By our reporter
The funfair in Namugongo on June 3, a world renowned day to celebrate Uganda Martyrs, went on uninterrupted. But on the other side of the city, was another small gathering celebrating the life of the man who ended the lives of a group of young men who are not venerated triumphantly in their different religions.
About 45 young men defied their king in Buganda Kingdom, a monarchy in a heart of Africa. The Kabaka had ordered them to end their loyalty to the new religions which in the Kabaka’s wisdom had sowed disorder in his kingdom.
The Kabaka who wanted to remind his subjects who called shots in Buganda, ordered the killing of the people who had chosen loyalty over the missionaries and not him. It was unheard of in Buganda that a subject in the kingdom would worship a foreign ‘God’ and not the gods of Buganda, and above all, defy the Kabaka who had asked them not to attend fellowships with the missionaries.
The new ‘God’ who had been preached by white men from Britain and France had caught the imagination of the young men.
The campaign to silence foreign religious beliefs did go on, and the people who died are today celebrated as Uganda Martyrs with shrines frequented by millions of people every year.
Kabaka Mwanga who historians say resisted the British colonialists and paid highly for it – he was killed and a narrative of villain was turned on him that in present day Buganda, no monument has been raised in his honour.
On June 3, this year, however, something special happened.
A small crowd comprising Rastafarians gathered in Konge, a suburb of Kampala in Makindye Division, to celebrate the life of Kabaka Mwanga.
In a compound before a red brick house, Rastafarians with dreadlocks on their heads, commemorated what they called the birthday of Daniel Mwanga Basamula Ekkere. According to word here, the late Kabaka himself revealed this day as his birthday through a medium, and declared that house his official shrine. So, every year, the Rastafarians who believe Mwanga was one of them, will be gathering in this compound every year to celebrate Mwanga’s heroism, and his act of defending his throne against ‘traitors’.
At the event, speeches were made hailing Mwanga as a hero. Rastafarians swore to uphold the principles of peace, and love for their culture.
The main speaker of the day, the Rastafarians had invited, was Sabakabona Jumba Aligaweesa of Tondism faith.
Jumba is the head of the traditional religion movement who ordained several Rastafarians are priests for this faith.
Jumba spoke highly of Mwanga and Rastafarianism. He said religion and rastafarians had made a covenant to promote each other’s beliefs.