Two hours, two minutes and fifty-seven seconds was all it took for Dennis Kimetto to smash the marathon world record in Berlin this Sunday. The 30 year old athlete beat the previous world record by an impressive 26 seconds, crossing the finish line near Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate with an almost apparent ease. Dennis Kimetto leads a line of fellow athletes who are speeding through both Olympic and Commonwealth competitions, all with one major common factor, their native homeland of Kenya.
Along the equator line, north west of the Indian Ocean lies the Republic of Kenya, a member of the Great Lakes region of East Africa. This hot, humid country houses rich, diverse landscape. With its; forested hills, Lake Victoria the largest tropical lake in the world, the semi-arid deserts of the North East and the cooler capital of Nairobi sheltered by the permanently snow capped peaks of Mount Kenya.
Famous for its safaris and National Parks, Kenya is home to the big five animals of Africa; lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant and rhinoceros. East and West Tsavo National Park and Lake Nakuro are 2 of the main wildlife sanctuaries that house the exotic wildlife that call Kenya home. Tourism in Kenya has flourished through its wildlife parks, with most British and German tourists travelling with a main focus on the countries coastlines and safaris.
Kenya is the final destination for one of the natural wonders of the world, the great wildebeest migration. Two million wildebeest travel from the Serengeti in Tanzania to the Masai Mara in Kenya on their search for food and water. This indescribable sight has been carried out like clockwork for many years.
Well established in the export of tea, coffee and fresh cut flowers, the Kenyan highlands are one of the most successful agricultural production regions in Africa. With the origins of African agriculture stretching as far back as the first millennia. Kenya has had inhabitants since the recording of human history. After the hunter-gatherers roamed the plains, the Cushitic speakers from the horn of Africa and the Bantu migration from West Africa, introduced new agriculture and iron working to the region.
The blending of Arab settlers and Bantu aborigines helped to establish the new expanding cities such as: Mombassa, Malindi and Zanzibar. The Islamic faith was introduced, with Arabian influences falling heavily on the Bantu Swahili culture and its language. In 1888 Kenya saw the arrival of the Imperial British East Africa Company, a rule they gained independence from in December 1963 with the installation of Jomo Kenyatta by the Kenya African National Union.
Today, there are 42 different communities in this diverse and ethno racial nation. With tribalism still a major aspect in Kenya, regional accents and tribal stereotypes are used as amusement and recognition and deemed inoffensive. Within the 42 communities of Kenya, there are 69 languages spoken, falling into two broad family groups; the Niger-Congo, Bantu group and the Nilo-Saharan, Niloctic group.
Although English and Swahili are the official language, regional and tribal language is upheld to maintain the history and culture of their people. Many of these tribes and communities are easily recognised to the rest of the world from their upper body adornments and jewellery.
Kenya may be home to beautiful landscapes and rare, exotic wildlife, however it is the people and their culture that sets this country apart. The native Swahili and Bantu history and culture is tethered to this land. The land whose people understand the definition of hard work and dedication and show that in the world record breaking achievements they leave in their wake.
How important is patriotism when representing one’s country?