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LOOK: Kenya marks 59 years of internal self-rule after being a British colony since 1920

President Uhuru Kenyatta and First Lady Margaret Kenyatta on Wednesday hosted a Madaraka Day State Luncheon at State House in the capital Nairobi. Picture: State House Kenya

President Uhuru Kenyatta and First Lady Margaret Kenyatta on Wednesday hosted a Madaraka Day State Luncheon at State House in the capital Nairobi. Picture: State House Kenya

Published Jun 1, 2022

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Cape Town – Today, Kenya marks 59 years of independence from British colonial rule.

Madaraka Day is a national holiday that is celebrated every June 1 annually in the Republic of Kenya.

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It commemorates the day in 1963 that Kenya attained internal self rule after being a British colony since 1920.

President Uhuru Kenyatta and First Lady Margaret Kenyatta on Wednesday hosted a Madaraka Day State Luncheon at State House in the capital Nairobi, that was attended by visiting Sierra Leone President Julius Maada Bio and first lady Fatima Maada Bio as well as several national leaders among them former Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

Speaking at the official event, the president said Madaraka Day was significant in Kenya’s history because it is on this day in June 1963 that the Founding Fathers of their nation replaced the outgoing colonial government and formed the first indigenous government of Kenya.

First Lady Margaret Kenyatta, right, on Wednesday hosted a Madaraka Day State Luncheon at State House in the capital Nairobi. Picture: Facebook

“And with this act, we achieved self-rule or Madaraka, with Mzee Jomo Kenyatta as our first Prime Minister.”

“However, self-rule was not the same thing as independence. With Madaraka, we had merely surmounted the first hurdle in our liberation struggle,” Kenyatta said.

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“It was six months after the first Madaraka Day, that we secured our full independence on December 12, 1963.

President Uhuru Kenyatta and First Lady Margaret Kenyatta on Wednesday hosted a Madaraka Day State Luncheon at State House in the capital Nairobi, Picture: State House Kenya

“On that day, the nation was summoned to these sacred grounds of Uhuru Gardens. An elated people listened with tears in their eyes as our national anthem played for the first time. And then we cheered in boundless joy as our flag was hoisted and the flag of the colonisers lowered.“

Kenyatta said that the act of raising the national flag was not an exercise in symbolism or a sheer sentimental exploit, but it was a sign that Kenyan’s had achieved sovereignty as a nation.

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“But fundamentally, it was a call to civic duty and responsibility to our people.

“Once hoisted, our Founding Fathers reminded us that the flag was not just a cloth painted in designs of four colours. Instead, it was a painting of the national wounds and scars we bear from our liberation struggle, coated with an illumination of our shared aspirations – our future.

“It was and still remains a picture of the blood we shed to regain what we had lost. It is a reflection of the dignity of our black heritage and the pride we restored.”

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And because the ultimate act of every liberator is to lay down their weapon, the shield and spear on our national flag is a symbol of victory. But it is also a notice of readiness should our “heritage of splendour” be threatened.

According to our Founding Fathers, therefore, our flag is not a sentimental piece of fabric decorated in ink. We must always remember that each time it flies, it is NOT blown by the wind. It is blown by the last breath of our liberators as they made their final bow to liberate Kenya, said Kenyatta.

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Related Topics:

kenyaColonialism

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