Home > Lifestyle > Kwanzaa; the commemoration of another attribute of our cultural heritage.

Kwanzaa; the commemoration of another attribute of our cultural heritage.

It’s time to celebrate the first fruits of the harvest; a tradition handed down to us from
our ancestors. Many were farmers who took great pride in planting, cultivating and enjoying
the fresh fruit and vegetables of their labor. Their gardens had to overcome hostile
environments of unfriendly weather conditions, rain-soaked soil, lack of fertilizer, etc. Yet, the
knowledge, skill, and determination of our ancestors produced a rich harvest; a harvest that
provided them with their dietary needs, that instilled within them pride in their
accomplishments, and reaffirmed their ability to annihilate all adversity. They worked, sweated,
toiled, and manifested the Ngubo Saba. Then, together, at harvest time, they celebrated the
first fruits of their labor. However, the first fruits have a more symbolic meaning.

We, of the African Diaspora, are the first fruits of all civilization. As a people of a
common history, this special celebration reconnects us to our rich foundation and to the moral
values that are the basis of a strong, and righteous nation; values like honesty, dignity,
gratitude, respect, labor and love. Although, we may not always exhibit these values as a
people, they still live and are embedded deep within our being; encrusted between layers of
oppressive laws, attitudes, and behaviors. Like the gardens of our ancestors, we too struggle to
overcome hostile environments; and like garden seeds, every obstacle strengthens us and drives us to emerge more indomitable. Each harvest brings us closer to producing a beautiful
united nation of people; architects of a new world of love, truth, justice, freedom, and peace.

The seven principles of the (Ngubo Saba) remind us of our commitment to one another; as well
as our dedication and commitment to the legacy of those who have fought for our liberation,
our freedom and our independence.

Umoja, which is recognized and emphasized on the first day of Kwanzaa, focuses on our unity.
At the foundation of unity, is LOVE. Jesus said that He had a NEW commandment for us, “That
ye love one another…” (John 13:34).
How do we accomplish unity without striving to love one
another? How do we begin the process of loving one another? We can start by recognizing the
God-given powers within each of us to overcome adversities. One of the major adversities that
exists within our family circles and throughout our community is our lack of positive endearing
communication with each other; communication that recognizes, and respects and honors the
“essence” of our Creator, God Himself, within each of us. If we believe that we are the Children
of the Most High God, then we MUST strive to see that essence in each other in order to be
proud of uniting with each other. When we meet or come together in Umoja, we should see
the Children of God at work with each other striving to enjoy each other’s company. As a nation
of people brought to the wilderness of North America, we must believe that the secret to our
success lies in our realization that we must love each other enough to unite with one another.

Kujichagulia, is our call to manifest self-determination, to recognize and exhibit our
conquering spirit that is innate to our being. We demonstrate the desire to succeed, then build
our will to do so. We cannot build the will if we have allowed desire to be crippled or buried.
What do we want to build; a righteous nation; “thy kingdom come on earth?” How can we
build without applying…

Ujiima; colletive work and responsibility? In order to successfully work together, we must
become knowledgeable of the composition of our communities including the financial,
educational, professional resources that may be available to assist us. Frederick Douglass states
that, “We cannot become contented by allowing anyone to “annihilate our power of reason.”
We must research, explore, and investigate so that we may define the common conditions that
keep us from manifesting the God-Given powers innate to us as the Mothers and Fathers of

Ujamaa, cooperative economics, informs us of the need to apply our resources towards
building our communities with educational institutions, businesses, and homes. Sacrificing time
and money, as well as focusing our energies towards self-development is key in building healthy
communities. We MUST commit to financially supporting our economic endeavors.

Nia, day five, focuses on the importance of helping our people understand that we are born
into this world with a divine purpose. Since we all do not recognize our purpose, it is important
to administer programs within our communities that serve to help each other realize his/her importance to the entire group; where each person may know, believe and feel how
important he/she is to the entire group and its mission; where the function of education is not
ony to get a job but, from the mouth of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “to teach one to think
intensively and to think critically” and Minister Louis Farrakhan asserts that, “We are not here
just to be here; we are all here to make a contribution to the onward march and evolutionary
development of man in his pathway to God.”

Kuumba, emphasized on the sixth day of Kwanzaa, encourages the application of all these
principles through the CREATIVITY that we inherited from our Father; our Creator. We must
awaken these talents (musical, artistic, scientific, etc.) to present not only to each other, not
only to our communities, but to the entire world as we work towards the complete upliftment
and restoration of the human society.

Imani, the last of the seven principles of Kawanzaa summons us to display our faith in God, in
ourselves and in our ability to overcome ALL adversity to our determination.

*A candle is useless if it does not cast light. The lighting of a candle is metaphoric. The glow
from its light symbolizes and generates hope, relaxes anxiety, refocuses our vision and helps us
to see clearly.

So, as we light the candles of the Ngubo Saba, let us light 7 more candles.

For the thousands of Black youths whose darkened minds have driven them to bear
arms and kill their young brothers and sisters, snatching from them light, and love and life. Let
us light a candle of hope for them today.

For the mothers and fathers who bear the scars of a wounded heart; sore from the loss
of their sons & daughters, our Black babies, our future men and women, mothers and fathers.
Let us light a candle of hope for them today.

For the more than 1 million Black men incarcerated in jails and prisons throughout the
United States; the fathers and the maintainers of our village; our Black men whose seeds have
germinated and given birth to nations of people; who have been weakened by the darkness of
the knowledge of themselves; the young Black men and women victimized by a hostile sector of
society that seeks to shoot and kill them just because they exist; Let us light a candle of hope
for them.

For the more than 30 thousand incarcerated Black women; the mothers of all
civilization, the teachers and nourishers of our babies; our future. Let us light a candle of hope
for them.

For the thousands of Black men, women and children throughout the world plagued
with Ebola, HIV/AIDS, COVID-19; outnumbering all other races as leaders of the most
degenerative illnesses that are crippling, annihilating their lives and eradicating their future. Let
us light a candle of hope for them.

For our young Black girls, growing in numbers, walking and flourishing the streets of
inner cities, victims of prostitution rings, and sex slave markets; the future mothers of our
villages. Let us light a candle of hope for them.

For the youth who are striving to complete their educational goals, the educators, and
other professionals who are trying to serve them, the members of Black organizations that are
striving to help our people to rise above the level of mediocrity and return to their places as the
gods and goddesses of the universe. Let us light a candle of hope for them.

Realizing the difficulty of the mission they have undertaken to encourage, educate, enlighten
and elevate our people to heights inconceivable; let us pray that they do not lose their zeal, their
spirit, their love of duty and purpose to help build a new generation of enlightened youth that
will carry us into the future “perfectly” as Jesus said, “be ye perfect.” Perfect people will build a
perfect Kingdom, here on earth.


“Where wretchedness will hang its head
And joy, like a pearl,

Attends the needs of all mankind-
Of such I dream, my world!”

Langston Hughes

(Copyright; 2020) by Betty V. Muhammad of TransformAnation (muhammad27@verizon.net)
TrransformAnation is committed to fulfilling the commandment given to us in Romans 12:2, “…be ye transformed by the renewing of your minds…” We offer workshops to public service groups, educational institution groups and to religious groups.

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