Celebrating April Fools’ Day the Kenyan Way

Fredrick Ngugi April 01, 2016
A lion roaming in the streets of Nairobi after it escaped from a nearby game park.

April 1st is the only time of the year when you are allowed to pull the nastiest and funniest pranks on your family, friends and colleagues. It’s a day that requires you to exercise your brainpower a lot more than you normally would or else you become the fool of the year. And like you would expect, Kenyans are quite upbeat about April Fools’ Day, playing all manner of hoaxes. Woe unto you if you are not too good with dates.


Question is: Why specifically April 1st, and not any other day? Many have tried to make sense of it all but no definitive answer has been found yet. Many if not all Kenyans partake in this comical affair not knowing its exact origin or the logic behind it. Even more interesting is the fact that big organizations including media houses join in this trickery rite of playing on the gullible.

A widely accepted theory of how April Fools’ Day came to be has to do with the European evolution from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian. This theory claims that in the early 1563, Pope Gregory XIII declared that all Christian countries should adopt a new, standardized calendar, which moved the New Year’s Day from April 1 to January 1.

It was not easy to explain this transition to unlearned villagers, especially after France transitioned into the new calendar in the year 1582. So natives who continued to observe the New Year’s Day on April 1 were targeted with funny jokes and tricks, which gave rise to April Fools’ Day. For most Kenyans, the nitty-gritty of the origin and meaning of the fools’ day doesn’t really matter. They just want to enjoy the pleasure of telling a convincing lie.

Most Hilarious Kenyan April Fools’ Day Pranks

As always, Kenyans never run out of hilarious jokes and tricks. Here are just some of the most entertaining pranks of the day by Kenyan mainstream media:

  • The Star published a story claiming that the US Republican Presidential aspirant and real estate mogul Donald Trump will be coming to Kenya to pay tribute to the slain lion that was shot dead by Kenyan Wildlife Services officers on Wednesday, 30 March this year.
  • The Capital News website reported that some lions had been spotted roaming freely in Nairobi’s Central Business District after they were dropped off by a van. The story went viral on social media with Kenyans sharing fake photos of lions in the streets of Nairobi.
  • Larry Madowo, a top Kenyan journalist with the Nation Media Group claimed on his social media accounts that he had been fired. Some of his gullible fans were enraged by the story only to later realize that it was a hoax.

Last Edited by:Deidre Gantt Updated: April 1, 2016


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