Archbishop Janani Luwum Day

Uganda National Holiday in Uganda

Archbishop Luwum, whose death anniversary is a public holiday in Uganda on 16 February

When is Archbishop Janani Luwum Day?

How long until Archbishop Janani Luwum Day?
This holiday next takes place in 270 Days.
Dates of Archbishop Janani Luwum Day
Year Weekday Date
2020 Sunday
2019 Saturday
2018 Friday
2017 Thursday
2016 Tuesday
1 Day
In honour of former Archbishop Janani Luwum who was killed in 1977

This public holiday in Uganda is always celebrated on 16 February. It marks the day in 1977 when Archbishop Janani Luwum was killed.

History of Archbishop Janani Luwum Day Day

Janani Luwum was the third Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, and Boga-Zaire. Born in 1922, Luwum converted to Christianity in 1948, becoming a priest in 1954. Rising through the ranks of the church, he was appointed Archbishop in 1974.

In 1971, Idi Amin assumed power in Uganda, becoming President after a military coup. His reign was characterised by human rights abuses, political repression and corruption. It is estimated that the number of people killed during his regime was over 100,000.

Archbishop Luwum was a leading figure in the criticism of the excesses of the Idi Amin regime. In 1977 Archbishop Luwum delivered a note to Idi Amin, protesting against the policies of unjustified killings and unexplained disappearances.

On 16 February 1977, Luwum and two cabinet ministers were arrested and accused of treason and planning a coup. It was then announced that all three were killed in a car crash, caused by the victims trying to overpower the driver.

When the body of Luwum was released to his family, the cause of death by gunshots was obvious.

Speaking to the media ahead of the 2018 holiday, the Archbishop of the Church of Uganda, The Most Rev. Stanley Ntagali said Luwum’s courage should be celebrated because he stood firm in tough times and preached the gospel uncompromisingly. “He spoke the truth, walked the truth and died for the truth”.

Archbishop Luwum is recognised as a martyr by the Church of England. His statue is among the Twentieth Century Martyrs on the front facade of Westminster Abbey in London. 

A public holiday to commemorate his death was proposed in 2015 and was observed for the first time on 16 February 2016.

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