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50 Year Celebration of Kwanzaa: A cultural holiday of the African American traditions
12/20/2016 12:01:52 PM





The seven-day African-American holiday of Kwanzaa has been celebrated for its 50th year in 2016. The Lowcountry Kwanzaa Planning Committee has been governing the Kwanzaa activities in the Lowcountry for 38 years. The week is filled with Community Potluck events, Community Parade, Holiday Market, the Big Feast on the final day, Karamu. The Lowcountry Kwanzaa Planning Committee has released a calendar for the Week of Kwanzaa Celebration with all the activities of the Lowcountry Kwanzaa, which is attached along with flyers of some of the events. All activities are free to the community and family-friendly. 

The calendar of events for the week of Kwanzaa begins with the Lighting of the Kinara at the Marion Square and continues to the Reclamation Service joint sponsorship with the Kwanzaa Planning Committee and the City of Charleston. The week of celebration continues with the sponsorships of different community charities and non-profit organizations in multiple location in the Charleston Lowcountry, all participating in the Kwanzaa principle of Ujima of collective works and responsibility of the community and its future. Some organization include the Soul Food Alliance, Charleston County Parks and Recreation, Tri-County Black Nurses Association and more.

Founded by Dr. Maulana Karenga in 1963, Kwanzaa was created to build a bridge for the traditional African values and to reach and reinforce connections among African-American and African communities throughout the world.  The values are called Nguzo Saba, which in Swahili means the seven principles.  These seven principles are the heart of the holiday and are observed over the seven days from December 26 to January 1, culminating in a feast, and gift-giving. The principles are:

  • Umoja (Unity): To strive for and to 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 profit from them together.
  • Nia (Purpose): To make our collective vocation the building and development of our community to restore our people to their traditional greatness.
  • Kuumba (Creativity): To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, 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.

Charleston Lowcountry Kwanzaa Planning Committee is a 35-year-old organization designed and created by the community residents to handle the Kwanzaa activities of the Lowcountry area. The charity organization is community based and community run whose blueprint emulates the African societal structure for connecting and reconnecting the past and future.


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