Uganda Martyrs' Shrine, Namugongo
MBAGA TUZINDE
Uganda Martyrs' Shrine, Namugongo, Mbaaga Tuzinde

Mbaaga at the King's palace and how he became a Christian
Mbaaga’s relationship with Mukaajanga
Mbaaga’s testing moments
Mbaaga’s decision to die than to deny his religion
Mbaaga's journey to Namugongo (Death)

Mbaaga at the King's palace and how he became a Christian
Mbaaga Tuzinde was born at Bunyonga in Busiro County. His real parents were Katamiza Waggumbulizi of the Lungfish (Mamba) Clan, who had ten wives, and Mmumanvi Bukuwa of the Yamfruit (Kkobe) Clan. His clan name was Tuzinde; the name Mbaaga being, in fact, a nickname which he acquired from his work at the Court. One of his duties there was to distribute the food which the Kabaka provided for his many dependants. When the meal con¬tained no meat, a great luxury, his companions used teasingly to ask, 'What! No meat to-day?' to which his invariable reply was, 'Mbaaga?' (Am I the butcher?). Another of Tuzinde's duties was to carry the royal standard in the Kabaka's canoe when His Majesty went sailing or traveling on the Lake.
Mbaaga Tuzinde was of medium height and well-built, chestnut brown in colour, very kind-hearted, obedient and truthful, and also good at sports. His features were somewhat marred by smallpox contracted during the 1884 epidemic. He began his instructions in the Catholic faith when he became a page at the accession of Mwanga and was still a catechumen when the persecution broke out in May 1886. He was baptized by Charles Lwanga on the morning that the pages were arrested.
Of all the martyrs, Mbaaga Tuzinde had most to contend with in the way of temptations to save his life by renouncing his religion. During the week which the martyrs spent at Namugongo awaiting execution, he was separated from his companions and, deprived of their moral support, but not of their prayers for his perseverance, had to face alone the prayers, tears and entreaties of his many relatives, begging and imploring him not to throwaway his young life. From this ordeal, which might well have broken the resolution of a mature man, this youth of no more than eighteen emerged with courage and purpose unshaken. With complete confidence in the words of Christ, 'He that shall lose his life for my sake shall save it', he went to his death cheerfully and manfully

Mbaaga’s relationship with Mukaajanga
Mbaaga Tuzinde, a youth of about seventeen to eighteen at the time of his martyrdom, was known as the son of Mukajanga, the chief executioner, in whose household he was brought up and who pres¬ented him at Court. According to European ideas, Tuzinde and Mukaajanga were not related in any way, but in Baganda eyes, strange as it may seem, Tuzinde was at the same time both son and father to the old man.
Although they belonged to different clans, Tuzinde to the Lungfish and Mukaajanga to the Colubus-monkey Clan, their grandfathers, Kikonyogo and Salasamba respectively, had been very close friends and had made a blood-pact together. This, according to Kiganda custom, made them brothers, and also established relationship between the other members of their respective families. Thus Mukaajanga and Tuzinde were blood relations (in the Kiganda and not in the European sense) and Mukaajanga, because he was much older and had been entrusted with the task of bringing up the lad, was known as the father of Tuzinde. An additional relationship arose when Kikonyogo, Tuzinde's grandfather, died. Tuzinde succeeded him as head of the family and, because Mukaajanga was a member of it through the blood-pact already mentioned, he became in this way the father of the old man as well as his son. This latter develop¬ment created, in its turn, an additional complication in that Mukaa¬janga's wives, having become the young man's daughters-in-law, were, by Kiganda custom, debarred from ever staying under the same roof with him.
Mbaga Tuzinde was born at Bunyonga in Busiro County. His real parents were Katamiza Waggumbulizi of the Lungfish (Mamba) Clan, who had ten wives, and Mmumanvi Bukuwa of the Yamfruit (Kkobe) Clan.1 His clan name was Tuzinde; the name Mbaga being, in fact, a nickname which he acquired from his work at the Court. One of his duties there was to distribute the food which the Kabaka provided for his many dependants. When the meal con¬tained no meat, a great luxury, his companions used teasingly to ask, 'What! No meat to-day?' to which his invariable reply was, 'Mbaga' (Am I the butcher?). Another of Tuzinde's duties was to carry the royal standard in the Kabaka's canoe when His Majesty went sailing or traveling on the Lake.

