|The African Martyrs. Source: Google|
Saturday, 3 June 2017
Way back in time atop the furrowed navel of Africa was a lush Equatorial-Tropical green region with very many lakes filled with all sorts of fish and water creatures. The kingdoms are as many as the lakes in this region. In one of them,a young Son-Son was being prepared to take over from his ill Father-King who around 1862 AD had written to the Queen of England requesting for missionaries to bring a certain light to this part of Africa. Little did the Father-King know that this same light would burn so fiercely through heart, sinew, bone and make his a Holy Land. The Son-King was ready to take the reigns. A wonderfully powerful hand of the Divine was working its way to this land at the same time. Historically multi-racial and ethnic, his Kingdom had institutionalized citizenship and assimilation for any person. After all Buganda, meant, "to bring together different persons into a single cultural union." Buganda Kingdom is the name of this land. Buganda was made through cultural assimilation. It was not new for someone from a neighboring kingdom or chieftain to become a Muganda and get the king's blessing. Mentorship, benefactor-ship and patronage were some of the ways any person could end up living with someone who may or may not be a near kin. This was not unheard of! Buganda Kingdom subjects, all subjects submitted to the King and could be rewarded with positions of leadership if they proved themselves well. The king presided over so many matters including life and death. It was such that even a blade of green elephant grass was inventoried! The Son-King however soon realized his King-Deity character was being diluted. More and more he saw his near Divine-like aura slipping away. No longer were his snap commands heeded without questioning or debate! Unheard of in Buganda! New waves were sweeping through it so fast. It was no longer easy to bring back his father's glory days. The allure of a future excited and drew him in. It intoxicated and at the same time became a tempestuous wind blowing through his kingdom threatening to rip it apart. Or was it? This became the hunger and pain that coursed through this great Son-King. His kingdom had become a multi-denominational, Judaeo-Islamic-Christian and a venue for people from Arabia, India and those who walked at a faster pace (Bazungu) but with a lighter skin compared to Indians and Arabs. As a shepherd, like his father and the one's before him, he had to tend to the sheep he knew. But his was a unique position. Some new breeds bayed differently from what he was accustomed to. Not even the renowned kingdom priests could provide counsel. At this moment a political wilderness was eating up his kingdom. Would the king humble himself and climb a mountain of enlightenment? He contemplated going outside the normal channels but there was no precedence to refer to. His was a unique position. A young, virile king whose muscles rippled through the vestments, a black Nebuchadnezzar! One who would out-swim, outrun and out-wrestle many of his Army Generals. One with an acute discernment, a visionary and at the same time with a penchant for debating. This was the king whose human understanding was blind to the workings of a Divine power. So much must have been going through his mind: “I want to understand this strangeness in my kingdom,” he must have thought.
That must have prepared his heart as a slab to write on. The Divine power with ways to inscribe knowledge onto our hearts started the inscriptions! That Divine Hand who makes our hearts into the very Promised Land! The same Hand beating all of us into humility was swinging in this region with Might. Head counting was taking place and the Divine wanted people who would say “here I am Lord!”
Saying "“here I am Lord!" stripped many in this region of the vestiges of power, stature and position of old. At the same time replaced them with eye-opening vestments that would make many fit for attending the grand banquet where all humans drink of a blood and eat of a meal that give everlasting life. They would learn of the true name of the Divine whom they had previously known as Mukasa. A God known by the salutation “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob," would make it known to them too that He is the God of everything. Most of all He was the God whose awesomeness empowers all to overcome any form of fear.
There came a spiritual hunger, the king's inner circle became converts to Christianity or Islam. The converts spoke of a baptism that broke the dark chains of miserableness. They were able to read and write. They debated with the king. They risked being called unpatriotic when they talked of a land where everyone shall be guest to a more powerful king. The king could have none of this. "Nonsense!" He must have said. He rounded up all converts and had them killed in the cruelest of forms. But, even when this happened his kingdom saw a multiplication of converts whose numbers still swell up to date. More confessed to being Christians or Moslems. The king shuddered before the might of God. His kingdom faced a turmoil in which he was forced into exile and while there was baptized. He became Daniel Mwanga (II). He now sits, in heavenly paradise, with the very Martyrs whose deaths he once ordered. Thus ends the story called: Uganda Martyrs, the Burning Bush and Holy Land of Africa.