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Rethinking Kwanzaa: On Better Realizing The Principles Of The Nguzo Saba.

Kwanzaa, the African-American holiday celebration of community values, has been practiced now for nearly forty years. In that time it has grown into a multinational Pan-African celebration. But what is it about this holiday that is so significant to African-Americans and why has it not taken root among us enough to supplant the traditional American Christmas celebration? Kwanzaa is said to derive from the first fruit harvest celebrations of many African societies and this is in part true. It is said to have evolved from the Nguzo Saba (Seven Principles) of Kawaida theory developed by Maulana Karenga of the Us Organization and this is also in part true. But the deeper significance in Kwanzaa lies in the aspects of it that are not commonly discussed.

There is a difference in celebrating a 40 year old holiday and celebrating a 4000 year old holiday. In this difference are the keys to our realization of those Seven Principles. From a Kemetic viewpoint, Kwanzaa falls in the Romathi month of Ka` Xir Ka` (Khoiak) and so should have special significance to us. Specifically Kwanzaa begins on the eve of the beginning of celebrations of Ka` Xir Ka` and culminates on the Day of Liberation. Ka' Xir Ka' translates as "spirit upon spirit" or "sustenance upon sustenance" and is the Romathi festival of the resurrection of Osar the father of our Nation. The Day Of Liberation is the day marking the expulsion of the Hyksos from Kemet and not surprisingly also marking the emancipation of the African-American from bondage in America. It is ignorance this less commonly known tie that keeps the realization of the Seven Principles just out of our grasp. The presentation of Kwanzaa as a 40 year old holiday created by a Black man to bring cultural awareness and organizing principles to his people is therefore not the whole scope of the picture we should take from Kwanzaa. Instead of being the whole book it is only a modern preface to a very old book that had long since been forgotten but whose time of remembrance has now come to fruition. Here we stand on the brink of 40 years from the (re)founding of our National holiday and yet how much closer are we to realizing those most important values? I would offer that the acceptance of Kwanzaa by the mainstream argues strongly to the fact that it was never intended promote realizing those values only to memorialize the struggle of our people for full liberation without actualizing it. And so 40 years from now we can still be talking about these seven principles and still be no closer to achieving or attaining them and certainly no closer to hearing the whole story of the holiday.

The realization of the principles of Kwanzaa would be to the extreme economic detriment and loss of this country's government and its corporate citizens' pockets. Therefore Kwanzaa must forever be a supplemental holiday to the Christmas shopping orgy and never be in direct competition. In order for it to be non-threatening it must never gain a religious significance nor can it ever inherit its true cultural significance. It must remain a secular, modern contrivance however noble the aspirations of its founder. If Dr. Karenga knew the significance which he might well have known (as he has studied and written works on Ma'at and Egyptian ethics and culture) I must wonder why he has not proclaimed this deeper meaning to the masses. If he did not know the significance which he may well not have known (as the calendrical systems used by Egyptology are off by months from the true Romathi calendar) then I can only praise and give thanks and honor to Amun, for his hand is manifestly at work in effecting our liberation yet again. In either case, the significance of this holiday of ours must now come to light so that all may know and see. How many are willing to spread this message?


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