A fortnight after Europe marked the 100th anniversary of the armistice that brought World War One to a close, Africa is holding its own ceremonies this weekend. Andrew Harding looks at the reason behind the delay.
“This was no side show. It was an important part of the world war, and the longest campaign of that war,” declared James Willson, a Kenyan historian attending a small ceremony at the neatly tended Commonwealth War Cemetery in the rural town of Voi.
A Kenyan army bugler played the last post as British and German diplomats looked on. A Kenyan general and small group of local and international visitors laid wreaths.
This was the start of a weekend of ceremonies and tours.
A few dozen curious passers-by peered over the hedge, many unaware of the centenary in a country that has largely turned its back on events that must once have touched every family in the region.
“I don’t think we have been recognised, as other soldiers have,” said Willie Mwadilo, a local hotelier and tour guide.
“If you go to the war graves you’ll find German soldiers – born this year, died this year – but as for the locals……