Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Former Archbishop of Church of Uganda Dr. Livingstone Mpalanyi Nkoyoyo has been laid to rest by thousands at the Anglican shrine of the Uganda Martyrs at Namugongo.
As was his wish, Nkoyoyo was buried in as simple a grave as possible, at a site that he had dedicated his final years to improving. These are the very grounds where most of the Ugandan Martyrs were executed.
Nkoyoyo’s grandfather was narrowly spared during the slaughter of the Uganda martyrs. The Uganda Martyrs are a group of 23 Anglican and 22 Catholic converts to Christianity in the historical kingdom of Buganda, who were executed between 31 January 1885 and 27 January 1887. They were killed on orders of Mwanga II, the Kabaka (King) of Buganda.
Mrs Ruth Nkoyoyo hailed her husband, singing the hymn Tukutendereza, saying “My friend has gone for his last wedding,” referring to the Biblical image of heaven as a wedding banquet.
Nkoyoyo’s grandfather was narrowly spared execution during the slaughter of the Uganda martyrs.
For that reason, Ruth Nkoyoyo said, the Namugongo site has always remained special to him and grounded his commitment to developing the site and the museum. This led him to want to be buried there.
She concluded by leading the congregation in singing the Luganda chorus, “We are on the journey walking to our destination of heaven.”
Beatrice Ntagali, wife of the current Archbishop, and Mama Phoebe, wife of retired Archbishop Henry Orombi, dressed in the blue colour of Mother’s Union, joined the Nkoyoyo family at the funeral attended by thousands of Christians, bishops, clergy, cultural leaders, and government leaders.
Stanley Ntagali, Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, presided over the service, and reminded the crowd that, as Christians, we gather in the hope of the resurrection, which was Archbishop Nkoyoyo’s hope.
Ntagali preached from John 14.1-6, calling the congregation to “let not your hearts be troubled,” but to put their trust in Jesus, as Archbishop Nkoyoyo had done since he was 29 years old. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but by me.” Archbishop Stanley asked, “Is Jesus your way? Is he your truth? Is he your life?”
“People today,” the Archbishop declared, “trust money, social status, and property. But, none of those things can save you. None of those things can resolve the anxiety so many people experience today.” He appealed to the congregation to trust in Jesus because there is a great crown of life awaiting them when they do.
The Papal Nuncio hailed Archbishop Nkoyoyo as a “great Ecumenist,” especially in hosting Pope Francis during his 2015 visit to the Anglican Shrine of the Uganda Martyrs at Namugongo.
The Katikiiro of Buganda said Archbishop Nkoyoyo had been given “five talents,” and he multiplied them and leaves many more behind. The Nabagereka and Katikiiro of the Buganda Kingdom were present and represented the Kabaka.
The Vice-President of Uganda Edward Ssekandi, praised Archbishop Nkoyoyo as a “great Ugandan” and “our Star.”
The Mufti and Chairman of the Inter-Religious Council of Uganda (IRCU) was also present, along with Archbishop Cyprian Kizito Lwanga, who represented the Roman Catholic Church.
The day ended with the Baganda tradition of selecting the heir. Isaac Mwesigwa Nkoyoyo, the first-born son of Archbishop Nkoyoyo was named heir.