On so many occasions, I’ve used The Kenya National Archives for the wrong reasons. If you’ve ever been to Nairobi CBD, you’ve most likely heard of the rendezvous point of all ages; Hapo Archives.
This building is famous for being a beacon of direction for all who got lost in the concrete jungle of Nairobi.
I’m convinced that the structure not only holds the very fabric of our history as a people but also the key to the future.
The Kenya National Archives is a state institution that serves as the repository for our historical and cultural records as a nation. It was established back in 1965 and holds a history that dates further back.
So anyway, as I was strolling through the hallways of our National Archives, I couldn’t help but feel like I was travelling through history. We’ve come a long way as a people, haven’t we?
What to find?
The Kenya National Archives collects and preserves all types of records including government documents, photographs, artifacts, maps, and audiovisual materials. These records thoroughly document our political, economic, social, and cultural history from the pre-colonial period to the present day.
Collections of paintings that were once owned by European settlers for lifetimes now sit here, telling the same story they told. Stories of heritage, discovery, oppression, rebellion, compromise & change.
One of my favourite things to look at when I’m in the archives is a rather simple note written by Kenya’s 2nd president; Daniel Arap Moi.
This note was reportedly found in Mzee Moi’s bible shortly after he passed away and gives great insight into what must have been going through his mind in his final days.
I would tell you what the note says but I would much rather you come find out for yourself. My excuse; no cameras are allowed in the Kenya National Archives.
Another cool thing for me was records and souvenirs of prominent Kenyan leaders like Jomo Kenyatta, Tom Mboya, Jaramogi Oginga, and Dedan Kimathi, just to name a few, and interesting objects they had around them during their time alive.
For instance, the very chair that Jomo Kenyatta sat on during the declaration of Kenya as a sovereign republic, the ammunition shells of weaponry used during the colonial period and the list goes on and on.
These are but a few examples of interesting things to find in the Kenya National Archives. Take a walk through Kenyan history the next time you happen to be in Nairobi, Kenya.