The Kenyan flag is a horizontal tricolor of black, white-edged red, and green. The flag also consists of two white crossed spears behind a Maasai shield which consist of the black, red, and white colors. The black, red, and green strips are of the same size while the white edges of the red color are about six times smaller than the red stripe. The flag is in the proportion of 2:3. The Kenyan flag, commonly referred to as “Bendera ya Kenya” in the Swahili language, was officially adopted on December 12, 1963, when the country became gained independence.

The Kenyan flag is symbolic to the people and is considered as one of the symbols of unity. The colors on the flag not only symbolize the past struggles but also the future endeavors. The black color on top of the flag represents the people of Kenya while the red color represents the struggle and the blood that was shed during the struggle for independence. The green color at the bottom represents the country’s landscape and the abundant natural resources and the white fabrication represents the peace and honesty of the Kenyan people. The Maasai shield and two spears represent the readiness of the country to defend the things mentioned above.

The flag of Kenya is based on the black-red-green flag of the Kenya Africa National Union (KANU). KANU was the country’s political party that led the fight against the colonialists, leading to the country’s independence. After independence, KANU wanted its flag to be the national flag but some of the party and national leaders like Tom Mboya considered it too risky to use the party flag as the national flag. Therefore, the party leaders crafted a flag that looked almost similar to the party flag with a white fabrication and a shield added to the black-red-green flag.

Prior to colonization, Kenya had no official flag. Instead, different communities used different banners and signs, especially places and practices for identification. Between 1893 and 1920, the British East Africa Company hoisted mainly the Union flag with red borders. Upon colonizing, the British hoisted the British Blue Ensign with the emblem of Kenya on it. The flag which was in use from 1921 was replaced by the current flag of Kenya. The current flag has several variants used as presidential standard and Defense Forces flag.

This page was last modified on May 1st, 2018

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