Mbaaga’s testing moments
The executioners threw themselves on the young men and began to tie their wrists and necks with cords. In the confusion, their chief, the old man Mukaajanga, pretended to busy himself with his own 'son and father', Mbaaga Tuzinde, pleading desperately with the boy to renounce his religion. 'Give up this foolishness which will send you to the stake! Only say that you have abandoned religion, and I will hide you.'
The seventeen year old boy, baptized that morning by Charles Lwanga, firmly rejected the offer. 'Hide me?' he said, 'Father, what are you thinking of? I am a Christian, and I shall remain one to the last.' In despair, the old man begged his fellow executioner, Sebatta, to try whether he could break the boy's resolution. 'Go across to Tuzinde,' he said, 'and say, "What! Since when have you been a Christian? Run away, quickly!", Sebatta did as he was asked, but Mbaaga Tuzinde replied, 'Do you really believe that the Kabaka is my father, as you say? My true father, whom I must obey before all, is in Heaven. I am truly a Christian, so leave me alone.' The executioner had no choice but to let the boy be tied up along with his Christian friends.
As the youth was led away, the others heard some of the executioners voicing their opinion of this. 'Mukaajanga will not put him to death,' they said. 'He will take him back to the Kabaka and say, "This boy has given up his religion".' When they heard this, his fellow Christians were sad at heart, and said to one another, 'Poor Mbaaga! If only his people do not prevail upon him to renounce his religion!' Charles Lwanga exhorted them all to pray earnestly that their friend might remain firm in his resolve, and not yield to the temptation to which he was about to be subjected.
For a full week, the prisoners were kept in confinement at Namu¬gongo, and for a full week the seventeen to eighteen year old youth, Mbaaga Tuzinde, stood firm against the ceaseless prayers, entreaties and tears of his many relatives.
This joyous enthusiasm reached its peak when Mbaaga Tuzinde was seen approaching, between two guards. 'Here comes Mbaaga,' cried one. 'Look, they are bringing him too!' 'Well done, brave lad!' they called out as he drew nearer. When he joined the waiting group, all his companions gathered round him, offering their congratulations and expressing their joy at this re¬union. 'Well done!' they said. 'You have overcome the devil! Our Lord is pleased with you! You are a credit to our religion.'
Mukaajanga, in his count and inspection of the living faggots, which his assistants had thrown on to the funeral pyre, recognized amongst them his son, Mbaaga Tuzinde, who, like his companions in glory, was calmly reciting his prayers, a serene and tranquil expression on his face. At the thought of the torment in store, his father's heart revolted. He had the boy untied, and took him aside. Mbaaga, his hands still tied behind his back, knelt before his father, who pleaded with him once again. 'Give up this folly! Leave this European nonsense in the furnace and come with me to the Kabaka. He will pardon you at my pleading.' 'Pardon me, Father,' replied the boy, 'but praying is no crime. I have no desire to give up the service of Jesus, and I am happy to have the chance of dying for Him, my King.'
'But I,' protested Mukaajanga, 'do not want you to die. Let me hide you. And, to please me, give up this religion.'
'Father, the Kabaka has ordered me to be burnt. He is your master, and you cannot shield me.''What kind of madness is this,' exclaimed Mukaajanga, 'that drives you on to break my heart?'
He was heartbroken and distraught at having to commit to the flames his obstinate but lovable son. Out of pity, to spare him suffering, he ordered his assistants to club the boy on the nape of the neck, and throw his lifeless body into the flames. They took him some little distance apart and did so, killing him instantly. I saw all these things with my own eyes.
Simeon Sebuta adds to this that, 'Mukaajanga, after having killed the martyrs, took out his handkerchief, covered his face and wept, because he had killed his son, Mbaaga Tuzinde, and his brother, Nakabandwa.'

