Heroes' Day (Kenya)

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Mashujaa Day
Also called Heroes' Day
Observed by Kenya
Date 20 October
Next time 20 October 2017 (2017-10-20)
Frequency annual

Mashujaa Day, also known as Heroes' Day ("mashujaa" is Swahili for "heroes"), is a national day in Kenya, which is observed on 20 October as a public holiday to collectively honour all those who contributed towards the struggle for Kenya's independence or positively contributed in the post independence Kenya. It was previously known as Kenyatta Day, which was celebrated to commemorate the detention in Kapenguria of freedom fighters Achieng' Oneko, Bildad Kaggia, Fred Kubai, Jomo Kenyatta, Kung'u Karumba and Paul Ngei, often referred to as the Kapenguria Six. However, following the promulgation of the Constitution of Kenya in August 2010, Kenyatta Day was renamed.[1]


  1. ^ Constitution of Kenya (2010)

Kenya marks Mashujaa Day on Tuesday, October 20, in honour of heroes who struggled for independence from colonial rule.

Mashujaa is a Kiswahili word for heroes and the national holiday serves as a reminder of outstanding Kenyan men and women who have positively contributed to the country's history.

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Initially, October 20 was known as Kenyatta Day, a national holiday in honour of the country's first president Jomo Kenyatta.

However, after the promulgation of the constitution in August 2010, it was renamed Mashujaa Day.

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Here are pictures of freedom fighters some of whom were jailed, tortured and killed in the fight against colonialism:

By 1920 all African men leaving their reserves were required by law to carry a pass, or kipande, that recorded a person's name, fingerprint, ethnic group, past employment history, and current employer's signature. Image/Courtesy

Kenyan troops served with distinction in Burma. Once the war was over Kenyans saw their land given to white soldiers from England while they were forced into slums like Kibera. Image/BlackHistoryWalks

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Mau Mau is a term used to describe Kenyans who fought against British rule in the 1950s for land and political freedom. The Mau Mau used a campaign of ritualised oath-taking to gain support. Image/Daily Mail

READ ALSO: Mau Mau Fighters Oppose Move To Have Victims Feted

Members of the Lancashire Fusiliers flush out a Mau Mau suspect from a hut. Image/Daily Mail

Thousands of Mau Mau 'suspected' freedom fighters were rounded up during the fight for independence. Getty Image

READ ALSO: Raila Odinga’s Speech During Launch Of Mau Mau Monument

Colonial authorities used 'divide and rule' to prevent the revolt from spreading. Image/CaefUK

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Freedom Fighter Dedan Kimathi is handed his leopard-gazelle hide regalia after he was arrested. Image/Courtesy

READ ALSO: 8 Facts Why Kenya Is Not Yet Free From British Rule

In April 1953, suspected Mau Mau fighters were marched to Githunguri court. Image/Star

READ ALSO: Mama Ngina: The Story Of A Mothers Resilience

Suspected Mau Mau members in court charged with murder. Image/Daily Mail

A Kenyan Mau Mau freedom fighter Waruhiu Itote stands in the dock in a British colonial court during the 1950s. Image/ITV

Mau Mau fighters in a concentration camp in October 1952. Image/Courtesy

Colonial rulers enlisted Kenyans as soldiers to fight against their own people. Image/WN

Britain announced a £19.9 million (KSh 3.1 billion) settlement in June 2013 for human rights violations during its colonial rule in the East African nation.. Image/CNN

Nubians with Kenya's first president Jomo Kenyatta in Kibera. The Nubians are said to have hid Jomo Kenyatta and other Mau Mau freedom fighters in Kibra (Kibera). Image/NubiansInKenya

READ ALSO: Raila Among Leaders At Mau Mau Monument Unveiling

Kenya's national flag was raised at this point by Maumau fighters after colonial war in 1963. Image/News24

Unveiling of a British-funded memorial to victims of Kenya's Mau Mau rebellion. Image/Reuters