Who is the boy? Click the photo to enlarge
---------------------------------------------Courtsey Odhiambo Levin Opiyo
Exactly 54 years ago, a crowd of 250,000 people including guests, gathered at Uhuru Gardens, Langata to witness Kenya's new flag being hoisted to the accompaniment of the Kenya National Anthem at midnight.
The trek to the newly constructed arena started after lunch. Three hours before the ceremony, Nairobi experienced its biggest traffic jam with hundreds of cars and lorries jamming Langata road up to six miles.
The Duke of Edinburgh and Jomo Kenyatta were delayed for almost half an hour after their cars became stuck in the mud.
At exactly 8.00 pm, some 1,200 African dancers in their colourful costumes of feathers, skins, rings and bangles arrived in the arena simultaneously and put on a display of traditional songs and dances. Among the dancing groups were Giriama, Kikuyu Kamba, Samburu, Luo, Nandi, Embu, Kipsigis, Kisii, Digo, Baluhya, Kisii , Kuria, Pokot, Taita, Turkana, and Masai. There were also Asian dancers and Arabs.
This was followed by the pomp and ceremony of military music from the massed bands. The bands were comprised of 300 musicians from Kenya, Tanzanian Army , Uganda Army as well as from British Regiment.
At the head of the bands were African and British drum majors, directed by the Bandmaster of the 1st Battalion Staffordshire Regiment, Warrant Officer 1 Roy Hunt.
The bands marched into the Arena playing the "Great Little Army" before executing a quick march movement to "San Lorenzo" by Silva.
A specially arranged festival march "Father Rhine" by Linke with a fanfare of trumpets, provided one of the highlights of the programme.
One of the most impressive movement was the slow march to the tune of "Imperial Echoes" by Safroni. For the finale the bands swung into quick march with Alford's "voice of the gun."
After an impressive display of marching and counter marching, the bands marched off at around 11:10 pm, to the signature tune of the Kings African Rifles "Tufunge Safari."
With less than hour before Uhuru, the most symbolic event of the evening began. Six ceremonial guards consisting of 300 soldiers marched into the Arena. Three were dressed into the old uniform of the 11th 5th and 3rd batallions of Kings African Rifles, British Army . The other three representing the same battalions of the new Kenya Rifles were dressed in the new ceremonial uniforms.
After the playing of "God Bless the Queen" as the Duke of Edinburgh took the Royal salute, the guards faced each other in front of the Royal box where the Duke and Mzee Jomo kenyatta were seated, before the colours were handed over from the 11th 3rd and 5th Batallions of Kings African Rifles British Army to the Kenya Rifles.
Immediately after the handover , the 11th 3rd and 5th Battalions of Kings African Rifles British Army, became 11th 3rd and 5th Battalions Kenya Rifles, Kenya Army.
Then slowly and solemnly the colours were trooped through the ranks of Kings African Rifles as the soldiers stood to attention. The trooping was symbolic of the Kings African Rifles farewell to East Africa and the birth of a new Kenya Army.
After marching while the Duke took the salute, the parade formed up facing the two flagpoles at the end of the arena.
Following this, prayers of dedication and thanks giving were then offered to the new nation and, with still 4 minutes to go before midnight, the Governor Mr McDonald and the Prime Minister Mzee Jomo Kenyatta walked into the middle of floodlit arena.
The much awaited time had arrived
A tense expectant crowd heard the commander order " present arms" and the tune of "God bless the Queen" was played.
The Union Jack was lowered as the wives of white settlers wept. It reached the ground only seconds before midnight, marking the end of British rule in Kenya.
Moments later the Kenya National Anthem was played in public for the first time, and a spotlight lit up the new Kenya flag as it was being hoisted above the stadium.
At the stroke of midnight and heralded by a salvo of high altitude explosives, Kenya became the 34 African country to be freed from colonial rule, and was soon to be admitted as the 113th member of the United Nations.
Never before had the people of Kenya witnessed such a magnificent display of fireworks.
Designed by Brock's of England the fireworks featured, sheels and explosions releasing liquid jewels, fiery hornets, screeching parakeets, and flights of brilliant "birds of paradise." " The Glory of Kenya" was depicted by three huge shells, and the flag of Kenya was carried out in lines of coloured fire.
In a wave of freedom that was sweeping across Africa, a new nation and a new independent member of commonwealth was born.