KWANZAA: MORE THAN A BLACK PERSON’S HOLIDAY
A reported 18-20 million people worldwide celebrate Kwanzaa between December 26th and January 1st each year.
Kwanzaa, which means “first fruits of the harvest” in Swahili, was created in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga, a professor at California State University at Long Beach, to reinforce positive values and strengthen bonds within the Black community, in the US initially, but then throughout the Diaspora.
But the holiday isn’t just for Blacks–people of all races celebrate Kwanzaa.
The Seven Principles serve as the foundation of Kwanzaa. They are: unity, self determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith.
Seven Principles of Kwanzaa
There are seven principles of Kwanzaa, each day within the week is dedicated to one of the following
- Umoja (Unity) To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation and race.
- Kujichagulia (Self-Determination) To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves and speak for ourselves.
- Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility) To build and maintain our community together and make our brother’s and sister’s problems our problems and to solve them together.
- Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics) To build and maintain our own stores, shops and other businesses and to profit from them together.
- Nia (Purpose) To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.
- Kuumba (Creativity) To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.
- Imani (Faith) To believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.
These principles correspond to Karenga’s notion that “the seven-fold path of blackness is think black, talk black, act black, create black, buy black, vote black, and live black“. Is this still a relevant philosophy in noughties Britain? or is our multicultural society one in which such black nationalist sentiment is no longer desirable or needed?
If you wish to know more about Kwanzaa you can visit the following external links. These links will open in a new window.