50 years ago there was a culmination of efforts, blood, sweat and tears that lead to the formation of the Republic of Kenya.
60 years ago young men and a few women were moving into the forest to fight for an ideal of freedom for Black people and land for development of the Black person.
70 years ago the concept of Kenya belonged to one people with others looking in from the margins.
80 years ago, the first signs of unrest amongst a few Black people led to the articulation of the concept of a Republic of Kenya.
90 years ago people labourers on farms was what a Black person in the Kenya Colony could dream about becoming – maybe a farm foreman.
100 years ago Christianity began a strong grip amongst the Black people of Kenya Colony. And this was the flag.
110 years ago a railway snaked its way into the interior of an amorphous land.
When we think about Kenya’s war for independence we often think about the “Mau Mau” fighters. However to do so and to see this as Kenya’s only attempt at defeating the colonialists is to narrowly miss a history of rebellion that began with Kamba in 1889, the Kikuyu in 1892, the Giriama in 1896, the Nandi in 1897, the Masai in 1899, the Lughya and Luo in 1900, the Kisii in 1908 and the Gallana and Giriama in 1913, before the grievances climaxed into the force that became Mau Mau in 1952.
Let us not forget that the battle began long before we could conceptualise the Republic of Kenya. Let us understand that it began as a fight for equality and a fight against an oppressive force.
It was best articulated as Land and Freedom – the tangible and intangible.
50 years ago a little country called Kenya was born and before it, on the continent where it was born, 23 countries in Africa gained independence between 1960 and 1963 – 17 countries in 1960.
Empires could no longer be sustained. In 1960 Harold Macmillian, the British Prime Minister delivered his famous “Wind of Change” Speech.
“The wind of change is blowing through this continent. Whether we like it or not, this growth of national consciousness is a political fact.”
1960 was referred to as the Year of Africa.
In 1960 the State of Emergency in Kenya was lifted.
In the years preceding 1960, the world had been embroiled in the Second World War and the First World War. The world was fighting for the freedoms of a minority.
On the African continent those freedoms had gone unrecognized.
50 years ago the Republic of Kenya was born.