A Family’s Day Out This Madaraka Day
Are we losing touch with our history as Kenyans? Certainly, kids nowadays of the so-called Generation Z probably know more about pop culture franchises such as Marvel’s The Avengers or Candy Crush than they do the history of their own country. Try and pull a kid away from whatever screen his or her face is hunched over and ask them about the 1st of June. Chances are you will be met by a blank expression on said faces. Perhaps, the fault lies with the parents. With the increasing disillusion many Kenyans feel courtesy of a less than efficient government and hard economic times, it can be hard to foster enough patriotism to even bother enlightening the kids on the country’s history. Just leave it to school and teachers I guess.
However, in the spirit of Madaraka Day, here are three activities to undertake as a family that will surely educate the kids and bring back that sense of patriotism.
Visit Nairobi National Museum
The Nairobi National Museum is perhaps the most underrated attraction in the country. Sure the game parks here are decent and the beach resorts are right up there with the best in the world. However, when it comes to history and culture the Nairobi National Museum is equally in a class of its own.
In the courtyard, the historical journey starts with the fiberglass model of Ahmed, the elephant that became the symbol of Kenya’s anti-poaching campaign in the ‘80s. The doors of the museum open up to a plethora of artistic, cultural, and historical artifacts such as the map of Kenya made out of our country’s butterflies. Of particular interest on a Madaraka Day family outing is the Historia Ya Kenya showcase. The showcase highlights Kenya and East Africa’s history told from our perspective and not that of the colonialist. Further still, history morphs into prehistory with the Cradle of Humankind exhibition. That and also the various stuffed animals and birds on display make for an immersive journey of Kenya’s history and heritage.
In short, the Nairobi National Museum on Museum Hill should be part of your Madaraka Day itinerary both for its informative and entertainment value. Did we mention there is a snake park adjacent to the museum?
Kenya National Archives
Archives as most Kenyans call it is not just that place you pick your relatives from up country. Being such a landmark building in the capital it is the go-to meet up point when one is a little unfamiliar with the city. Everyone knows it but very few have actually gone inside. The Kenya National Archives and Documentation Services (KNADS) building has two floors of history. The ground floor is named the Murumbi Gallery after the second vice president of the Republic of Kenya.
Noteworthy is that Joseph Murumbi and his wife sold their art collection to the Government of Kenya. The collection went on display at the Archives. It is considered the largest Pan-African art gallery in Africa. The collection features traditional crafts and artifacts used by various cultures across Africa.
The first floor is a collection of photographs that tell Kenya’s story right from the struggle of independence to modern-day Kenya. The building is a summary of all the Kenyan history kids learn in their 12 years of primary and secondary school.
Nairobi National Park
While Madaraka Day is more about remembering the day Kenya gained independence, it should also be about celebrating the freedom we gained. What better way to do so than a fun family safari in arguably the world’s most unique game park. Nairobi National Park is not only famous for its array of wildlife but for the fact that it is so close to a major city. So close it is inexcusable that quite a number of Nairobi residents have never visited the park.
Its close proximity to the city does not make the park any less wild. From 4 of the Big Five to warthogs, gazelles, giraffes, and so much more. All this with a backdrop of skyscrapers on the horizon. Visiting Nairobi National Park is a surreal experience.
With that being said we take this early opportunity to wish you all a Happy Madaraka Day!