Tourism Uganda has in recent years notably stepped up its promotional campaigns around the annual Martyrs Day. It has been singled out as the country’s showcase religious festival, supported by the other tourism boards in the East African region, each of which has equally one event supported by their partners to raise visibility and marketability of their respective countries.
One of, if not the highest profile event on the Ugandan’ calendar of cultural and religious festivals, the annual Uganda Martyrs Day celebrated on June 3, is rapidly rising on the horizon again.
Pilgrims have commenced their long walks from Uganda’s four corners, and equally pilgrims across East Africa have started their long marches to Uganda, to be in Namugongo on the eve of Martyrs Day, seeking the blessings of the saints and divine intervention according to their respective beliefs.
It is at Namugongo where the shrine has been erected to commemorate the slaughter of both Catholics and Anglicans by a monarch, Mwanga II, gone stark raving mad, a story often told and well known.
For Uganda, past campaigns paid off handsomely, and thousands of visitors from abroad are now streaming into the country every year to participate in the commemoration, not on the scale of the Lady of Lourdes, yet, but of growing importance nevertheless across the Catholic world.