Jamhuri Day – December 12, 2021

Jamhuri Day, also called Independence Day, is one of the most important national holidays in Kenya. Jamhuri Day is observed on December 12 every year, and December 13 is also a day off for most businesses. The day marks the date in 1964 when the country was formally admitted into the Commonwealth as a republic. “Jamhuri” is the Swahili word for Republic. December 12 is also the date when Kenya obtained its independence from Great Britain in 1963. The day is celebrated with many events such as feasts, political speeches, and parades, all of which celebrate the country’s cultural heritage.

History of Jamhuri Day

The first colonists from Europe that made their way to Kenya were German. In 1890, the region came under the control of the Imperial British East Africa Company, and Kenya was part of the British East Africa protectorate till it was recognized as a British colony in 1920. The first direct elections took place in 1957, where the Kenya African National Union was led by Jomo Kenyatta, forming the first government.

Kenya was under British rule since the late 19th century, and the country officially became a British colony in 1920. The colonial administration denied African demands for a greater role in the political process. It wouldn’t be until 1944 that a Kenyan was included in the colony’s legislature. This did not change much, and disputes regarding land and cultural traditions continued. However, the movement against colonial rule grew, culminating in the Mau Mau uprisings in the late 1950s. During these uprisings, the country was plunged into a state of emergency through most of the decade. The Mau Mau uprisings helped Kenya gain some social and economic concessions. The greatest success of these uprisings was African political participation increasing in the early 1960s.

Kenya gained independence on December 12, 1963. A year later, the country became a republic. Jomo Kenyatta was Kenya’s first president. Jamhuri Day is a day of national, cultural, and historical significance in Kenya. Every proud Kenyan celebrates the holiday and remembers their long struggle with freedom. Celebrations of Jamhuri Day include feasts, political speeches, parades, and dancing.

Jamhuri Day timeline

1st Century A.D.
Swahili Trade Period

Kenya begins to establish trading relations with Arabs., which leads to the economic growth of the Swahili states.

1498
Vasco da Gama Visits Kenya

The Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama is honored by the erection of the Vasco da Gama pillar in Malindi.

1956–1960
Mau Mau Defeated

The capture of Dedan Kimathi, their military and spiritual leader, signifies the ultimate defeat of the Mau Mau.

1991
Transition to Multiparty Democracy

Kenya transitions to a multiparty political system after 26 years of single-party rule.

Jamhuri Day FAQs

Where is Kenya located in Africa?

Kenya is a country in Eastern Africa. It lies between Somalia to the northeast and Tanzania to the south. Its other surrounding countries are Ethiopia and South Sudan to the north and Uganda to the west.

How big is Kenya compared to the rest of the world?

At 224,081 sq miles, Kenya is the world’s 48th largest country by total area. With a population of more than 52.2 million people, Kenya is the 27th most populous country. 

How do Kenyans celebrate Jamhuri Day?

The President gives a speech at Nairobi’s Nyayo Stadium, accompanied by government officials and military forces. Independence Day is also marked by cultural festivities celebrating Kenya’s unique cultural identity. Kenya’s flag is hung all over the capital city of Nairobi. Kenyans dress in colorful ‘kikoys’ and ‘kitenges’ and celebrate their country’s freedom. 

How To Celebrate Jamhuri Day

  1. Attend celebrations in your city

    Kenyans in your city are likely to organize Jamhuri Day celebrations with food, music, dancing, and a parade. If you are aware of any such celebrations, you could attend.

  2. Read about Kenya

    Read about Kenya or literature from Kenya on Jamhuri Day. Kenya has quite a few prolific writers who write in English, one of them is Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

  3. Try Kenyan cuisine and fashion

    Ugali and Sukuma Kiwi are staples of Kenyan cuisine. If you have a Kenyan eatery nearby, then this is the perfect day to introduce yourself to Kenyan cuisine. Kenyan clothing is bright and comfortable, and well worth investigating.

5 Facts About Kenya That Will Blow Your Mind

  1. Hunting is illegal in Kenya

    It is a criminal act to hunt any protected animal, such as cheetahs and plovers, in Kenya.

  2. No traffic jams on Lamu Island

    Kenya’s Lamu Island, located off the northeast coast, is car-free.

  3. The country of languages

    There are 68 different languages spoken in Kenya, with the official language being Swahili.

  4. It has the second-highest mountain in Africa

    Mount Kenya is the highest mountain in Kenya and the second-highest in Africa.

  5. It has great women

    Kenyan Wangari Maathai became the first African woman to win a Nobel Peace Prize.

Why We Observe Jamhuri Day

  1. We learn about Kenya

    Jamhuri Day urges us to learn about Kenya. The day reminds us of the cultural, historical, and political significance of the country. It commemorates the struggles and victories are of the Kenyan people.

  2. It’s a day to broaden horizons

    Jamhuri Day is a great day to try something new, especially something Kenyan. Take this day to introduce yourself to Kenyan music, cuisine, or literature.

  3. It marks an important day in history.

    The Mau Mau Rebellion had a great impact on the entire subcontinent and also Britain. It is good to take note of the effect of actions on different regions and hopefully learn from them.

Jamhuri Day dates

YearDateDay
2021December 12Sunday
2022December 12Monday
2023December 12Tuesday
2024December 12Thursday
2025December 12Friday

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