The African Cultural and Development Association (ACDA) is currently spearheading Kwanzaa, which commenced on December 26 and will culminate tomorrow.
As was illustrated in a brilliant letter written by Robin Williams last December, “Kwanzaa was born out of a struggle by African Americans to, among other things, develop and project an identity in contrast to the racist stereotypes manufactured by the majority population, and perpetuate a set of positive values that best served the interest of the African American population and ultimately operate for the betterment of their nation as a whole”. Kwanzaa has seven basic principles: “Umoja (Unity)— To strive for and to maintain unity in the family, community, nation and race; Kujichagulia (Self-determination)— To define oneself, name oneself, create for oneself and speak for oneself; Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility)— to build and maintain one’s community together and make one’s brothers and sisters’ problems one’s 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 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; and 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.”
In Guyana, ACDA celebrated the beginning of Kwanzaa with its traditional “harvest” event.
The heavily attended programme which was co-chaired by Clementine Marshall and Aisha Jean-Baptiste involved the wearing of traditional African clothes, libations by Andrew Irving, drumming, the lighting of seven candles during the explanation of each principle, an amazing amount of African foods and drinks for feasting, dancing and singing.
This year’s programme also saw the awarding of a scholarship engineered by Egerton Cooke, ACDA’s Administrator, and ACDA’s Sustainable Development Committee to Yana-Edwards, the Caribbean’s best CXC student.
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