Mashujaa Day in Kenya Honors the National Heroes

Holiday: Mashujaa Day or Heroes’ Day.


When? October 20.


Where? Kenya.


The meaning and history. Mashujaa Day (Mashujaa means “heroes” in Swahili) is a national holiday in Kenya, which honors Kenya's fallen heroes, especially those brave soldiers who fought for the independence of their country from British colonial rule. Pictures of freedom fighters, some of whom were jailed, tortured and killed in the fight against colonialism, can be found here.


Previously 20th October was known as Kenyatta Day in honour of the country’s first president Jomo Kenyatta, but after the promulgation of the Constitution of Kenya in August 2010 it was renamed.


How it is celebrated. “All public holidays in Kenya are celebrated in the same way: with lots of food, fun and laughter”, Rose Sore (33) from Kenya says.


Kenyans really value time with friends and family. Every special occasion is marked with family and friends gathering together and eating some of Kenya's delicacies such as Chapati and Pilau. However, Mashujaa Day is not only a holiday to have fun, but a good opportunity for everyone to think about the price of freedom.


“For me personally this holiday is very important”, Rose explains. “If we hadn't liberated ourselves from colonial rule then I wouldn't be any of the things I am today. It is sad to think of what our ancestors endured for our sake but it also inspires me to live a life worthy of their sacrifice”.


Rose moved to Klagenfurt with her son in September 2015. She is doing an online Master of Science degree in Purchasing and Supply Chain Management. “I really miss Kenya. I miss my family and friends, my fantastic hairdresser, the food, and the warm weather as well. But I don't get tired of saying that Austria is a very beautiful country. The greatest hurdle adjustment-wise has been learning the language but I believe I will get there soon enough”.


Text: Vita Vitrenko