Kwanzaa Collage

Seven Principles of Kwanzaa

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The time has again arrived for African-American communities and others, that celebrate the culture to re-energize the dedication propelling the tenets of Kwanzaa. Kwanzaa is a seven-day, non-religious holiday observed in the US, meant to honor African Americans’ ancestral roots. The celebration lasts until January 1, but the Kwanzaa mindset is an actionable set of on-going conscious priorities.
The name comes from the Swahili phrase “matunda ya kwanza,” which means “first fruits.” InnerKwest will emphasize the 7 tenets of Kwanzaa, Sunday through Saturday all 52 weeks of the year, with Umoja on Sunday.
Also refer to our updated rededication to Kwanzaa 365 HERE!

It’s imperative we understand the ties that bind us and proceed to strengthen our bonds.

James C. Frasure III – InnerKwest

Created in 1966 by Maulana Karenga, a black nationalist and professor of Pan-African studies at California State University at Long Beach, Kwanzaa became popular in the 1980s and 1990s in tandem with the black power movement — making up the trio of winter holidays along with Hanukkah and Christmas.


Umoja means unity in Swahili.
Karenga defines this on his Kwanzaa website as: “To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation and race.”


Or self-determination. This principle refers to defining, naming, creating and speaking for oneself.


Translated as “collective work and responsibility,” ujima refers to uplifting your community.
“To build and maintain our community together and make our brother’s and sister’s problems our problems and to solve them together,” Karenga writes.


Cooperative economics.
Similar to ujima, this principle refers to uplifting your community economically. “To build and maintain our own stores, shops and other businesses and to profit from them together,” he writes.


Nia means purpose.
Karenga expands on this principle with, “To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.



Meaning “creativity,” Karenga defines this principle as “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.”

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The final principle translates to “faith.”
Karenga defines this as faith in community, writing, “To believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.”

The principles of Kwanzaa are inspirational, constructive blocks that can bring the African American community together and thrive. If we all would advance the core tenets of Kwanzaa the results would be a paradigm shift to greatness for the entire community spectrum. Make Kwanzaa part of your teaching and referenced course of action everyday.James Frasure's InnerKwest®

InnerKwest™ will continually and conscientiously resonate a message of unity. We will not relent, digress, or vary from that message to any degree. Please sign-in below to leave questions or comments.
We always welcome constructive contributions and commentary.Innerwest®

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