Kwanzaa which was first celebrated in 1966 is an annual celebration of African-American culture that starts from December 26 to January 1, culminating in a communal feast called Karamu, usually on the sixth day.It was created by activist Maulana Karenga, based on African harvest festival traditions from various parts of West and Southeast Africa. Kwanzaa.
On 26th day of December 2022 which was the first day of the Kwanzaa Celebration, which was marked with Umoja (Unity)the first principle of Kwanzaa, Seestah Imahkus Njinga Ababio popularly known as Mama One Africa lit the Black Candle of Kwanzaa in an event held in collaboration with Ikawa Café
Kwanzaa celebrates what its founder called the seven principles of Kwanzaa, or Nguzo Saba (originally Nguzu Saba – the seven principles of African Heritage). They were developed in 1965, a year before Kwanzaa itself. These seven principles are all Swahili words, and together comprise the Kawaida or “common” philosophy, a synthesis of nationalist, pan-Africanist, and socialist values.
Each of the seven days of Kwanzaa is dedicated to one of the principles, as follows
- Umoja (Unity): To strive for and to maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.
- Kujichagulia (Self-determination): To define and name ourselves, as well as to create and speak for ourselves.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
In keeping faith with the Kwanzaa Tradition and culture she will be headlining another event to mark the lighting of the 7th Kwanzaa Candle today the 1st day of January 2023 at Ikawa Café that is complimented with a buffet and celebration with proceeds aimed at supporting the Rweru women Foundation.
Rweru is one of six Reconciliation Villages created by the Rwandan Government in partnership with Prison Fellowship Rwanda (an NGO) in 2003. The land given for this village is in the Bugesera District, where perpetrators and survivors of the 1994 Tutsi Genocide have worked side-by-side to create and build a harmonious community.
This Village is also an opportunity to reconstruct their lives together despite their horrific past. Brought together they have successfully defeated hatred and turned this Reconciliation Village into a peace-loving example of man’s ability to forgive and move forward for positive change.
During Mama One Africa and Rich Hearts’ visit, they were impressed by the harmonious co-existence in the Village. They were also impacted by the need for improved living conditions, as well as the need for productive trade and income generating activities among the women who are 61% of the Head of Households.
After a lengthy discussion with members of the Rweru Village to explore what kind of support would be beneficial to them, they expressed interest in local arts, specifically making and selling local products commonly referred to as “made in Rwanda” goods, as well as farming. This prompted the idea for a skills development project for the women and subsequently and educational sponsorship program for the children.
Mama IMAHKÜS (aka Mama One Africa) immediately felt very deeply by what she had heard and witnessed and was inspired to assist the women to become better equipped to provide for themselves, their families, and their community.
In May 2019, she returned to Rwanda and partnered with Rich Hearts to foster and build a “One Africa – Heart to Heart” relationship and, established the Rich Hearts/One Africa partnership, which is the umbrella organization and governing body for the newly created Rweru Women’s Economic Empowerment and Human Values Initiative.
In January 2020, Mama One Africa, once again, returned to Rwanda after successful fundraising efforts to acquire manual and electric sewing machines, a Serger machine, tables, fabrics, pattern paper, needles, thread, and other necessary items. Additionally, an instructor was hired and began training the first ten women. The organization was also able to secure and renovate a small building for the Training Center.
Due to the success of the first phase of the foundation program which included equipment’s for skills and knowledge transfer to these women , as the beneficiaries of the Rweru women Economic Empowerment Initiative continues to grow in number, there is now an urgent need to build a permanent, fully operational institute, that will serve as the future Training, Agricultural and Childcare Center and are seeking donations of any amount to help fund the construction of their new learning center as they have already raised enough funds to purchase piece of land for the purpose.
If you happen to be in Rwanda you are invited to the Kwanzaa celebration at Ikawa Café which shall be complimented with traditional dance with African drums, and dramatic performances as well as buffet to fill you up this New Year day.
To donate visit https://www.rweruwomencenter.com/donation-page