Celebrating Kenya’s Independence Day

Vantage Travel Team December 10, 2017

There’s much more to Africa than safari…

On December 12, 1963, a man named Jomo Kenyatta – the Prime Minister of the newest nation in the world – said to a gathered crowd in Nairobi: “This is the happiest, the most wonderful day in my life, the day our beloved Kenya becomes free.” It was a watershed moment: the birth of a brand-new country on the African continent after years of colonial rule.

It was the culmination of years of struggle to break free from British control, which started with what was called the East Africa Protectorate in 1895 (changed to Kenya in 1920).  Over time, Kenyans began to fight back against a number of policies imposed by the British, including limited access to land and low wages. The Mau Mau Rebellion, started in 1951, was in part a reaction to the unfairness of these policies. This brutal uprising resulted in more than 70,000 Kikuyu people (an ethnic group at the heart of the Mau Mau movement) imprisoned and thousands more killed. Many believe that this rebellion was the most important reason that the British government ultimately decided to end its colonial rule on December 12, 1963.

Kenyans are understandably proud of their independence, and if you travel there with Vantage on our On Safari in Kenya & Tanzania: Up Close With the Big Five adventure, you may see and hear three words that have their roots on that day. The first is the name of the day itself: Jamhuri Day. Jamhuri is the Swahili word for “republic” and the day celebrates the dawn of a new era for the people of Kenya.

The second word is Uhuru. During the fight for independence, this word – which means “freedom” in Swahili – was a rallying cry for Kenyan nationalists. In fact, Jomo Kenyatta’s son, who is now the president of Kenya, is named Uhuru. It’s also the name of a famous park in the capital of Nairobi.

The third word was a concept promoted by Jomo Kenyatta back in 1963: Harambee. It means “all pull together” and was the Prime Minister’s message to the people of Kenya, both black and white: Unite in the development of this new country. Harmabee became the national motto of Kenya and can be seen on its coat of arms.

Join us On Safari in Kenya & Tanzania: Up Close With the Big Five, and you’ll learn more about the fascinating history of this nation – not to mention enjoying the thrill of discovering its world-famous wildlife and breathtaking beauty!