National anthem of Kenya

When I was a boy, perhaps even now, the cinemas in Kenya would play the national anthem before the movie started. Everyone would stand up in the cinema while a scratchy video of the Kenyan flag fluttering in the breeze would play along with a marching band rendition of the anthem. Quaint military style and post-colonial nationalism, followed by Star Wars.

The words are as follows (English translation is below the Swahili version):

Ee Mungu nguvu yetu 
Ilete baraka kwetu. 
Haki iwe ngao na mlinzi 
Natukae na undugu 
Amani na uhuru 
Raha tupate na ustawi

Amkeni ndugu zetu 
Tufanye sote bidii 
Nasi tujitoe kwa nguvu 
Nchi yetu ya Kenya, 
Tuwe tayari kuilinda.

Natujenge taifa letu 
Ee, ndio wajibu wetu 
Kenya istahili heshima 
Tuungane mikono 
Pamoja kazini 
Kila siku tuwe na shukrani.

O God of all creation
Bless this our land and nation.
Justice be our shield and defender
May we dwell in unity
Peace and liberty
Plenty be found within our borders.

Let one and all arise
With hearts both strong and true.
Service be our earnest endeavour,
And our Homeland of Kenya
Heritage of splendour,
Firm may we stand to defend.

Let all with one accord
In common bond united,
Build this our nation together
And the glory of Kenya
The fruit of our labour
Fill every heart with thanksgiving

In the cinema and throughout childhood, we would only ever sing the first verse. It’s a fairly good tune compared to some anthems out there, and I really hope the cinema tradition still stands, but somehow i doubt it.

Right now Kenya faces the prospect of biblical scale locust plagues and a pandemic. Spare a thought for the beautiful place.

Keep well and be safe. Happy Easter Sunday chimps.