KWANZAA: Seven Principles = Seven Days of the Week

Let’s celebrate Kwanzaa year ‘round and live these principles every single day. For some of us it will be easy. For others of us, it will be challenging. For all of us, it has to be intentionally part of our makeup, part of our being, part of our day, part of our thought process, part of our decision-making.

There is no need for Kwanzaa to compete with religious holidays like Christmas or Hanukkah. Kwanzaa is a cultural holiday intended to reclaim African values which is so very important for culture that was denied so many things when pulled away into slavery. These principles are not an annual event.  We are a resilient people. It is so very important that we or intentional with the values that we pass on within our families (to our childred and our grandchildren).


  1. Umoja (Unity): To strive for and to maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.
  2. Kujichagulia (Self-Determination): To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for ourselves.
  3. Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility): To build and maintain our community together and make our brothers' and sisters' problems our problems and to solve them together.
  4. Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics): To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together.
  5. Nia (Purpose): To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.
  6. 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.
  7. Imani (Faith): To believe with all our hearts in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.

This is important for our community, our children, our culture and for our legacy. It seems too simple but really the best part of it is that it is simple. The seven principles help us circle back to our heritage, our history, our ancestry, our strength, our depth, our power and our ability. It moves us into our future.


*Special Thanks to Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s) that embody all seven (7) of these principles and who have been about the business of investing in African-American / Black lives for decades!* 


  • Thank you for keeping our Forparents heritage alive for us over here in America. We often forget to remind ourselves that we do have a legacy that we need to keep and pass on to our children.

    Nadirah Phillips
  • Kwanzaa Study Group & learn Kiswahili

    For books:
    Kwanzaa a celebration of Family, Community & Culture

    Learn Kiswahili and practice together
    Purchase Kiswahili Travel book for a broad range of situations!

    Kokayi (Koh-kah-yee)

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