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There has always been a debate about the location and role of women during the persecution of Christians under Mwanga II’s first reign as Kabaka of Buganda. Kabaka is the Luganda equivalent of the English word king. The debate is partly fueled by a total absence of women from the pictures of Ugandans historically referred to as the Uganda Martyrs. This paper uses archival research to tell the story of an African woman who, in her adult life, married two devout Anglicans, in whose lives she was actively involved, laying a foundation for Uganda’s Anglican tradition. Evidence shows the first Anglican baptism, teacher and burial in Uganda are traced to her first marriage, which ended in early 1884 with the death of her husband from smallpox. Nakimu Nalwanga Sarah would have been the first martyr if not for the timely discovery that she was Mwanga’s relative. Still, as a punishment, she was ordered to witness the cruel burning of the first martyrs on January 31, 1885. She married again in a marriage that produced Uganda’s first catechist, deacon and priest. Her second husband was part of a team that completed the translation of the first Luganda Bible in 1895.
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