Tracing descendants of Uganda martyrs

Some of the pilgrims at Namugongo Shrines

What you need to know:

Martyrs children. In a two-month search for descendants of some of the Uganda martyrs, our reporter travels to Tanzania, where he finds Matia Mulumba’s family that settled there and who to this day serve the church.

In probably the first story of its kind, the Daily Monitor today brings you stories of Uganda Martyrs descendants, in a tale that takes you from Namugongo to Luweero and on to Ukerewe, an island on Lake Victoria, in Tanzania.

The descendants of Matia Mulumba, the Catholic martyr who has gone on to be beatified and declared a saint, are currently living on the Ukerewe Island, found just a three-and-a-half hours’ sail from the Tanzanian port town of Mwanza. Many, of course have since moved on, some living and working in Mwanza, other parts of Tanzania, and, some rumoured to have come back to Uganda.

We bring you stories of the journey that St Mulumba’s child took down through Lake Victoria to Tanzania, seeking refuge from war in Uganda in the 1890s, settling and going on to impact the church there.

We also bring you the tale of descendants of Frederick Kizza, the Anglican martyr whose descendants, to this day, are working in the church as priests and in many other church positions.

127 years later, the Uganda Martyrs legacy lives in their families

The Uganda Martyrs, whose fearless walk down the dark valley of death at the hands of Kabaka Mwanga II we remember this time every year, could not have wished for better.

It would impress them to learn that even when their deaths reenergised the growth of Christianity in our land, their very own children, grandchildren and even great grandchildren, would come to play active roles in spreading the very gospel they died for, to places far beyond Uganda’s borders, more than a century later.

The Daily Monitor has searched through records, historical notes and talking to knowledgeable parties, in search of modern-day descendants of some of the men killed for refusing to denounce Christianity between 1885 and 1887.

And the findings are as staggering as the sheer force of bravery that the martyrs bore at Namugongo. Details from the search show that for the martyrs who had children, these descendants went on to work actively in building the church.

Some, like Julia Namukadde daughter to Matia Mulumba, married a catechist and together, they worked in Ukerewe Island near the southern shore of Lake Victoria in Tanzania, as missionaries of their own accord.

Their work led to the setting up of the first church on the island, which still stands today. Some of Matia Mulumba’s modern day descendants are working as nuns in convents in Mwanza, Tanzania.

In the family of the Anglican martyr, Frederick Kizza, some of his descendants have worked as lay readers in the Anglican Church, while others are priests, going as far as building chapels in their houses, and naming these after the martyrs. This is the case for Rev Albert Senkeeto, a great grandson to the martyr.

This story is not without a sad side. There is that feeling of abandonment, by the various churches’ leaderships in particular. Some of the descendants feel their forefathers have not been treated with the veneration they feel they deserve in living a life that acted as a spark for the continuation of the growth of Christianity in Uganda. STORY CONTINUES HERE


Matia Mulumba had a daughter Julia Namukadde who with her husband Sirillio Ruhutta gave birth to four children, John Museso Malima, Bazila Kapilo Muzira, Melania Nansige and Martina Kahabi.

John Museso had two children, Venasio John Ruhutta and Devita Bazalaki Stephano.
Devita had a daughter, Restituta Gregory. It is the last three that the Daily Monitor was able to find.