We recently had someone ask what View Uganda is all about. To answer this, we thought we might start from the beginning. See, the beauty that is Uganda can be equated to a diamond in the rough.
Like is done with diamonds, View Uganda is bent on making sure you see Uganda for the diamond it is.
The wavy waters, the rambling falls, and the wild bushes. Nature’s commitment to taking you into a world of serenity and untold fulfillment. The mountains and hills allow for stories of hiking and conquering. Be it just steep spaces or naughty snow-filled peaks, destination Uganda is it. And yes, View Uganda will not hesitate to take you there.
Interesting to note, would be the fact that beyond just physical tourist destinations is the biggest faith-based tourism exodus in East Africa. Martyrs’ day might be a chance to remember and celebrate the 45 faithful who died for their spiritual beliefs, but it is a big tourism moment for the country. So not only does destination Uganda have a lot to see, it does offer spiritual spaces for those on a quest.
Yes, we at View Uganda believe that Uganda is that pearl that deserves a place on the spotlight. And yes, marketing destination Uganda is our forte.Read More
It started from Mulungu. On Tuesday, 25th May 1886, a very excited Kabaka Mwanga suddenly decided to go hippocampus hunting. Unfortunately, the hippo was not sighted and that set Mwanga on a rage spree.
Upon reaching the palace, there were no servants to welcome him as they had all gone to pray. He had noticed that his servants seemed to make prayer and not him their priority.
Bitter, Mwanga sentenced all his Christian servants to death. In particular, they were to be burnt at Namugongo which was the execution yard. However, outside of Namugongo, there would also be other incidences that have been made for historical sites today. The Kabaka and his allies had made it their life’s mission to break and crash religions that didn’t quite bow to theirs.
One day while returning from Kisubi, Fr. Lourdel Simeon Mapera was arrested by a Muslim, Amid Ssekikubo. There was an order to stop any strangers from proceeding to the palace-Lubaga. Mapera and one Evans were imprisoned in a hut where they suffered from acute malaria with little food. Fortunately, luck sided with them after they were granted bail by Mwanga who offered Lubya to the catholic missionaries to set up a mission station as a gesture of his apology for their detention. Today, a church stands at the spot of their arrest.
Kyamula, Salaama road
This is the spot where Ponsiano Ngondwe, a tax man, was not just beheaded but speared too and left to die. Ponsiano was part of the death march from Munyonyo to Namugongo. However, he was not among the martyrs sentenced to death by Mwanga. He was sneaked into the execution list by the chief executioner Mukajanga who had personal grudges against him for allegedly taxing him two cows as opposed to the lawful one. Down Kyamula is a swamp where the executioners washed the knives after chopping Ponisano’s corpse. A few meters from the sits a church in which these knives have been kept.
Denis Ssebugwawo’s site Munyonyo
Here, St. Denis Ssebugwawo a page boy of Mwanga was murdered for absenteeism on the fateful day the Kabaka returned from a fruitless hunt. Dennis belonged to the Musu clan, a clan whose major role is to clean royal toilets. It is said that on the 26th of May, he was tortured and speared by the Kabaka. A raging Mwanga
kept poking Ssebugwawo’s head to until the spear broke in his hand. He then seized Denis’ lifeless body and him out of his courtyard, into the audience hall, shouting wildly. Quickly his men stripped him naked and hacked him into pieces.Read More
At the mention of Martyrs’ day, the location Namugongo is the first thing that comes to mind. But did you know that Kampala has lots of other sites where more than 20 Christian martyrs lived and some later killed in 1980.
Assuming you didn’t, View Uganda through its tested contributor Solomon Oleny will take you through the various sites and the stories therein. Stories of not just martyrdom but faith and consistent belief.
Off Lubaga Road
This is the spot where St. Jean Marie Muzeeyi one of the last martyrs was killed in October 1884. Muzeeyi was killed for rejecting the role of being caretaker of the Kasubi tomb where Mutesa had been buried in the early months of 84.Jean was beheaded and his head was thrown in Jugula swamp, wrapped in plantain leaves. For the reason that he once served as one of Mutesa’s nurses, Jean is regarded as the patron of medical professionals like nurses, doctors, physicians among others.
It is here that Kabaka Mutesa met Stanley and the first missionaries Shergold-Smith, Rev. C.T Wilson, O’Neil, and Alexander Mackay. Mutesa ordered that the missionaries be settled at present-day Lungujja hill. Months later, Mackay was dislodged off the hill to the Western Side of Nateete hill for stalking Mutesa using a pair of binoculars. The hills would later be offered to the Catholic missionaries and shifted.
MacKay’s cave Nateete
It is believed that Mackay was transferred here to prevent him from using his binoculars to follow proceedings in the palace of a polygamous Kabaka that had 85 wives and 1,000 concubines. It is here that Mackay began his missionary work by establishing a worship center, putting up an education center, a printing press, and a medical unit.
