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We should not forget Mackay’s role in Uganda

By Vision Reporter

Added 27th November 2007 03:00 AM

After 117 years, Gertrude Ssekabira, the headteacher of Mackay Memorial School in Natete, made a journey to Scotland in the UK to look for Alexander MacKay’s home.

After 117 years, Gertrude Ssekabira, the headteacher of Mackay Memorial School in Natete, made a journey to Scotland in the UK to look for Alexander MacKay’s home.

George Kasedde Mukasa

After 117 years, Gertrude Ssekabira, the headteacher of Mackay Memorial School in Natete, made a journey to Scotland in the UK to look for Alexander MacKay’s home.

Not even leaders of the Church, who are thriving on the foundation laid by Mackay and his other Christian colleagues like Marples (commonly known as Mapeera), has ever thought about this idea.

Many times, we take these first missionaries for granted, but when you seriously think about it, you realise that some of them were a special breed of people, dedicated to educate and spread Christianity.

The Sunday Vision of October 7 ran an article about Mackay’s missionary work, which I am sure was based on Ssekabira’s research.

I am one of the surviving children of one of Mackay’s first converts. Mackay taught my father how to read and write Swahili and English. The training even enabled him to become the first private secretary of Sir Apollo Kaggwa, the Katikkiro of Buganda. This job took my father to the UK in 1901, when he accompanied Kaggwa to the coronation of King Edward the VI. When they returned, my father wrote a book, The Katikkiro of Buganda in Britain,” which, unfortunately, is out of print, but we are trying to re-print it. My father also accompanied Sir Daudi Chwa II, the Kabaka of Buganda Kingdom when he was invited to Britain.

During the persecution of the Christians by Kabaka Mwanga in the late 1890s, my father had been sent to Bulemezi by my grandfather. So he was lucky Mwanga’s soldiers did not find him home. When he returned, the martyrs at Namugongo and Natete had already been killed. He was taken to the Kabaka and he admitted before him that he was one of Mackay’s converts. Fortunately, when he was taken to Kabaka Mwanga as one of the Christians who was still alive, Mwanga’s wild excitement and killing instinct had cooled down. So he forgave my father, who lived until 1956 (56 years later).

I wonder why the Church does not come out when we are celebrating the Martyrs’ Day, to hail Mackay’s role as a teacher of some of the martyrs. Natete should be turned into a tourist attraction so that the pilgrims get to see where the first converts to Christianity were taught from. Mackay’s cave should also be renovated and his Tunnel re-opened because very few people know about its importance in the history of Christianity in Uganda.

The writer is a citizen Uganda

We should not forget Mackay’s role in Uganda

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