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African American Culture Celebrates the Principle of Creativity - Kuumba
The Creativity of Kuumba is Innovative, Bold and Colorful
The Kwanzaa Principle of "Kuumba" Means Creativity
Creativity is a universal concept to which all cultures around the world can relate. Our creativity defines our outward expression of uniqueness, our diversity and our individuality as human beings. During the last week of December, many African Americans in the United States celebrate Kwanzaa and its seven principles, one of which is creativity.
Initially billed as the first African American official holiday, some segments of the African American population choose to celebrate Kwanzaa as an alternative to the traditional Christmas holiday. On the sixth day of the 7-day observance, the principle of creativity, referred to as Kuumba, is celebrated. This principle is featured in this article.
Celebrating Creativity with Raised Hands
What is Kwanzaa and its Seven Principles
Kwanzaa, which means "first fruits of the harvest," was conceptualized in the mid 1960s by Dr. Maulana Karenga, a professor of Black Studies at California State University and an activist in the Black Nationalist Movement. His vision and purpose for Kwanzaa was for African American people to acknowledge the culture, values, and principles of their African heritage and to celebrate those principles for seven consecutive days, from December 26th to the 1st of January. Dr. Karenga felt very strongly about instilling a sense of ethnic pride and positive self-image among Black people in order for them to be successful and thrive in their communities.
The seven principles of Kwanzaa are represented through activities and rituals among family, friends, and community groups during the 7-day period and applied throughout the year. The objective is to strengthen bonds, build unity, enhance cultural identity, and increase economic growth in the Black community.
The group of seven principles in Swahili is called Nguzo Saba. Each principle is celebrated for one day and incorporated in daily life and interactions within the community. They are as follows:
- Day 1: Umoja - Unity
- Day 2: Kujichagulia - Self-Determination
- Day 3: Ujima - Working Together
- Day 4: Ujamaa - Supporting Each Other
- Day 5: Nia - Purpose
- Day 6: Kuumba - Creativity
- Day 7: Imani - Faith
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.— Dr. Maulana Karenga
Creativity of Kuumba Builds African American Communities
A Poem for Kuumba: Imagine, Create, Build, Beautify
The premise behind the sixth principle of Kuumba is for African Americans to creatively enhance and improve their communities, leaving it better than it was before for the next generation. The following poem was created for and recited on the sixth day of a Kwanzaa gathering in Washington, DC. It attempts to embody the unique culture and energetic expression of a people of African descent.
My chi, my chi, my Kuumba chi
Driven by God's love
Pushed forth by unique ancestral spirit
Circles within me
The raw, uninhibited flow of chi
Pours out of me
I see chi in all of we
Limitless movement inside
It grows, it weaves where it abides
Melding together as it takes form
The voice, the pen, the feet, the brush
The fingers, the hips sway
The word, the song, the dance, the frame
The spinning wheel creates
We present our Kuumba chi through our gifts
Individually wrapped as our own
Impossible to copy, infinite in kind
As we debut at show time
Our curtains draw back
Exposing the stage
We are not afraid
As Kuumba chi makes its entrance
It puts smiles on faces, warms hearts
And beautifies our community and the world
My chi, my chi, our Kuumba chi
Let's me, be me
And we, be we
[JLE Copyright 2007]
Celebrating Kuumba - Creativity
Other Cultural Traditions During Holiday Season
What is the most important December holiday tradition in your culture?
Information on Celebrating the Kwanzaa Principle of Kuumba
- Nguzo Saba - The Seven (7) Principles of Kwanzaa: KUUMBA
Kwanzaa yenu iwe na heri! HAPPY KWANZAA!!!!
© 2017 Janis Leslie Evans