the wake of the rising re-emergence of the Black Student Movement in
America, it is important that every segment of the African Community
in America begin preparing for the Kwanzaa Season. It is estimated
that more than 30 million Africans in America participate in some
sort of Kwanzaa activity or event.
order for this occurrence to continue, parents, teachers, principles,
ministers, business people, and community activists must begin
first question, that obviously should be asked in preparation for the
2018 Kwanzaa Season is: “What is Kwanzaa and why is it so
important for African people in America to celebrate?”
1966, the Black Power explosion shook up America. The call for Black
Power was a major shift away from the Civil Rights Movement, during
that era. This was a movement that successfully dismantled the system
of racial segregation (by law) in the southern region of the United
among the masses of Black people in America, there was a deeper
meaning to the idea of freedom, justice and equality that had not
been advocated by the Civil Rights Movement. The call for Black Power
by Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., Kwame Ture (a.k.a. Stokely
Carmichael), and others, gave a new impetus for the Black Liberation
Movement in America.
the smoke cleared from the Watts Rebellion in 1965, an organization
emerged in the Los Angeles, California area, called US. Its leader
was Dr. Maulana Karenga. After intense study of African cultural
traditions, Dr. Karenga and the US Organization established the only
nationally celebrated, indigenous, non-heroic Black Holiday in the
United States and they called it Kwanzaa.
concept of Kwanzaa was established for Africans in America and was
derived from the African custom of celebrating the harvest season.
Dr. Karenga’s own words he says, “The origin of Kwanzaa
on the African continent are in the agricultural celebrations called
the ‘first fruits’ celebrations and to a lesser degree
the full or general harvest celebration. It is from these first fruit
celebrations that Kwanzaa gets its name which comes from the Swahili
phrase Matunda Ya Kwanza.”
“...Matunda means fruits and ya Kwanza means
first. (The extra "a" at the end of Kwanzaa has become
convention as a result of a particular history).”
is officially celebrated December 26th to January 1st and each day a
value of the Nguzo Saba (seven principles of blackness) is
celebrated. The Nguzo Saba (Seven Principles) are:
strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and
~ Self Determination
define ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for ourselves,
instead of being defined, named, created for, and spoken for by
~ Collective Work and Responsibility
build and maintain our community together, to make our sisters and
brothers problems our problems, and to solve them together.
~ Cooperative Economics
build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to
profit from them together.
make as our collective vocation the building and developing of our
community in order to restore our people to their traditional
do always as much as we can, in the way we can in order to leave our
community more beautiful and beneficial than when we inherited it.
believe with all our hearts in our people, our parents, our teachers,
our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.
the last fifty plus years, through the organizing of community based
Pan-African/Nationalist organizations, Kwanzaa has become
institutionalized throughout the African American communities in the
United States and the African Diaspora.
is a way to help African people in America fulfill the need and
desire to be a united people, with a common set of experiences that
lead us toward a common set of goals and objectives for freedom,
independence, and liberation.