Sserwanga and Lugalama, the two-page boys who attempted to escape across Lake Victoria into Tanzania with Mackay were killed in this spot. The boys were led out with a mob howling insults and throwing stones. They were led down Nateete hill towards the swamp where their hands were cut off with hideous knives so that they could not struggle in the fire. Their charred bodies were thrown in a swamp in Busega. Today, a church stands behind a giant cross planted at the spot where the bodies were thrown.Read More
Established in 1895, this concrete house, roofed with rusty corrugated iron sheets is found along the royal mile, less than a minute’s walk from the gate of Buganda’s parliament, Mengo.
It belonged to Zakaria Kizito Kisingiri, one of the three Regents to the then young King Daudi Chwa. Kisingiri later served as the treasurer for the Kingdom when Daudi Chwa had grown old enough to assume full authority as king. This strong attachment explains why Kabaka Mwanga’s body was rested at his home for days before it was buried. This followed his death in Seychelles Islands in 1904 where he had fled to exile following Britain’s invasion of his Kingdom.
According to Grace Kitaka, one of the grandchildren of Kisingiri, the house’s construction was foreseen by Miller and Stanley in 1895. They were prolific European masons at the time. It sits on a three-acre peace of land and has a compound that is as big as a standard football pitch. It has three floors and was built with palm trees, sun-dried mud bricks, and stones. The ancient mansion has 70 well-maintained rooms built with board floors. Most of these rooms measure 20 by 20 square feet each.
The heart of the structure is graced with two sitting rooms that are equivalent to space occupied by a complete house. The stones at their fireplaces glitter whenever the fire is on. The house has an indoor 20 feet swimming pool, modern bathtubs, and well-polished wooden staircases.
“Residents refer to Kisingiri as Ku Nfudu, a Luganda reference for a sanctuary of turtles. This is because it once doubled as a home to three tortoises that Stanley Kisingiri came back with from Seychelles in 1945. He was one of the sons of Zakariya Kisingiri.” Pastor Grace explains
Kisingiri is more a Kingdom hero, he is regarded as a national hero for having facilitated John Speke’s discovery of the source of the Nile. His daughter-in-law, Princess Beatrice Muggale(R.I.P), was a God-fearing mother who had a special place in the heart of Kabaka Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II (current King of Buganda). Whenever he was hungry for spiritual nourishment, he would visit her for a Bible session.
Twekobe – Lubiri Royal Palace-Kampala
This royal palace is such a majestic asset to the kingdom from which Uganda got its name, Buganda. It has an architectural design that was based on Stormont House in Northern Ireland, and was built by Kabaka Sir Edward Muteesa. He was the first post-independence President of the country. It used to be his official residence until 1966 when kingship was abolished by the central Government of the day, as Presided by Apollo Milton Obote.
In short, Lubiri brings a level of reality to Ugandan history, giving you the opportunity of discovering the rich history of Buganda, a kingdom that is over 300 years old. At Lubiri, you will also find a well-hidden political prison where President Idi Amin and Milton Obote used to torture and kill their political threats, totaling to over 30,000.
The five-roomed underground structure is enveloped by wild vegetation. It was built by the Israelites as an armament arsenal for Dictator Idi Amin, only to be later repurposed for dark use. Prior to their murder, most victims were electrocuted with low voltage in an effort to coerce information. It was impossible for them to escape as the only entrance was guarded full-time. It is such a painful episode in the history of Buganda. This explains why the incumbent Kabaka Ronald Mutebi doesn’t stay here, but rather another Palace found in the Eastern Kampala, Banda. He only uses Lubiri to receive visiting dignitaries.
One of the palace’s biggest treasures is a well-kept museum where Buganda’s culture and traditions are preserved. Here you will find lots of royal regalia and artefacts that have been passed on from one royal generation to the next.
Lubiri overlooks the royal mile, a mile-long street linking it to Mengo, Buganda’s Parliament. On either side of the street, you will find Kabaka anjagala trees and 52 beautiful statues of totems, each symbolic of a particular clan of Buganda
St. Luke and St. Katherine general wards-Mengo Hospital
At 121 years old, Mengo is the oldest hospital in East Africa, and one of its oldest assets is St. Luke and St. Katherine’s general wards. It was built in 1904 by Dr. Albert Cook, the first colonial doctor to treat Ugandans.
According to records from the hospital’s archives, at the time of its construction in 1897, it was made of reed, mud, and thatch. Then, it had 12 wooden beds and straw mattresses. In 1900, it was destroyed and rebuilt in 1904 using meter-thick walls and gauge 24 iron sheets imported from Britain. The building had two wards. One on the left had 30 beds for women, and one on right had 30 for men. They were named Katherine and Luke wards respectively, in commemoration of Dr. Albert Cook Luke and his wife Katherine, a midwife who helped Lady Druscilla Namaganda deliver Kabaka Muteesa II in 1924. Mutesa was the first President of Uganda.
In between these wards was the operating theatre, Dr. Cook’s office, and library on its upper floor. The building was at the time said to be the best and only modern building in Uganda’s protectorate. It was opened by Alfred Tucker, the then Bishop of Eastern Equatorial Africa.
The roof of the building has never been replaced, but the interior is slightly modified to cater to two words, orthopedics, and some offices. The ward has electricity and running water.Read More