Multicultural Student Affairs, in partnership with the Union Activities Board, Black Students Board and the African American Cultural Center, will hold NC State’s 25th annual celebration of Kwanzaa on Wednesday, December 2, from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. in the Witherspoon Student Cinema.
Kwanzaa was created in 1965 as a means for African Americans to honor and reconnect with the values and traditions of their African heritage. This week-long celebration, held from December 26 to January 1, is centered around seven principles inherent to Kwanzaa, collectively known as Nguzo Saba. Each day of Kwanzaa is dedicated to the consideration of a single principle and its role in building strong individuals and productive African American communities. The seven principles are Umoja (Unity), Kujichagulia (Self-Determination), Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility), Nia (Purpose), Kuumba (Creativity) and Imani (Faith).
The celebration of Kwanzaa also relies heavily on symbolism to recognize and reinforce the importance of African values and heritage in current African American culture. The three colors of Kwanzaa, green, black and red, represent the land, the color and the struggle of the African diaspora. Each item placed on the Kwanzaa table and incorporated into the traditional celebration represents an ancestral or communal connection or value. Even the food served at the Karamu (feast) on the final day of Kwanzaa is carefully chosen to honor the contributions of African ingredients to the culinary traditions of African Americans.
This year, we are excited to welcome as our featured speaker Louisha Barnette, a 2006 graduate of NC State with a Bachelor’s of Science in Biochemistry, Microbiology and Multidisciplinary Studies with a concentration in African American History and Community. Ms. Barnette will combine her experience in social justice activism and her expertise in mental and physical wellness for a thought-provoking and uplifting discussion of how we can practice the principles of Kwanzaa throughout the year. In addition, attendees will enjoy a traditional drum performance and the candle lighting ceremony that explores the seven principles of Nguzo Saba. Karamu, the communal meal, will immediately follow the celebration.
We hope you will join us, and we encourage all who are interested to attend, as we participate in this empowering and affirming celebration. Joyous Kwanzaa to all!