December 26 to January 1 marks the week-long celebration honoring African American heritage and culture through the seven principles of Kwanzaa — unity, self determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith.
Harlem World Magazine celebrates Kwanzaa at a time when many African Americans and all Americans in Harlem reflect on our many blessings and memories over the past year and our aspirations for the year to come.
The Seven Principles (Nguzo Saba) of Kwanzaa are:
1. Umoja (oo-MOH-jah): Unity: Success starts with Unity. Unity of family, community, nation and race.
2. Kujichagulia (koo-jee-chah-goo-LEE-ah): Self-Determination: To be responsible for ourselves. To create your own destiny.
3. Ujima (oo-JEE-mah): Collective work and responsibility: To build and maintain your community together. To work together to help one another within your community.
4. Ujamaa (oo-jah-MAH): Collective economics: To build, maintain, and support our own stores, establishments, and businesses.
5. Nia (NEE-ah): Purpose: To restore African American people to their traditional greatness. To be responsible to Those Who Came Before (our ancestors) and to Those Who Will Follow (our descendants).
6. Kuumba (koo-OOM-bah): Creativity: Using creativity and imagination to make your communities better than what you inherited.
7. Imani (ee-MAH-nee): Faith: Believing in our people, our families, our educators, our leaders, and the righteousness of the African American struggle.
And even as there is much to be thankful for, we know that there are still too many Harlemites going through enormous challenges and trying to make ends meet. But we also know that in the spirit of unity, or Umoja, we can overcome those challenges together.
As families across America and around the world light the red, black, and green candles of the Kinara this week, our family sends our well wishes and blessings for a happy and healthy new year.
- The History of Kwanzaa (everydayfamily.com)
- 5 Things You May Not Know About Kwanzaa (history.com)
- MNH 2012 Kwanzaa: First Fruits of the Harvest (harlemworldmag.com)
- Walter’s World: Holiday Picks Dancing, Dining and Film (harlemworldmag.com)