Following a digitization process coordinated by the ICT Authority of Kenya, more than 500,000 historical images from The Kenya News Agency (KNA) are now available through a public portal, dubbed 'Urithi'.

The portal was launched on October 17, along with a series of exhibitions that will run through to December in Machakos, Mombasa, Kisumu, Nakuru, Maralal, Kiambu and Nairobi. These towns have a historical significance, and the photos selected showcase some of this history.

Urithi becomes the first public portal in Kenya dedicated to historical images, videos and documents. The images are housed in the Kenya National Archives, and the scanning process was coordinated by the ICT Authority, along with the Department of Information under the Ministry of ICT.

The photos are from the Kenya News Agency, which was established in 1963 to succeed the Kenya Information Service (KIS), set up in 1939 to disseminate information on World War II. After the war, it served as an information and propaganda unit for the colonial British government from 1945 to 1963.

Audio and video content on the platform were sourced from the archives of the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation, which was previously known as the Voice of Kenya from 1964 to 1989.

Kenya News Agency (KNA) holds more than 500 thousand copies of images and audio clips that are now being digitized. The photo library collection dates back to 1936 and documents Kenyan life through the decades.ICT Authority of Kenya

Accessing the Images

The Urithi portal's historical multimedia content spans the length of Kenya’s history from the establishment of the Kenya Colony in 1920 to independence in 1963 and on to the present day. By putting this content online, the portal acts as a link to Kenya's past, giving enthusiasts a chance to dive into a series of moments, both ordinary and extraordinary, in the country's history.

Every asset in the library has been categorized by subject, with the main categories being Politics, Personalities, Religion, Health, Environment, Culture, Agriculture, Sports, Creative Industries, Commerce, Transport, Towns and Cities, Energy, Mining, Housing, Security, and Tourism.

Through Urithi, one can create an album from selected images, and buy copies of the content, as the portal doubles as an e-commerce site.


The digitization project is part of the Ministry of ICT's Strategic Plan, which calls for the creation of content, digitization and easy access to public information, leveraging on KNA's large database to provide quality content for Kenyans looking for historical information.

Cover Image: Photos awaiting caregorization and digitization at the Kenya National Archives. Source: Kenya News Agency/ICT Authority of Kenya

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