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National Symbols

History and Meaning of the Flag of Kenya

The current Kenya flag was adopted on Independence Day, December 12th 1963. It was based on the flag of KANU (Kenya African National Union), the political party that led Kenya to independence. The original flag of Kenya had three equal stripes of black, red, and green. These colours symbolize:

    Black – The indigenous Kenyan people
    Red – The blood that was shed in the fight for independence
    Green – Kenya’s rich agricultural land and natural resources

The white stripes, the traditional Masai shield, and the two crossed spears were added to the flag of Kenya after Kenya attained independence. The white colour symbolizes peace while the shield and spears signifies that all Kenyans are always ready to defend the independence they fought so hard for.

Coat of arms

The coat of arms of Kenya features two lions, a symbol of protection, holding spears and a traditional East African shield. The shield and spears symbolize unity and defence of freedom.

The shield contains the national flag’s colours. The middle red strip bears a rooster holding an axe, which according to local customs, denotes a new and prosperous life.

The shield and lions stand on a silhouette of Mount Kenya containing in the foreground examples of Kenya agricultural produce – coffee, pyrethrum, sisal, tea, maize and pineapples.

The coat of arms is supported by a scroll upon which is written the word ‘Harambee’. In Swahili, Harambee means “pulling together” or “all for one”. This word is echoed by everyone when a collective effort is made for the common good, such as helping a family in need, or the construction of a school or a church.

National Anthem

Kiswahili English
Ee Mungu nguvu yetu

Ilete baraka kwetu

Haki iwe ngao na mlinzi

Natukae na undugu

Amani na uhuru

Raha tupate na ustawi.

Amkeni ndugu zetu

Tufanye sote bidii

Nasi tujitoe kwa nguvu

Nchi yetu ya Kenya

Tunayoipenda

Tuwe tayari kuilinda

Natujenge taifa letu

Ee, ndio wajibu wetu

Kenya istahili heshima

Tuungane mikono

Pamoja kazini

Kila siku tuwe na shukrani

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 thanks giving

Click on player to play the anthem.

Links for more information:

http://www.kenya-information-guide.com

http://www.kenyarchives.go.ke

http://www.statehousekenya.go.ke/

Permanent link to this article: http://www.kenyaembassyparis.org/about-kenya/national-symbols