This tweet might have appeared on your timeline recently. It shows a satellite view of Kenyatta National Hospital, with claims that the hospital’s architectural design resembles that of a Swastika symbol.
The Swastika symbol was a long used sign by ancient societies. It has two designs; the left-facing and the right-facing. The latter is what’s commonly referred to as the swastika, the former, Sauwastika.
Before the 20th century, this symbol was associated with good fortune. However, the representation of this symbol in this context is associated with the Nazi party. This symbol dates back to the 19th century and was associated with good fortune. It is derived from; ‘sanskrit’ a classical dialect from South Asia to mean, ‘to be good’. In 1925, Coca-Cola used this symbol as a sales slogan. The US army equally adopted this sign in its biplane of pre-war products.
This symbol was benignly used as an architectural and brand design. However this changed when pro-Nazis rose to power. In 1933, the Swastika symbol was adopted as the co-national flag of Germany, designed by Adolf Hitler.
The design of Kenyatta National Hospital’s satellite view matches those shared by this tweet. Infact, the hospital’s servants’ quarters, just opposite the nurse’s eatery, have the swastika symbol. Two of these blocks have one design of this symbol facing the left and the other two, facing the right.
In the contemporary world however, this symbol is synonymous to the far-right. It is associated with the violence and genocide experienced under Hitler’s regime. Publicly displaying this flag is subject to legal restrictions in a number of countries.
However, the display of the Swastika symbol is acceptable in jurisdictions where this flag is prohibited. In Germany, illegally displaying Nazi symbols is punishable by law with a 3-year jail term. However this law exempts artistic display of this symbol. This law is more flexible when the symbol is also used for civic education, countering anti-constitutional activities, research and purposes of social good.
So far, in Kenya, there are no laws prohibiting the use of this symbol publicly, artistically or for civic education. Another search leads to Wesley Acres nursing home in Alabama with the same architectural design.
TRUE, Kenyatta National Hospital’s servants’ quarters has a Swastika architectural design.