History of the Kenyan Flag
The Kenya flag features a horizontal tricolor design with a central emblem. The colors are black at the top, red in the center, and green at the bottom. In between these three bands are two white stripes. The central emblem of the flag is a Maasai shield in front of two spears. The black, red, and green colors are those of the Kenya African National Unity (KANU) party, which successfully saw Kenya achieve independence in 1963. Black symbolizes Kenya's African identity, red stands for the blood shed in the war for independence, and green represents the country's natural beauty. The Maasai shield and spears represent the importance of that tribe in Kenya.
The colors black, red, and green on the Kenya flag are also those of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (UNIA-ACL), which led many African nations to independence. The black, red, and green color scheme became a symbol of the Pan African independence movement against foreign occupation. Kenya had been a British colony from 1888, its position on the Indian Ocean was critical for the British empire's strategic objectives.
UNIA-ACL was founded by Marcus Garvey in Jamaica in 1914. It strove for self determination for African people on that continent and people of African ancestry across the world. It inspired independence and liberation movements across Africa, and Kenya was one of the countries which believed in its principles.
Throughout most of the 1950s, Kenya was the scene of the Mau Mau uprising. This long and brutal conflict was eventually quelled, but it changed the British approach to its former colonies forever. It also set in motion the processes by which Kenya eventually became independent.
The Mau Mau rebellion was mainly led by Kikuyu people. The Kikuyu are the largest ethnic group in Kenya, and one of several groupings who have striven for representation in the Kenyan government. The Maasai people are one of the few remaining nomadic tribes in the world. Kenya is proud to host this ancient nomadic culture, hence the shield and spear emblem at the center of the Kenya flag.
Kenya is also one of Africa's most important countries in terms of wildlife. It has huge conservation areas dedicated to preserving the integrity of animal populations. Probably the most important of these is the Masai Mara. This vast area witnesses the annual migration of whole wildebeest and zebra populations. This is one of the most important natural phenomena involving animal movements.
The Masai Mara and other parts of Kenya also support elephant, buffalo, leopard, lion, and rhinoceros populations. These are some of the most endangered species in the world, and the Kenyan government fights hard to protect them from poachers. As a developing country, Kenya needs to balance the needs of its people with its vast natural resources.
Kenya is in a pivotal position on the African continent, both physically and politically. As its flag shows, it has a history of modern independence linked deeply with African traditions.
Kenya National Anthem
Oh God of All Creation (Ee Mungu Nguvu Yetu)
O God of all creation
Bless this our land and nation
Justice be our shield and defender
May we dwell in unity
Peace and liberty
Plenty be found within our borders.
Let one and all arise
With hearts both strong and true
Service be our earnest endeavour
And our homeland of Kenya
Heritage of splendour
Firm may we stand to defend
Let all with one accord
In common bond united
Build this our nation together
And the glory of Kenya
The fruit of our labour
Fill every heart with thanksgiving.