Hello. Come on in. The daddy writes about current events, literature, music and, once in a while, drops something on you from back in the day to make you pause and ponder, stop and stare, and begin to wonder. Who knows? You may start to pace the floor, shake your head from side to side, then fall down on bended knees in a praying position and cry, "Lawd, have mercy! What is this world coming to?" Check yourself! But this blog is NOT about the daddy. It's about you: your boos, your fam, your hood, your country...our hopes and dreams of a better tomorrow. So let's make a pact: the daddy will put it on the track if you'll chase it down and hit him back. Together, we can definitely take it to another level. Shall we?"

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Kwanzaa day 6 is about Kuumba, Creativity

Kwanzaa Table

Today, the daddy is feeling Kwanzaa, the principle from the 6th day of Kwanzaa: Kuumba(Creativity). But first, let's review the principles of Kwanzaa:

Principles of Kwanzaa

Kwanzaa celebrates what its founder called "The Seven Principles of Kwanzaa", or Nguzo Saba (originally Nguzu Saba - "The seven Principles of Blackness"), which Karenga said "is a communitarian African philosophy" consisting of Karenga's distillation of what he deemed "the best of African thought and practice in constant exchange with the world." These seven principles comprise Kawaida, a Swahili term for tradition and reason that Karenga used to refer to his synthesized system of belief. Each of the seven days of Kwanzaa is dedicated to one of the following principles, which are explained by Karenga as follows:

  • Umoja (Unity) To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation and race.
  • Kujichagulia (Self-Determination) To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves 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 heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.

These principles correspond to Karenga's notion that "the seven-fold path of blackness is think black, talk black, act black, create black, buy black, vote black, and live black."


On this day, those who celebrate Kwanzaa this day and throughout the year pledge:

"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. "

Certainly, Africans in America have given America so much creativity. From politics to sports to music to science (there were many in the 19th century), blacks have often lead the way in applying Kuumba to whatever they do. But this creativity starts in the home where both mommy and dad have to "make do" with what they have. Moms had to be creative in cooking, using what's left in the fridge to make big stews in the oven. Dads often had to hold two jobs to keep the family together. For example, they became "shade-tree mechanics," repairing cars
by hosting a chain over a leg of a big tree to pull out the car motor.

This creativity at home fills out to the streets when mom's little girl, filled with mom's stew and mom's love-kiss on her cheeks, does all kinds of lifts, spins, and jumps on the ballet floor. It shows again, when a proud dad's son takes a football, runs through a hole then quickly stops and spins if on a dime to avoid a tackler and flies down the field toward the endzone.

This creativity is the same kind of creativity that many poor immigrants had to use to stay together, survive and succeed in, when they first came to America. They, too, in one way or another, had do do all kinds of spins, lifts and turns on a dime to survive and succeed in a strange new land called America. And this creativity to survive and excel is a characteristic they want their children to learn and hold onto, because it is America, a part of who we are, not only as a subset of America. It is a characteristic that make us distinctly American.

How do you practice Kuumba or creativity in your home?


Verna Monson said...

Love Kuumba! There have been many times when I was not very creative at home, particularly when it came to utilizing what I already had. I always thought I had to buy something new, something better. Now, at least I am trying to repurpose items as much as possible in order to stretch my budget. A mundane example: I think about all of the little plastic containers that we buy stuff in -- yogurt, and a million other things. I'm now saving them and plan on using them instead of buying new plastic containers, which just add more plastic to the environment.

I have a long way to go to be more creative -- and conserve money in the process.

I guess on a bigger scale, I think that creativity is really critical in trying to resolve big conflicts. I think it takes quite a bit of creativity to imagine the perspectives of people who are unlike us, and then to creatively imagine solutions to problems that take both perspectives into account. That's one reason I voted and support Barack Obama -- I think he "gets" it. Even the Rick Warren choice -- who knows, maybe it's a play that challenges Warren to creatively imagine a religion that wouldn't hold bias against gays?

Kuumba is a wonderful Kwanzaa principle that applies to the most pragmatic, mundane issues of our lives (recycling) and to the big, nasty conflicts that divide us and grow hatred.

Thanks for reminding us, MacDaddy!

Anonymous said...

My daughter told me to come here. But I don't know bout all these changes. And why we have to always talk about Africa?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, We don't have to talk about Africa -- it's Kwanzaa, and personally, I think these principles are beautiful. What do you want to talk about?

Make yourself happy, Anonymous. Find a blog that makes you happy.

MacDaddy said...

Verna: There are many creative things we can do to support our environment and raise our families. Thanks for reminding us.

Anon: You sound reluctant to engage change. You are not alone. But it would hurt to be open just a little bit to change? It sounds like your daughter is.