Pick up Kwanzaa Grab-n-Go Kits This Week at Southside Branch Library

Pick up grab-n-go Kwanzaa kits at Southside Branch Library. 

Many persons of African descent will celebrate Kwanzaa between December 26 and January 1. Kwanzaa is a time when families and communities will come together to celebrate their rich African heritage and culture.

Kwanza falls between Christmas and New Year. Although many COVID restrictions have been lightened or lifted, many people are still struggling to find "normalcy" within themselves, within family, and within the community. As the words "BLACK LIVES MATTER" continue to resonate across social media and elsewhere, I felt there needed to be a reminder WHY WE MATTER.

Our children need to know WHY WE MATTER. Kwanza is a reminder.

So I decided to find a couple of simple crafts  that the family can make in an effort to seek avenues to learn more about our culture, our heritage, and this awe-inspiring celebration. 

Stop by Southside Branch Library and Grab N’ Go a kit to make a Mkeka (Mat) to your symbols on. You can also grab a kit to make a Kinara (Candleholder) and Mishumaa Saba (Candles). All Birmingham Public Library locations are closed from Friday, December 24, through Monday, December 27, so drop by soon while supplies last.  

The late Dr. Maya Angelou sums it up best in an article posted on Oprahdaily.com called "The Black Candle”, a 2008 documentary on Kwanzaa

“While the first principle of Umoja brings us closer and harnesses our strength, the last principle, Imani, inspires us and sustains our togetherness. Let us have faith in ourselves, in our creator, in our mothers and fathers, in our grandmothers and grandfathers, in our elders, and in our future – knowing that we are more than keepers of our brothers and sisters, we are our brothers and sisters.”

So what is Kwanzaa? It is an African American and Pan-African holiday created by Dr. Maulana Karenga, a professor of Africana Studies at California State University in 1966 as a seven-day cultural festival which celebrating family, community, and culture. Kwanzaa begins December 26 and ends January 1. 

Families and communities participate in activities around the Nguzo Saba (The Seven Principles):

· Umoja (Unity) – Families and communities need to join together

· Kujichagulia (Self-Determination) – Use your voice: Write/Tell your story

· Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility) – Communities need to work together to solve at least some of the problems within the Black communities

· Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics) – Create your own business or support Black businesses

· Nia (Purpose) – Use our collective occupations, your skills, to build and development our communities

· Kuumba (Creativity) – Use our talents and gifts within us to beautify and inspire the world

· Imani (Faith) – Believe with all our hearts in our people and the righteousness and victory of our struggle

Along with the seven principles are seven symbols to include:

· Kinara (Candleholder)

· Mishumaa Saba (Candles) – Represented in the African colors of red (the struggle or blood shed), black (people themselves), and green (Earth)

· Muhindi (Ears of Corn)

· Mkeka (Straw Mat)

· Kikombe cha Umoja (Communal Unity Cup)

· Zawadi (Gifts)

· Mazao (Crops – Fruits, Vegetables, & Nuts)

Remember to stop by the Southside Branch Library for a Grab N Go Kwanzaa kit while supplies last.

By Gelenda Norman|Southside Branch Library