December 12th marks a very important day in Kenya’s history. Dubbed Jamhuri Day (Swahili word for “republic”) or Independence Day, this is one of the most important national holidays in Kenya as it signifies the day Kenya became a republic. December 12 is also the date when Kenya obtained its independence from Great Britain in 1963.
Kenya was established as a republic on 12 December, 1964, however, the country also gained full independence from the United Kingdom one year earlier on 12 December, 1963 making this date very important in Kenya’s history.
Kenya’s struggle for independence started many decades ago under British rule since the late 19th century. The colonial administration opposed African demands for a greater role in the political process, and it was not until 1944 that an African was included in the colony’s legislature.
There were many disputes over land and cultural traditions, however the movement against colonial rule grew, culminating in the Mau Mau uprisings in the 1950s, during which the country was plunged into a state of emergency through most of the decade. Africans gained some social and economic concessions as a result of the uprisings, and African political participation increased in the early 1960s. Kenya gained independence on Dec. 12, 1963, and became a republic a year later, with Jomo Kenyatta as its president.
Celebrations for this day include feasts, political speeches, parades, and dancing. Thousands of patriotic Kenyans flock the stadiums in the various cities and town for the presidential function where they enjoy various forms of entertainment with the climax of the day being the president’s speech. After here, people head back home or to various meat joints to indulge in some juicy nyama choma as they make merry.