Madaraka Madness

4 June 2019 | Inside Angama |

Reading Time: 5 MINUTES

What do hamburgers, paperclips, dinosaurs, umbrellas and garbage bins have in common? Read on and you will discover that they all joined in to celebrate Madaraka Day

Each year on 1 June, Kenyans celebrate Madaraka Day commemorating the day in 1963 that Kenya attained independent self-governance after decades as a British colony. Madaraka is a Swahili word for ‘power, freedom or independence’. On 1 June 1963, Kenya became a self-governing country with Jomo Kenyatta as its first prime minister. Full independence from British rule followed on 12 December 1964, when Kenya became an independent nation.

On this great day, Kenyans gather in their thousands at the venue that has been selected for each year’s official event. Military parades, singing and dancing are followed by the Madaraka Day speech given by the President. And this year, the county in which Angama Mara falls, Narok County, was the host. And coming full circle, Uhuru Kenyatta delivered the presidential address.

Not to be left out of the celebrations, we decided to join in the fun with a Madaraka Challenge. Every staff member was challenged to create an image using the colours of the Kenyan flag: black, white, red, white and green. And the results were astonishing. First out of the starting blocks was Adam’s Mara Triangle map followed closely by Mike’s tower of crates and Margaret, Queen of the Laundry, with her staff uniforms.


Paperclips, zebras, beads from the Beading Studio, guest condiments, the Kenyan flag made out of shoes, pegs, bits and bobs and Angama’s peak rolled in.

Zebra beads

madaraka 3

Corridon, our baking maestro and resident artist, pencilled a drawing of Nicky being watched over by Steve whose spirit animal must have been a lion. Not to be outdone, Cyrus re-engineered our monogram in two ways.

madaraka 4

The Jozi babes, four young Kenyans, Perrin and Lulu were not to be left out of the merry fray.

Madaraka 5

madaraka 6

Douggy made us all cry with his beautiful tribute to Steve.

Madaraka 7

Team Jozi went all out with dinosaurs (and a photobombing hippo), stationery and a weird composition of Crocs, Swarovskis and a red mat, of all things.

And Team Nairobi nearly stole the show with their fabulous and chic umbrella compositions.

But that wasn’t the half of it. Alex, our EcoBrick champion of champions, stuffed plastic bottles (scourge of the planet) with the colours of the Kenyan flag, Chef Evans flipped a burger in the national colours, Ibrahim raided the guest library and Mary the Safari Shop.

eco and burger

madaraka 10

Dan found inspiration in the Shamba, Kina in the bakery, Moses in the garden and Chef Collins lined up his favourite ingredients.

madaraka 11

madaraka 12

There were heaps more but only one winner: Chef Johnny Lotaba took gold with his composition of chefs and bins which made us all laugh. What will the next Angama challenge bring? This crazy team is sure to think up something.

Madaraka winner

Happy (belated) Madaraka Day.

AUTHOR: Nicky Fitzgerald

After more than 30 years in hospitality, starting with a small hotel at the foot of Africa and followed by a further couple of Cape hotels, most notably The Bay, and sixty plus safari lodges across Africa and India, Nicky has served more meals, puffed more cushions, filled more beds, trained more staff and opened more properties than she cares to remember. Nicky retired as Angama's CEO in July of 2022 and remains an advisor and delightfully opinionated member of the Board.

Bob Keyser
June 4, 2019

It is wonderful to see Angama Mara being such a vibrant part of the “community”!

Nicky Fitzgerald
June 5, 2019

Thanks so much Bob – we had such fun doing this

June 10, 2019

What a great idea! It had me laughing out loud.
Corridon’s portrait should be hanging in the Louvre. I’ll talk to my people and see what we can arrange.

Stanley Kosgey
July 11, 2019

Hello Nicky,
Good work with the team there, keep up!! I always enjoy your blogs, am your avid follower.
Correction though, Full Independence was in 12th Dec. 1964 not 1963.
I look forward to the next read.

    Nicky Fitzgerald
    July 11, 2019

    Hi Stanley
    Thank you so much for your kind comments about Angama and our blog. I am delighted you are an avid follower and thank you so much for spotting the typo. My mistake I am ashamed to say!
    Please don’t stop keeping an eye on our blog for any further inaccuracies – much appreciated by us all.
    Warmest thanks

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