KAMPALA – The Archbishop Janani Luwum was born in the village of Mucwini in the Kitgum District to Acholi parents. He attended Gulu High School and Boroboro Teacher Training College, after which he taught at a primary school.
On 6th January 1948 a young school teacher, Luwum, was converted to the charismatic Christianity of the East African Revival, in his own village in Acoli, Uganda.
In January 1949 he went to a theological college at Buwalasi, in eastern Uganda. A year later he came back a catechist.
In 1953 he returned to train for ordination. He was ordained deacon on St Thomas’s Day, 21st December 1955, and priest a year later. His progress was impressive: after two periods of study in England, he became principal of Buwalasi.
Then, in September 1966, he was appointed Provincial Secretary of the Church of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Boga-Zaire. It was a difficult position to occupy, and these were anxious days but Luwum won a reputation for creative and active leadership, promoting a new vision with energy and commitment.
Only three years later he was consecrated bishop of Northern Uganda, on 25th January 1969.
After five years he was appointed Archbishop of the Metropolitan Province of the Church of Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi and Boga-Zaire from 1974 to 1977 and one of the most influential leaders of the modern church in Africa.
On 12th February 1977 Luwum delivered a protest to Amin against all acts of violence that were allegedly the work of the security services.
Archbishop Janani Luwum boldly said to Idi Amin’s Government, “This injustices have hurt many families. I wish one day we could have a sober regime, probably the best thing would be a referendum on what should be done to people who have committed crimes against humanity. Should they be pardoned or should they be prosecuted. But of course I would go for forgiveness.”
Church leaders were summoned to Kampala and then ordered to leave, one by one. Luwum turned to Bishop Festo Kivengere and said, “They are going to kill me. I am not afraid”.
Finally alone, he was taken away and murdered on February 16, 1977, at Nakasero by Uganda president Idi Amin.
Later his body was buried near St Paul’s Church, Mucwini.