Jaku Konbit hosts Kwanzaa celebration

Youthful Jaku Konbit member lights one of the symbolic candles Photo copyright Black Ottawa Scene

Sunday 29 December 2019

Over a hundred people were at the Ukranian Banquet centre on Byron Avenue last Sunday to celebrate the 2019 Kwanzaa festival. It was hosted by Jaku Konbit, Ottawa’s pioneer youth-centred organisation, under the indefatigable leadership of its President Ken Campbell. The event featured the traditional lighting of seven candles, pouring of the libation in honour of our ancestors and cultural dancing and entertainment. Keynote speaker was Councillor Rawlson King, the first Black to be elected to the City of Ottawa Municipal Council.

American Maulana Karenga created Kwanzaa in 1966 as a specifically African-American holiday.  Karenga said his goal was to “give Blacks an alternative to the existing holiday and give Blacks an opportunity to celebrate themselves and their history, rather than simply imitate the practice of the dominant society.”

Each of the seven days of Kwanzaa is dedicated to one of the following principles, as follows:

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

For more information on Jaku Konbit, visit: http://www.jakukonbit.com/

All pics copyright Black Ottawa Scene

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