The Republic of Kenya lies in the eastern part of Africa. It is famed for its scenic landscapes and vast wildlife reserves. The country, which is a former British colony, gained independence in 1963 under the pioneer political party KANU (Kenya African National Union). KANU successively ruled as the sole political party in Kenyan for forty years until their defeat in 2002. The nation is identified by its national flag that was inspired by the Pan-African flag adopted in 1920 by the African Communities and League Universal Negro Improvement Association. The national flag of Kenya was adopted December 12, 1963, when it gained independence. Its design has been used by other African countries including Southern Sudan and Malawi.
History of the Kenyan flag
The Kenyan flag (Bendera ya Kenya) is a tricolor of black, red, and green with two white fimbriations. Superimposed at the center is a red, black, and white traditional Maasai shield and two crossed spears. The flag was adopted from KANU's flag that had three horizontal rectangular design of black, red, and green respectively. In the middle, there was an emblem of a white cockerel symbolizing the dawn of a new day. After independence, KANU wanted to use their flag as the national flag but Thomas Joseph Mboya, the Justice and Constitutional Affairs minister at the time proposed for a different design that incorporated two white fimbriations, the traditional Maasai shield, and the two crossed spears to replace the cockerel. The current flag was designed with a proportion scale of 2:3.
Meaning and Symbolism
The tricolors of the Kenyan flag are designed in bright and vibrant shades that give it its meaning. The flag is a symbol of national unity and pride of the Kenyan people. The black color, which appears at the top, represents the people of the Republic of Kenya. Post-office red in the middle represents the sacrifices and bloody price for freedom from British colonialist, while the green color at the bottom stands for the fertility of the lands and richness in natural wealth. It represents agriculture and national reserves, which form the backbone of the country’s economy.
Bordering the red horizontal stripe are thin parallel white stripes at the top and bottom. The white stripes incorporated in the flag represent peace, honesty, and unity of Kenya. In the middle of the flag is a shield with two crossed spears on it. The shield is red in color with black flanks, 4-white charges, and a white disc in the middle. They are a representation of the traditional Maasai war items that stand for the enthusiasm and readiness to defend the country.
As a symbol of authority, the Kenyan flag is incorporated in the Military flag of the Armed forces, Kenya Airforce, and the Kenya Navy Ensign. It is usually placed at the top left-hand corner of the flags. There are various variants of the flag based on its executive use. Each of the four presidents has had a unique design of the national flag to represent their Presidential Standard.
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