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Celebrating Kwanzaa

Habari Gani? Imani

Institutional Inclusive Excellence – Student Initiatives observes Kwanzaa (December 26 to January 1) which was established as a means to help Black Americans reconnect with their African roots. Kwanzaa was first celebrated in 1966 and is a celebration of community, family, and culture. It was created by Maulana Karenga, and based on African harvest festival traditions from various parts of Africa, including West and Southeast Africa. According to Karenga, the name Kwanzaa derives from the Swahili phrase matunda ya kwanza, meaning "first fruits". First fruits festivals exist in Southern Africa, celebrated in December/January with the southern solstice, and Karenga was partly inspired by an account he read of the Zulu festival Umkhosi Wokweshwama. It was said that he decided to spell the holiday's name with an additional "a" so that it would have a symbolic seven letters.


NGUZO SABA

NGUZO SABA

To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race. 

Dagi knot - a Pan African symbol of unity found in several African cultures, i.e., Yoruba, Hausa, Bushongo, etc.

Learn more about Umoja here.

UMOJA

UMOJA

Umoja (Unity)- To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race. 

Dagi knot - a Pan African symbol of unity found in several African cultures, i.e., Yoruba, Hausa, Bushongo, etc.

Learn more about Umoja here.

KUJICHAGULIA

KUJICHAGULIA

Kujichagulia (Self-Determination)To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves for ourselves and speak for ourselves. 

Ahenwa - The Akan throne, symbol of national identity, cultural groundedness and rightful governance

Learn more about Kujichagulia here.

UJIMA

UJIMA

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.

Akoma ntoaso - the Adinkra symbol of shared effort and obligation

Learn more about Ujima here.

UJAMAA

UJAMAA

Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics)- To build and maintain our own stores, shops and other businesses and to profit from them together.

Two interlocking half circles - the Nsibidi symbol of togetherness and family

Learn more about Ujamaa here.

NIA

NIA

Nia (Purpose)- To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.

The heiroglyph Nefer - Ancient Egyptian symbol of beauty and good

Learn more about Nia here.

KUUMBA

KUUMBA

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.

The seven vibrations of divine creation - the Dogon symbol of creativity

Learn more about Kuumba here.

IMANI

IMANI

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.

The ancient Egyptian double symbol of the ankh (life) and djed pillar (stability, endurance) serves here as a symbol of steadfastness in commitment to the Good, the Right, and the Beautiful in life.

Learn more about Imani here.