The History of Madaraka Day Simplified

Madaraka day
Courtesy: Getty Images

Tomorrow being Madaraka Day, everyone is looking forward to having an off day. But as you celebrate the day, do you really know the history behind this it?

Madaraka Day, celebrated every June 1st, is the day set aside annually to commemorate Kenya becoming a self-ruling nation. So here’s the history right before this day:

Mid 1800s
British settlers arrive in East Africa.

They eventually establish the East African Protectorate, which promotes European settlement in some of the most fertile parts of Kenya, forcing Kenyans out from their land.

Kenya is officially a British colony, and European settlers are allowed to participate in government. However, Africans are prohibited from direct political participation.

A few appointed (but not elected) African representatives are allowed to sit in the legislature.

1952 – 1959
Kenyans begin to rebel against British colonial rule and its land policies. This rebellion takes place almost exclusively in the highlands of central Kenya, home to the Kikuyu. Detention camps and restricted villages are established to contain the Kikuyu insurgents. Tens of thousands of Kikuyus die in these areas and in the fighting. There are estimated to be approximately 650 British deaths.

Following the rebellions, Africans are given many more opportunities to participate in politics. The first elections to elect Africans to the Legislative Council take place in this year.

June 1, 1963 – Madaraka Day
Kenya becomes a self-governing country. Jomo Kenyatta, at this time the head of Kenya African National Union (KANU), becomes the first prime minister.

December 12, 1963
Kenya becomes an independent nation.

December 12, 1964
Kenya becomes a republic, with Jomo Kenyatta serving as the first Kenyan president.

53 years later, Kenya has grown into a strong independent nation. Jomo Kenyatta’s son, Uhuru Kenyatta is currently the serving president and will preside the Madaraka Day celebarations tommorow in Nakuru.

Additional Information from Ministry of Tourism and Wildlife Office

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