children_of_kuumba_web.jpgThe seven-day annual Kwanzaa celebration starting Monday, Dec. 26, honors African-American heritage and culture, with a focus on the traditional African values of family, community responsibility, commerce, and self-improvement.

Groups and organizations have prepared programs to mark the occasion.

In Palm Beach County, the Spady Museum and Zeta Phi Beta sorority ‘s Delray Beach chapter will host an event from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 30, at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church Parrish Hall, 404 SW Third Ave., Delray Beach. The purpose is to teach the principles of Kwanzaa. Admission is fresh fruit to share or canned goods. For more information, call Charlene at 561-279-8883.

In Broward County, the main event will take place from noon to 8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 28, at the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center, 2650 Sistrunk Blvd., Fort Lauderdale, sponsored by Friends of the African- American Research Library and Cultural Center. Vendors will be selling their goods at the event.

The opening ceremony at 1 p.m. will feature steel drum music by George Goddard. A Kuumba Workshop in the visual arts using mixed media and recyclable items, facilitated by Alana DaCosta and Niki Lopez, will take place from 1:30 to 3 p.m. A community panel discussion from 3 to 4 p.m. will focus on the principles of Kwanzaa and how they relate to everyday living. Panelists will include Anukh Aakhu, yogi and educator; Yao Afuh Lydia, author and poet; and Troy Thompson, business owner and author.

A 90-minute panel discussion will start at 4 p.m. and will be followed by the Nquzo Saba Performance Show at 6 p.m. Performers will include Alana DaCosta, N’jai Harris, Aziza Israel, Empress Addi and RaRa Rock, Nzingah, Jashua Sa’Ra, Chunky and Spit Fiya Poets, Yao Afoh Lydia, Zakai Pastor. Featured dance troupes will include the Children of Kuumba and Venus Rising.

“The Sowing Seeds Award” will be presented at the end of the program to a person or organization representing one or more of the principles of Kwanzaa. Vendors interested in selling items at this event should call 954-357-6224 or 954-357-6190.

In Miami-Dade County, The Diaspora Arts Coalition, The Miami Dade Department of Cultural Affairs/Joseph Caleb Auditorium and Productive Hands Inc. will present “A Kwanzaa Experience” from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 29, at the Joseph Caleb Auditorium, 5400 NW 22nd Ave. in Miami’s Liberty City community.

This celebration will include cultural performances, food and explanation of the history and origin of Kwanzaa. To be a part of the celebration, take along your favorite covered dish. For vendor space or more information, call the Diaspora Arts Coalition at 305-244- 2158 or the Caleb Auditorium at 305-636-2350.

An art exhibition will also be among events during the week in Miami- Dade County, sponsored by the Kuumba Artists Collective of South Florida. The group’s annual Kuumba Kwanzaa Art Exhibition will open with a reception at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 22, and the showing will run through Jan. 17 in the Amadlozi Gallery at the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center, 2166 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard (Northwest 62nd Street and 22nd Avenue.)

The actual celebration will be launched at 6 p.m. Monday, Dec. 26, in the Wendell A. Narcisse Theater at the center and run through Jan. 1, celebrating the first of the Seven Principles (Nguzo Saba) of community values, which is Umoja or Unity. Each of the following days represents a Principle as well: Self Determination (Kujichagulia), Collective Work and Responsibility (Ujima), Cooperative Economics (Ujamaa), Purpose (Nia), Creativity (Kuumba), and Faith (Imani).

The Kwanzaa celebration was created in 1966, during the Black Consciousness movement, by Ron Karenga, using the Kiswahili language of East Africa and Central Africa because it is a language of unity, which belongs to no one particular nation or tribe.

The name is derived from “kwanza,” which means “first,” and refers to the “first fruits” of the harvest. The celebration is based on the traditional African yam festivals, when time is taken between the harvesting of crops and the planting of the new season to give thanks, honor the ancestors, inspire youth, visit family and friends and exchange gifts.


The Children of Kuumba group will perform during the Kwanzaa celebration slated for Wednesday, Dec. 28, at the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center, 2650 Sistrunk Blvd., Fort Lauderdale.