Mbaaga’s decision to die than to deny his religion
Mbaaga Tuzinde, a boy of 17 years of age at the time of his martyrdom, was known as the son of Mukaajanga, the chief executioner, in whose household he was brought up and who pres¬ented him at Court.
He had just been baptized in case of emergency by his fellow catholic, Charles Lwanga, only the previous night. His uncle, Mukaajanga fought tooth and nail to make the boy deny his religion, but did not succeed.
The Christian persecution broke out on Wednesday 26th May 1886. On the day the Christians were condemned to death, King Mwanga ordered the condemned Christians to sort out themselves and go to a certain spot which he pointed at. Without hesitation Charles Lwanga, holding Kizito by the hand, said: "What one knows to be true one would not deny." They moved to the indicated spot and all the Christians, both Catholics and Protestants, soon followed Lwanga. To Mukaajanga's surprise, he saw his beloved boy Mbaaga joining and following the condemned Christians to the death spot. He at once said to the king: "Your Majesty, that Mbaaga is not a Christian, he has never practiced Christianity." Thus Mukaajanga ordered the boy in a furious voice to return to the place of security immediately. But to the Chief Executioner's dismay, Mbaaga replied: "I am a Christian and I have to go to the pointed spot." "When did you have the Christian instructions and who instructed you?" thundered Mukaajanga at the boy. "I was having Christian instructions at night and I was being instructed by Lwanga," firmly but calmly replied Mbaaga, "Let me die for my religion," continued the boy.
The king ordered all the condemned Christians, including Mbaaga, to be tied up, taken to Namugongo and be burnt to death. After his order King Mwanga went away, leaving the executioners to carry out his order.
Mukaajanga, the chief executioner, ordered the executioners under him to tie up all the condemned Christians except Mbaaga. He took his boy aside and used all tactics to persuade Mbaaga deny his religion promising him a lot of property and peace. But the boy adamantly refused. "What will the people think of me if they learn that I have killed my son"? exclaimed Mukaajanga. He begged his fellow executioners to talk to the boy and try to make him change his mind and deny his religion so as to save his life. Despite all their efforts to convince the boy it all ended up in complete fiasco. Thus, Mbaaga was returned to the group, tied up and taken to Namugongo to be burnt to death.
Despite the previous failure to convince Mbaaga to deny his religion, Mukaajanga was far from giving up. He ordered the executioners to separate Mbaaga from the rest, take him to his Namugongo residence and hand him over to his relatives entreating them to do whatever possible to win the boy over against his religious stubbornness so as to save his life.
The relatives, the villagers, the witch-doctors and friends used all possible methods such as intimidation and all sorts of crazy things for a complete week to make Mbaaga deny his religion so as to save his life, but all was in vain. The more they tried the more rigid the boy became until they gave up. For a whole week Mbaaga hardly had a nap. Almost every moment was a moment of mental torture and abuse. But the boy remained firm and never gave up his faith.
He often said to them, 'He that shall lose his life for my sake shall save it', he went to his death cheerfully and manfully

Mbaaga's journey to Namugongo (Death)
Despite the previous failure to convince Mbaaga to deny his religion, Mukaajanga was far from giving up. He ordered the executioners to separate Mbaaga from the rest, take him to his Namugongo residence and hand him over to his relatives entreating them to do whatever possible to win the boy over against his religious stubbornness so as to save his life.
The relatives, the villagers, the witch-doctors and friends used all possible methods such as intimidation and all sorts of crazy things for a complete week to make Mbaaga deny his religion so as to save his life, but all was in vain. The more they tried the more rigid the boy became until they gave up. For a whole week Mbaaga hardly had a nap. Almost every moment was a moment of mental torture and abuse. But the boy remained firm and never gave up his faith.
Early in the morning of Thursday 3rd June 1886 when the soon to be martyrs were at the verge of giving up Mbaaga's perseverance, to their surprise, they saw Mbaaga being tied up and brought to their group by the executioners. The condemned Christians shouted with joy, Charles Lwanga in particular, and their joy had no limits, shouts of joyous welcome, bravo, etc. filled up the atmosphere that threw even the executioners into admiration. They were encouraged and all of them became more determined to die for Christ. Then they proceeded to Namugongo for execution.
Even at the Namugongo furnace, Mukaajanga never gave up the idea of trying to make Mbaaga Tuzinde deny his Christianity while they were being wrapped up into bundles of dry reeds ready to be thrown over the big pile of firewood for burning. The following were taken from the pile, untied and put aside:
Mbaaga Tuzinde, Mukaajanga's nephew.
Three protestant Christians namely; (a) Nakabandwa, a Queen Mother's servant, (b) Frederick Wigram Kizza, from the King's command post, (c) Alexander Kadoko, the Katikkiro of Nnaalinnya.
Mukaajanga ordered Mubiru, one of the executioners, to bring Mbaaga to where he was. Once again Mukaajanga tried all means of persuading the boy to abandon that foreign religion of the white men and save his life. But all was in vain. Mukaajanga told his nephew "I would not dare kill my son, instead I will hide you in a private place where you will practice your religion fully, but here in public you will deny it so that you save your life." Tuzinde replied:
"Uncle, do the job you were ordered to do by the king, kill me. I have decided never to deny my religion, but to die for Christ who died for me."
Mukaajanga then requested Mubiru, his fellow executioner under his command, to use his tactics in a bid to win the stonehearted boy. Mubiru too tried his best but all his efforts to win the boy over failed. So poor Mukaajanga, an executioner who had so much experience in killing and butchering people went aside and cried, drying his tears with a wing of his bark-cloth he was wearing.
From there he gathered up courage and ordered his executioner to put him together with the three he had selected, hit each of them on the head first before wrapping them into the bundles of reeds and put the bundles over the pile of firewood. In doing so, he wanted to save them from the extreme pain of the burning furnace while still alive.
That is how Mbaaga Tuzinde came to the end of his life without abandoning his Vocation- the Vocation of Martyrdom.

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