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…And I mean really sing it with your whole being as if you got just one shot to get into Kenya’s Got Talent?

…As if you knew each and every word in both English and Swahili (all three verses inclusive)?

…And for a minute, it is as if you were transported back to 12 December 1963  when it was first sung as our beautiful flag was being hoisted?

(cue radio silence)

I thought so.

If it’s any consolation,  I also can’t remember.

Maybe it’s because we sang it so much in primary and secondary school that it sounds drab.

But the words of this beautiful prayer, take us back to our roots and Kenya’s raison d’être.

Watching the news reports on the fresh Mpeketoni attacks brought to mind the atrocities of 2007/8.  I could not help but wonder whether we truly know what is at stake. Peace. Freedom. Love. Prosperity. (Fill in your blank)

Kenyans are known for four five things: hustling, resilience, great hospitality (read: nyama choma, Maasai Mara, Hakuna Matata!) and winning marathons (we are still working on our football…ahem).  Obviously, I  could not fail to mention that the former US President Barack Obama has his roots in this country. We have been through a lot over the last decade: 1998 bombings, 2007/8 PEV, Westgate attacks, sporadic bombings in major cities, the list could go on and on.  Unfortunately, we seem to remember our “Kenyans”   during times of national disaster.

As ordinary wananchi, we should remember that terrorism is first and foremost, a psychological war. Ethnic profiling and stereotypes have gotten not only Kenyans into this mess but also other nations into troubles of their own. We should appreciate our uniqueness and try as much as possible to live in harmony. If you truly must dislike someone, focus on the content of their character and not where they hail from.

Our leaders (especially those who are lashing out accusations)  need to subdue their egos and think about the big picture. They need to focus on protecting every individual within our borders and not satisfying their self-interests and wielding their political power. They need to go back to the drawing board and assess our blind spots. They need to focus on equipping the men on the ground with the necessary resources… and I just do not mean machine guns.

Above all else,  remember  We are one.

One thought on “When was the last time you sang the Kenya National Anthem ?

  1. I was saddened to hear about the terrifying attacks in Mpeketoni last weekend. It feels to me as if it is another part of ‘bigger international politics’ going on in Kenya and many other African countries. I have been reading only recently about agro-economic plans that have been dubbed the New Scramble for Africa by organisations seeking to support the many people who stand to lose out, where huge international corporations are seeking to industrialise agriculture. This does not sound to me like a good plan for Kenya or the other countries involved.

    We are seeing so many examples across the whole world, including here in the UK, of groups being turned against each other in our societies. I feel we should focus more on looking out for each other and looking after our one and only planet. I certainly agree, Lilian, when you say “we are one” – I believe people working together really can achieve so much.


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