Kwanzaa Overview
Kwanzaa, which celebrates African American and Pan African values, reinforces seven (7) basic values of African culture thatsupport and strengthenthe African American and African family, community and culture. These values are called the Nguzo Saba, which in Swahili means the Seven Principles. Developed by Dr. Maulana Karenga,these principles are at the heart of the meaning of Kwanzaa.


The 7 Kwanzaa values are the building blocks for community, and also the foundation that reinforces and enhances these values. They are:
–    Umoja (Unity)
–    Kujichagulia (Self-Determination)
–    Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility)

–    Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics)
–    Nia (Purpose)
–    Kuumba (Creativity)
–    Imani (Faith)

(The Seven Principles)

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 (CollectiveWork and Responsibility) – To build and maintain our community together and make our brother’s and sister’s 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.

Note: The official Kwanzaa website, at, also provides information about the Kwanzaa symbols, roots and branches, and greetings from Kwanzaa’s Founder, Dr. Maulana Karenga.