Hope y’all are enjoying Madaraka Day, the day we got to have internal self rule. The Nyakerū had started to feel the ultimate heat of a determined people and were about to fully surrender. What I remember most about Madaraka Day was access to the radio the whole day. Back then there wasn’t electricity and the radios were powered by what I came to know later as alkaline batteries in my form 2 physics class. Imagine the shock when I heard that alkaline batteries are not recharged yet we used to place them on hot ash and on placing them in the radio it would work.
As a result of scarcity of kakitu to buy batteries the radio listening was mostly done in the mornings and at night. What was exciting about it was that since there was no school we wouldn’t hear Habel Kifoto’s, ‘uvivu ni adui mkubwa Kwa ujenzi wa taifa, kwani ndicho kiini hasa kisababishacho njaa.’ At least as Ken Walibora wrote that siku njema hupatikana asubuhi, it was a sure good day for us. We’d listen to the radio as Baba Moi enjoyed his gwarides at Nyayo National stadium. Even though there was no visual element, the commentators were so good at it. ‘Mtukufu Rais kinachopita mbele yako ni kikosi cha jeshi la wanamaji…’ Then Baba Moi would take the podium and ramble on and on eventually concluding with, ‘na hayo yote ni maendeleo.’ By then it’d already be 1:00 which meant newstime. Then idhaa ya taifa would play, ‘ooh KANU yajenga nchi’ otherwise known as gacengeci, followed by the three beeps symbolising the hour. Ting, ting, tiiiiiing. That last one though was eardrums splitting. The news anchor would be like, ‘na hii ni taarifa ya habari ikiletwa kwako na …..News would be just a repeat of what transpired in the stadium. Afterwards the real patriotic songs such as: ‘Wataka kunyamba Kenya we utuharibie hewa
Harufu yako twaijua hata ukipanda ndege.Ewe Kenya nchi yangu, ewe Kenya baba yangu
Ewe Kenya mama yangu oh, sitakuwacha milele.’
For your info radios were running on MW,SW and AM frequencies resulting in too much static but we still appreciated. Also no Chapattis, these were purely a Christmas deli.