uganda, Martyrs of, Ss.

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A group of 22 African youths put to death by the kabaka (ruler) of Buganda (Uganda), 18851887. The persecution occurred early in the reign of Mwanga, a vicious, perverse youth, after his Christian page boys refused to submit to his homosexual demands. Joseph Mukasa (or Mkasa), the majordomo of the royal household, died first, beheaded (Nov. 15, 1885) for encouraging the pages to remain chaste and protesting the massacre of the Anglican Bp. James Hannington (1885). He is the protomartyr of Bantu Africa. On May 25, 1886, Mwanga ordered slain the page Denis Sebuggwawo for

instructing his favorite boy in the Christian faith. During the next few days others were put to death individually; a soldier, Pontian Ngondwe; the Catholic leaders Andrew Kaggwa (band master, chief of Kigoaw, and catechist; baptized 1881), Matthias Mulumba (a.k.a. Matthias Kalemba, a district judge; baptized 1881), and Noe Mawaggali (a potter); and the pages Athanasius Bazzekuketta (baptized 1885) and Gonzaga Gonza. On June 3, 1886, at Namugongo, 13 were burned to death: Charles Lwanga, who had charge of the pages; Ambrose Kibuka (baptized 1885), Anatole Kiriggwajjo (from a herding tribe), Achilles Kiwanuka (formerly a clerk), Mbaga-Tuzinde (adopted son of the chief executioner), Mugagga (apprentice to royal clothmaker), Mukasa Kiriwawanvu (served at the royal table), Adolphus Mukasa Ludigo (from a tribe of herdsmen), Gyavira (messenger), Kizitoall pages in their teens; Bruno Serunkuma (soldier baptized in 1885), James Buzabaliawo (soldier baptized in 1885), and Luke Banabakintu (baptized 1881). On Jan. 27, 1887, Jean Marie Muzeyi, age 30, a former page, was beheaded. The Martyrs of Uganda were beatified on June 6, 1920, by Benedict XV and canonized on Oct. 18, 1964, by Paul VI. A similar number of Protestants were put to death in the same persecution.

Feast: June 3.

Bibliography: m. andrÉ, Les martyrs noirs de l'Ouganda (Paris 1936). j. f. faupel, African Holocaust: The Story of the Uganda Martyrs (Kampala 1984). d. kavulu, The Uganda Martyrs (Kampala 1969). a. kerkvliet, The Martyrs of Uganda (Bamenda, Uganda 1990). l. pirouet, Strong in the Faith: The Witness of the Uganda Martyrs (Mukono, Uganda 1969). br. tarcisio, The Blood of the Martyrs (Masaka, Uganda 1969). j. p. thoonen, Black Martyrs (London 1941). d. wooding and r. barnett, Uganda Holocaust (Grand Rapids, MI 1980). Acta Apostolicae Sedis 56 (1964) 901912.

[j. f. faupel]