Countries always pride in having a moment in history that makes its citizens feel proud to belong to the nation. As a country, Kenya has not fallen short of remarkable milestones in history. In fact, the achievements seem to be increasing by the day. They will always feature in economic, political, cultural, as well as environmental history archives of the world. Having said that, the following are probably the 5 most remarkable moments in Kenyan history:
1. Gained Independence In 1963
Like many African countries, Kenya was once ruled by its colonial masters. Britain had taken control of Kenya after the “Scramble for Africa” initiation that saw European countries take control of the African continent. The natives had to bear the brutality of its colonial masters. This led to a rebellion against its so-called masters since the citizens wanted their freedom back. After many battles that were led by different ethnic communities under the banner of “MAU MAU”, the war was finally won. The British finally relinquished their authority and Kenya became an independent state in 12th December 1963. The Union Jack was replaced by the Kenyan flag with the red color being the blood that was shed, white for peace, green for the vegetation, and Black for its people.
2. First and Only Kenyan Nobel Laureate – Professor Wangari Maathai 2004
The Nobel Prize Award is one of the most coveted prizes in the world. This achievement is symbolic of a lifetime achievement that very few people, as well as countries, attain. However, in 2004, Kenya’s own late Professor Wangari Maathai (1940-2011) made history by becoming the first and only Kenyan to win the accolade. She was also the first African woman to have achieved this feat. This achievement was not only a personal achievement for Professor Wangari Maathai, but also for Kenyans in general. She put up a great fight to protect Kenya’s rich and diverse environment. Many times, she was brutally beaten, locked up, and expelled as she fought hard to preserve Kenyans forests and parks. Today, Kenya’s are able to relax in the country’s biggest park known as “Uhuru” (meaning freedom) park that was once being auctioned off by the government.
3. The Seventh Wonder of the World – The Wildebeest Migration
Kenya is one of the most popular tourist destinations. The country receives many tourists annually both local as well as foreign. The main attractions to the region include its well-kept ecosystems, pristine beaches, beautiful and panoramic natural environment, and its hospitality. However, the main attraction is the great wildebeest migration which takes place annually. Millions of gnus (wildebeest), gazelles, and zebra cross the Mara River from Kenya’s Maasai Mara Park to Tanzania’s Serengeti game park. This perilous journey sees many animals die in the crocodile-infested Mara River. On the 17th of November 2006, experts from America’s ABC television channel declared this natural wonder the 7th wonder of the world.
4. King of Athletics
Kenya is known as the country where world beaters reign supreme, especially with regards to long distance running. For many decades, the nation has taken top podium finishes in the Olympics, International Athletics Association Federations (IAAF), the Diamond (previously the golden) league, marathons, and much more. This journey started with Kenya’s first accomplishment in Mexico City in the 1968 Olympic Games. Naftali Temo managed to grab the Gold in the 10,000 meters competition. Since then, Kenya has maintained its supremacy in long-distance athletics.
5. Kenya’s New Constitution
27th August 2010 is viewed as the day that Kenya was reborn. This day saw the promulgation of the new constitution. This feat was accomplished after a lot of struggle from various sectors of the Kenyan people. Many people lost their lives, families were displaced, and many were maimed or locked for fighting for a new constitution. Finally, after a successful referendum vote on the 4th of August 2010, Kenyans overwhelmingly voted for a new constitution that was promulgated on 27th August 2010.
Historical achievements are what make people patriotic to the cause of the nation. It has always been the glue that binds its citizens. Such instances always give the citizens a sense of pride and belonging. This aspect is very crucial especially to a country like Kenya that has 42 ethnic groups. This year, Kenya is going to mark its 50 years of independence. The Jubilee celebrations which will be marked on 12th December will undoubtedly feature in future as one of the most remarkable moments in Kenyan history, consequently adding another milestone to Kenya’s long and rich historical triumphs.