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Madaraka Day; History, Tradition, And The Difference between Madaraka Day And Jamhuri Day

Madaraka Day; History, Tradition, And The Difference between Madaraka Day And Jamhuri Day

Madaraka Day is celebrated as a national holiday in Kenya every 1st of June every year. If June 1st falls on a Sunday, usually the following Monday automatically becomes a holiday. Madaraka is the Swahili word for ‘power’ and Madraka Day is a public holiday that commemorates the day that Kenya took power when it attained its internal self-rule in the year 1963.

History of Madaraka Day

The colonial history of Kenya can be traced back to the year 1885 when the Germans invaded the coast of Kenya that had previously occupied by the Sultan of Zanzibar. Five years later, in 1890, Great Britain took over the German Territory and set up the East African Protectorate in the year 1895. The British settlers began arriving in the country in huge numbers and occupied the best and fertile agricultural districts that belonged to the natives. Only a few of the settlers moved to the northern parts of Kenya because it was very dry. The year 1920 would see Kenya become an official colony of Britain. Land disputes were prevalent, and this resulted in the Mau Mau rebellion that put the country in a state of emergency in the period 1952-1959. The end of the apartheid policy in the year 1944 paved the way for a few of the local African officials to be appointed into the government. However, it was not until the year 1957 that the first elections were held in the country. Jomo Kenyatta was elected on a Kenya National African Union ticket to form the first government. On 1st June 1963, the country attained self-governance following the election of Kenyatta as a prime minister. The country only managed to attain full independence from the British colonists on 12th December 1963. Fifty-six years later, the country has grown into an independent nation with the son of Mzee Jomo Kenyatta currently serving as the President. 

How is Madaraka Day Celebrated?

To celebrate Madaraka Day, Kenyans usually gather together in their thousands at the venue that has been selected for each year’s official event.  The event features military parades and singing and dancing. The most important part of the event is the Madaraka day speech, given by the President. The speech often addresses the struggle for freedom in the country and touches on other issues that are affecting the country. The national anthem is then sung to bring the celebrations to an end.

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The difference between Madaraka Day and Jamhuri Day

Madaraka Day 2021is usually an awaited event for many. But what is the difference between Madaraka Day and Jamhuri Day? Madaraka Day is a national holiday celebrated every 1st June that commemorates the day in 1963 that Kenya attained independent self-governance after decades as a British colony. Madaraka is a Swahili word for “freedom, independence”. At this point in time, Kenya was a monarchy under Queen Elizabeth who was the head of state with Jomo Kenyatta as its Prime Minister who was the head of government. While Jamhuri Day (Republic Day) celebrated on 12 December each year, officially marks the date when Kenya became an independent republic which happened on 12th December 1964. At this time Jomo Kenyatta became the executive president, combining the roles of head of state and head of government. 

Jamhuri Day is regarded as Kenya’s most important day, marked by numerous festivities which celebrate the country’s cultural heritage and looks back at her journey to independence and self-governance. The Trooping of the Colour also takes place every Jamhuri Day. The ceremony begins at 11:30 after the President of Kenya, takes the national salute and inspects the parade. The band plays a slow march followed by a quick march the lone drummer then breaks away to take his position beside the number one guard to play the drummers call, signalling the officers of the No.1 Guard to take positions to receive the colour. The escort for the colour then marches off to collect the colour as the massed KDF band plays the chosen Kenyan tune. After the handover and as the Escort presents arms the first verse of the Kenya national anthem is played, then the escort to the colour marches off in a slow march to the tune of the British grenadier guards. The first tune normally played during the march is always ‘By land and sea’

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