When Kenyans stand at attention during the Olympics, right next to their radio or TV stations, there is a certain sense of pride. When we sing, this pride is forgotten and our hearts sing out in a sense of prayer that goes beyond national pride. This is because of the nature of our anthem, which according to most Kenyans, is the most beautiful anthem on the planet. Subjective, but still the popular opinion.
I remember singing the anthem every Friday during parade from nursery school through to high school. The question now is whether most of us really know the true origin of the Kenyan national anthem.
After independence, a panel of 5 men were chosen to come up with the new republic’s symbol of unity. Funny thing is that no one knows the designers who came up with our flag but for the anthem there is knowledge. The members of the team included; George Zenoga Zake, Washington Omondi, Graham Hyslop, Peter Kibukosya and Thomas Kalume.
Now, the brilliance of our anthem and why it doesn’t sound so ‘forced’ is because the tune picked was that of a traditional song, a Pokomo lullaby. This continuity is what makes its tune melodious, rich and authentic.
The Kibukosyas went on to rule Kenyan airwaves, producing the first crop of popular musicians back in the ‘80s and ‘90s. The family still has a chokehold and Ulopa Ngoma is carrying the family flag with his catchy hitmaking tunes having worked with Kleptomaniacs and having produced Sautisol’s latest single, Still the One among others.
The Kenyan National Anthem in both Kiswahili and English is below:
Ee Mungu nguvu yetu——————O God of all creation
Ilete baraka kwetu———————–Bless this our land and nation
Haki iwe ngao na mlinzi—————Justice be our shield and defender
Natukae kwa Undugu——————-May we dwell in unity
Amani na uhuru—————————Peace and liberty
Raha tupate na ustawi.—————–Plenty be found within our borders.
Amkeni ndugu zetu———————-Let one and all arise
Tufanye sote bidii————————-With hearts both strong and true
Nasi tujitoe kwa nguvu——————Service be our earnest endeavour
Nchi yetu ya Kenya———————-And our homeland of Kenya
Tunayoipenda—————————-–Heritage of splendour
Tuwe tayari kuilinda———————-Firm may we stand to defend.
Natujenge taifa letu———————–Let all with one accord
Ee, ndio wajibu wetu———————In common bond united
Kenya istahili heshima——————Build this our nation together
Tuungane mikono————————-And the glory of Kenya
Pamoja kazini——————————The fruit of our labour
Kila siku tuwe na shukrani————-Fill every heart with thanksgiving.