Happy Madaraka Day Kenya!
June 1 is a public holiday in Kenya, commemorating the day that Kenya became a self-ruling nation. At Nyayo Stadium in Nairobi, the President will address the nation, and uniformed military, singers, and traditional dancers from around the country will provide entertainment for the crowds.
It’s a really festive day with lots of activities such as family picnics and games in parks. Lots of people go back to their home villages for the occasion, and have a big meal of goat or chicken in honour of the special day. I remember the celebrations when I was there in 2012. People gathered in small stadiums and public places in all of the small towns to listen to the president’s speech and celebrate together. All over town people had their radios and tvs tuned to the main event happening in Nairobi.
Even before Kenya was officially made a British colony in 1920, European settlers were allowed to participate in government. But Africans were not allowed to participate in politics directly until 1944, when a few appointed (but not elected) African representatives were allowed to sit in the legislature.
Between 1952 and 1959, Kenyans began to rebel against British colonial rule and its land policies. This rebellion took place almost exclusively in the highlands of central Kenya, which were home to the Kikuyu people. Detention camps and restricted villages were established to contain the Kikuyu insurgents. Tens of thousands of Kikuyu died in these areas and in the fighting, compared to approximately 650 British deaths.
After the rebellions, Africans were given many more opportunities to participate in politics. The first elections to elect Africans to the Legislative Council took place in 1957.
On June 1, 1963, Kenya became a self-governing country when Jomo Kenyatta, an ethnic Kikuyu and head of the Kenya African National Union (KANU), became the first prime minister.
And the rest, as they say, is history!
(Information and photo credit: http://123greetingsquotes.com/madaraka-day-2015-history-celebrations-kenya-public-holidays/)