Jomo Kenyatta is considered the father of Kenya’s independence movement. Kenyatta represented Kenya in multiple negotiations with the British over 30 years.
After World War II he formed a new political party, the Kenyan African Union, with a goal of an independent Kenya.
Despite the violent Mau Mau rebellion in the 1950’s, Kenyatta wanted a peaceful transfer of power. After independence Kenyatta adopted policies to ensure a stable nation.
The following is the speech delivered by Mzee Jomo Kenyatta on December 12th, 1963 ! – so that we never forget why we celebrate Jamuhuri Day.
“December the 12th, 1963! This is the happiest, the most wonderful day in my life, the day our beloved Kenya becomes free.
It is a day which can come only once in a lifetime – the day when a lifetime’s effort is suddenly fulfilled.
For a moment it is hard to believe that it is true. For this day has been won with such long effort, such sacrifices, such sufferings…
Now at last we are all free, masters in our own land, masters of our destiny…FREE!
What shall be my message to readers of PAN AFRICA?
First: Enjoy yourselves! Be happy! Breathe deeply this sweet, pure air of freedom! This freedom is your’s – your’s for the rest of your lives, to pass on to your children and your children’s children. Freedom!The most glorious blessing of mankind.
Let us share together this great day of joy.
Today our national flag, the flag of free independent Kenya, flies proudly, gaily in every corner of our land.
Today we may stand in reverence to the music of our own national anthem.
These are the symbols of our hard-won rights. Treat them with respect, Honour them.
The second part of my message is this.
Treat this day with joy. Treat it also with reverence. For this is the day for which our martyrs died. Let us stand in silence and remember all those who suffered that our land might be free, but did not live to see its fulfilment. Let us remember their great faith, their abiding knowledge that the victory would be won.
We are like birds which have escaped from a cage. Our wings have cramped. For a while we must struggle to fly and regain our birthright for the free air.
We shall make our mistakes, But these will be only like the temporary flutterings of the escaped bird. Soon our wings will be strong and we shall soar to greater and greater heights.
This freedom has not come easily. Nor must we expect the fruits of freedom to come easily.
This nation – Kenya – will be as great as its people make it. So I ask you to make this day of freedom a day of dedication.
I ask you to dedicate yourselves to the memory of those who have gone before us and to those who must follow us. I ask you to resolve to put aside all selfish desires and to strain every ounce of muscle and brain to building a nation which shall honour our dead, inspire our living and prove a proud heritage for those who are yet to come.
In the name of all these – HARAMBEE!!