afri lady iii-wanda paulette_web.jpgKwanzaa is an observance that honors the family, community and culture of the African Diaspora. Celebrated for seven days from Thursday, Dec. 26 through Wednesday, Jan. 1, Kwanzaa’s origins are in the first harvest celebrations of Africa, from which it takes its name.

The observance, which includes a different principle in Swahili for each of its seven days, was created in 1966 by Maulana Karenga, during the black empowerment movement. Below is a list of several Kwanzaa community celebrations in South Florida.

Thursday, Dec. 19

Pre-Kwanzaa Concert: Old Dillard Museum and Next Weekend Productions present a Pre-Kwanzaa Celebration, starting at 7 p.m. Guests will enjoy the music of Jean Caze plus a skit featuring the Children of Kuumba. RSVP to the free event at 754-322-8828.

Thursday, Dec. 26

Kwanzaa Potluck: The Diaspora Arts Coalition is hosting “A Kwanzaa Experience,” a Kwanzaa potluck. Attendees should bring their favorite covered dish for a traditional Kwanzaa family dinner. Gather up and bring your travel size, toiletries (deodorant, toothpaste, mouthwash, etc.) and socks to benefit the Miami Rescue Mission, which serves homeless men, women and children in our community. The potluck is from 6:30 – 9:30 p.m., at the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center, 6161 NW 22nd Ave. Miami. “A Kwanzaa Experience” is presented in part by Miami-Dade Department of Cultural Affairs; The Cultural Affairs Council; the Mayor and the Board of County Commissioners. For info: 786-237-5079 or

 Saturday, Dec. 28

Special Performance: Community Builders HDC in Collaboration with The Miami-Dade Chapter of the Florida A&M University National Alumi Association presents the 24th Annual Mary Williams Woodard Legacy Kwanzaa Celebration. The free event features a performance by Prince Emmanuel Aderele and OsunDara Yorùbá Dance Theater. Come and enjoy free food, music and dance from 4– 7 p.m., at the African Heritage Cultural Art Center, 6161 NW 22nd Ave., Miami.

All-Day Celebration: The African-American Research Library and Cultural Center invites you to an all-day – 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. – Kwanzaa celebration. The celebration of Kwanzaa is one of the highlights of the year at AARLCC. This year’s Kwanzaa event is titled “Ubuntu: I Am Because We Are.” Admission is free. Vendors in the lobby will be marketing their one-of-a-kind items of jewelry, clothing and ornaments as special gifts. This event is sponsored by the Friends of the African-American Research Library and Cultural Center. The African-American Research Library and Cultural Center is located at 2650 Sistrunk Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Call the Welcome Desk at 954-357-6210.
This year’s Kwanzaa coordinator is Nzingah Oniwosan, a local artist. She says this event is designed for “connecting people, families and communities.” The program consists of workshops and panels that tie into the Seven Principles of Kwanzaa (Ngozo Saba).
Here is a list of activities  scheduled throughout the day:         • Ubuntu Performance                     
featuring Djian Tie, DMTL Academy and more
•    African Dance Workshop with Djian Tie
•    Business 101 Entrepreneur Panel
•    African Clothing and Head Wrapping 101
•    African Fashion Show sponsored by Ankara Miami
•  Code Fever Miami: Children’s coding workshop
•     Yoga Class with Sista Idya
•     Vision Board Workshop
•    Healthy Choices: On Becoming a Healthier You
•     Zawadi: Gift Making Workshop
Tuesday, Dec. 31

Talent Show: Come out to see a presentation of the Nguzo Saba [Seven Principles] and a Kuumba [Creativity] Talent Show, 1:30 – 3:30 p.m., at the South Regional/Broward College Library, 7300 Pines Blvd., Pembroke Pines. Call 954-201-8825.

Kwanzaa Kuumba Celebration: Pay homage to the sixth day of Kwanzaa at Bass Park, 2750 NW 19th St., Fort Lauderdale. Kuumba, which means creativity, will be celebrated through dance, storytelling, art exhibits and stage performances. The day will culminate with the taste of karamu, which means feast. The event, from 1 – 5 p.m., is free and presented by the City of Fort Lauderdale. For other information call 954-828-6019.

Through Jan. 1

Art Exhibit: The Kuumba Annual Kwanzaa Art Exhibition, featuring affordable art for the gift-giving season and dedicated this year to the legacy of Nelson Mandela, opened on Dec. 12, in Amadlozi Gallery at the African Heritage Cultural Arts Center, 2166 Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., Miami.

The exhibition will remain on display until January 1 the final day of the week-long observance of Kwanzaa. Admission is free.  Gallery hours are from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, and by appointment. For further information, call 305-638-6771 or 305-904-7620.