Society & Culture

Habari Gani?: Umoja

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Habari Gani? (What’s the news of the day?)

Umoja (Unity)

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

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

Source: The Official Kwanzaa Website

A Quick Kwanzaa FAQ

Q. What is Kwanzaa?

Kwanzaa is an annual celebration of African-American culture from December 26 to January 1, culminating in a communal feast called Karamu, usually on the sixth day. It was created by activist Maulana Karenga, based on African harvest festival traditions from various parts of West and Southeast Africa. 

Source: Wikipedia

Q. What are the Nguzo Saba (Seven Principles) of Kwanzaa?

Umoja (Unity)

To strive for and maintain unity in 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 always do 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.

Q. What are the Greetings?

The greetings during Kwanzaa are in Swahili. Swahili is a Pan-African language and is chosen to reflect African Americans’ commitment to the whole of Africa and African culture rather than to a specific ethnic or national group or culture. 

The greetings also reinforce awareness of, and commitment to the Seven Principles. 

The greeting each day of Kwanzaa is: “Habari gani?” 

The answer / reply is the Nguzo Saba principle that corresponds with the day of Kwanzaa  So, for the first day of Kwanzaa the answer would be “Umoja”; for the second day “Kujichagulia” and so on …

There is much more to the Kwanzaa holiday … and I’ll try to share a little more each day … 

Heri Za Kwanzaa (Happy Kwanzaa!)

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