Kwanzaa, a pan-African holiday, is celebrated by millions throughout the global African community on every continent in the world. On the second day of Kwanzaa, Kujichagulia, December 27, 2020, from 11:00am-1:00pm (Pacific Time) and 2:00-4:00pm (Eastern Time), the National Association of Kawaida Organizations (NAKO) and the International African Arts Festival (IAAFestival) will present the first international virtual celebration of Kwanzaa with its founder, Dr. Maulana Karenga. This virtual event will be aired in the U.S.A, Africa, the Caribbean, Central America, South America, and Europe. For information and registration visit, www.iaafestival.org.
This celebration of the 54th anniversary of Kwanzaa will include virtual, live and taped highlights of performances by internationally known artists from the 49th Annual International African Arts Festival, including the Asase Yaa African American Dance Theatre. At the center of the celebration will be Dr. Karenga’s Annual Founder’s Kwanzaa Message titled: “Kwanzaa and the Well-Being of the World: Living and Uplifting the Seven Principles.”
In his message, he will discuss the pandemic of COVID-19 and how it has affected African people, but how they will weather the storm. Quoting the ethical teacher, Howard Thurman, he reassures Black people, they will be able, as in the past, “to ride the storm and remain intact.” And he also quotes poet laureate, Gwen Brooks’ poem to Black resilience and resourcefulness saying that we constantly “conduct (our) blooming in the noise and whip of the whirlwind.” Moreover, he stresses the importance of Kwanzaa’s foundation, not only in the ancient communitarian values of Africa, but also values of life and struggle derived from the Black Freedom Movement, the context in which Kwanzaa was conceived and first practiced.
Dr. Karenga, who is author of numerous scholarly books including: Kwanzaa: A Celebration of Family, Community and Culture and Maat, The Moral Ideal in Ancient Egypt, also sets the Nguzo Saba, the Seven Principles, which he also authored, at the center of his message. He poses them as a “morally grounded guidance for our lives and living” and as “a foundational way forward in this awesome and urgent challenge to each and all of us.” These Seven Principles are: Umoja (Unity); Kujichagulia (Self-Determination), Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility); Ujamaa(Cooperative Economics); Nia (Purpose); Kuumba (Creativity); and Imani (Faith).