Today Kenya celebrates Independence Day on the anniversary of their entrance into the Commonwealth in 1964. It is also known as Jamhuri Day, making use of a Swahili word meaning ‘Republic’.
As one of Kenya’s most important holidays, Jamhuri Day emphasises the importance of the country’s heritage, cultures and independence through a number of festivities.
Join us as we get to know a bit more about Kenya on Jamhuri Day.
Kenya’s name probably originates from Mount Kenya
The Kikuyu community originally named the second-highest mountain in Africa, Mount Kenya, Kirinyaga. Legend has it that when the British colonised the country, they were unable to pronounce the name of the mountain and eventually came up with ‘Kenya’.
Hakuna Matata is a common phrase in Kenya
Many of us know the phrase Hakuna Matata after it was made famous by Disney’s, The Lion King. But the phrase, which is Swahili, is actually widely used in Kenya. As Timon and Pumba accurately told Simba in the popular film, the phrase translates to ‘no worries’.
A coastline stretching over 1,420km
Home to some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, Kenya has a vast coastline with classic coastal destinations like the Seychelles and Barbados. Regions like Diani and Baburi boast white beach sand and turquoise blue water, making them popular vacation spots.
The colours on the Kenyan flag represent independence
The flag was adopted on Independence Day in 1963, and is symbolic of the country’s independence. Red represents the blood shed prior to independence, black presents the indigenous population of Kenya and green represents the rich agriculture and land. The white stripes and Maasai shield were added to represent peace and further ingrain the independence that Kenya fought for.
A cut flower exporter
Kenya is responsible for almost half of Europe’s cut flowers. The country’s year-round amicable flower growing conditions have ensured its place as one of the world’s largest flower exporters.
Home to the first African woman to win a Nobel Peace prize
Born in Nyeri, Kenya, Wangari Maathai was widely recognised for her humanitarian work. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014 for her contribution to sustainable development, democracy and peace.
Home to the three remaining northern white rhinos
All three northern white rhinos are located at the Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Nanyuki. Najin, Fatu and Sudan are the last of their kind after 41-year-old Nola died in San Diego last month. Ol Pejeta is appealing to the public to support an IVF initiative to avoid extinction.
From a Princess to a Queen
Princess Elizabeth became Queen while she was in Kenya, even if unofficially. She was staying at the Treetops Hotel when the King, her father, died. The phrase “she went into the trees as a princess and came down as a queen” is well known.
A wide variety of birds
In 1986, Kenya set the world record for the greatest number of bird species spotted in 24 hours. A total of 342 species were seen out of Kenya’s 1 132.
Terry Stevenson, John Fanshawe and Andy Roberts spotted the birds on a 48-hour competition called Birdwatch Kenya ’86.
Happy Jamhuri Day to all of our Kenyan readers.