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Kenya Approaches 53 years of ‘Independence’ – 10 Things You Might not Know about this East African Powerhouse

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KENYA INDEPENDENCE

#9:. President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya was the first sitting head of state to appear at the International Criminal Court: He went before the court in The Hague on October 8 to deny inciting post-election violence in 2008. The charges against him were dropped on December 5th when ICC prosecutors announced that they had still not obtained enough evidence to prove his criminal responsibility beyond reasonable doubt.

#10:. More renowned, Kenya is famous for it’s world-beating marathon and long-distance runners, but the details of their domination are fascinating: Kenyans hold the Boston marathon record for men and women, have won virtually every single marathon at least once and have claimed two of the top three places in steeplechase in the IAAF World Championships (held every two years) since 1991, with the exception of 2003 where only one Kenyan made the podium.

At the 2008 Olympics in Beijing Kenya particularly stood out, taking away 6 gold, 4 silver and 4 bronze medals. The late Sammy Wanjiru became the first Kenyan to win the Olympic marathon in an Olympic record time of 2:06:32.

In the 2011 World championships Kenyan women runners took the limelight, occupying the top four positions in the marathon and the 10,000m and the top two positions in the 5000m. The most notable performance was that of Vivian Cheruiyot who won both the 5000m and the 10,000m.

Bonus point: The Kenyan musical group, the Moipei Quartet, recently the became first non-Americans to sing the American anthem before the NBA playoffs match between San Antonio Spurs and Los Angeles Clippers in Texas. As an all-girls group, producing high art, in several ways they represent  one of the most important faces in both the shifting gender politics and the place of youth in cultural creation in modern Kenya and Africa.

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