“Happy KWANZAA” the Afro-centric Holiday

As the holiday season draws near and grease begins to increase the fat, as mass commercialization and spending jolts get ready to rock Christmas, tainting it further in distasteful amusement… We recommend an alternative celebration called… Kwanzaa.

Kwanzaa is an end of year celebration that intellectual Afro centric types in the western world have been sharing more often with their fellow black people.

These past few seasons, Kwanzaa has gained more notoriety within the Jamaican Diaspora as many “yardies” have started to muster enough strength and have given sloppy old Santa the boot sending him packing with his merry moments of fake magic that always turn to misery.

The spirit, principle and practice of Kwanzaa are to celebrate our togetherness as an African people. It’s a season where blacks embrace their history and their commitment to a destiny that is more unified under God. It’s a time for change, to reconcile failures of the past with hopes and wishes of a successful future as we transform our society.

Kwanzaa begins on December 26 and runs for 7 days culminating on New Years Day, January 1st. On each day a different value is celebrated as a precept to our thoughts and actions.

December 26 is usually the day of Unity – called UJOMA

It’s a day to meditate on the need for maintaining unity in the family, community, nation and race.

December 27 is Self Determination/KUJICHAGULIA

This is a day to define our individual agenda’s, renaming our selves, re-birthing our purpose.

December 28 is Collective works and responsibility/UJIMA

A day when we Africans take up the burdens of our sisters and brothers; making them a load that we will help them carry by showing concern while we work towards their solution.

December 29 Co-operative Economics/UJAMAA

Where we inspire the entrepreneurial spirit, comforting those who have failed while applauding those who have built successful businesses as we build new partnerships for all of us to profit from tomorrow.

December 30 Purpose/NIA

To make a collective vocation where we all can build and develop our community, restoring it to traditional greatness.

December 31 Creativity/KUUMBA

This is the day when we do away with all the clutter in the way and focus our energies on the mind and spirit, purifying and cleansing our bodies allowing it the ability to create lasting beauty in the New Year.

January 1 Faith/IMANI

Where we together join the hearts of parents, teachers, leaders, leading them to the God of the nation, who has been with us through all our struggles, Thanking the Creator for his guidance, as we pray that we become even more productive in the year ahead.

Remember now Kwanzaa begins on Boxing Day in Jamaica, that’s December 26 and you are encouraged to give gifts if you wish but these should be purchased before or after the Christmas cattle rush of hype and spending sprees.

Gifts are given primarily to children.

The children should be given the gift as a token for something that they did which was admirable, whether bravery, patience, loyalty, meekness, excellent grades in studies, achievement in sports etc.

The deeds or the reward however, should not be mandatory. As well it should not be unrelated to the harmony of the community.

Gift giving during Kwanzaa should be open and accountable. Books and any item that symbolizes the progressive heritage of Africans are suitable gifts for children. The child must be told that it’s their parents, uncle, auntie, grandmother, grandfather, friend or cousin who have worked and paid to purchase the item. This is for children to understand the importance of having a job and silencing poor old Santa for good, because one wonders where he works that he can afford to give away these expensive fantasy gifts.

The Celebration of Kwanzaa will discourage the red eye, licky licky, covetousness and idolatry worship of man made things. It will secure you from the unconscious splurging at shopping malls and the impulsive buying which starts each day after Thanksgiving in the Babylonian capital.

Kwanzaa teaches the art of thrifty spending, as no man or woman strong enough to have survived as an African should be so careless that they throw away all their savings to the kings of ages old wizardry. Ones shoestring budget is already tight and the future is unpredictable.

Learn even if for the first that a grab bag Christmas of snow and plastic pine trees decked with lights and bulgy, is out of sync with out Afro centric realities, for the Kingston sun is so warm it usually wakes up our January morning with some blazing realities.

School fees, utilities, higher purchase bills, car payments, credit card bills, mortgages, leases, property taxes and the list goes on, for even as brewery and wine estates enjoy Christmas, the mayhem of death continues to be a feature on our road ways. Jolly old Santa and his sleigh know nothing about being sober or respecting the grief of families.

Let’s stop and be silent amidst the holiday spirit this season and even while the church bells and assemblies ring with liquor we ask that you consider a reality of a different world view.

The African minds of the world are hailing prayers to Jamaica, in a most honourable and peaceful end of year gift. We as a struggling community owe it to our children, in memory of the many young bright brothers and sisters that have fallen. Africans they all were who have died, sacrificing their lives for our freedom. Will Jamaica reach out with a reasonable mind, grasping with courage of diligent heart and willpower to help our many jobless, homeless, disadvantaged extended family members to cope, breaking the cycle of despair and selfishness that the culture of Cold Commercial Christmas has brought to our door this 2003?