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Submitted by Rev. Ronald Nathan, World Politics Editor, The Star of Zion

Kwanzaa is an annual event that has taken place in America since 1966. It has become a source of inspiration and rejuvenation for groups in Africa, the Caribbean, Europe, South America, and the United States of America. Few groups have sought to apply the Nguzo Saba (seven principles of Kwanzaa) into a program of uplift all year round. Even less, have explored the possibilities of Kwanzaa, as a development model on a Pan African level. So, if we abandon the conventional-capitalist model, what would a Kwanzaa development model look like?

Principle One: Umoja (Unity) The creation of a supranational organization around the concept of Pan-Africanism. This would call for the African Union to expand the organization six regions. It will commit with the Caribbean so that it acts in unison at International governmental agencies such as the United Nations, International Monetary Fund, and the World Health Organization.

Principle Two: Kujichagulia (Self Determination) emphasizes the building of our identity and communities. This can give new resonance and impetus to the Black Lives Matter Movement agenda as a Pan African identity project speaking to who we are.

Principle Three: Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility) can undergird our efforts in taking responsibility for what is happening in our communities and devising our own solutions. This applies as much to black communities in the African Diaspora and to the fifty-five nations on the African continent.

Principle Four: Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics) would set about creating, enhancing, and financing trade and investment relationships within Africa and from African diaspora communities. Creating wealth, reducing poverty, and building our economic capacity including cryptocurrencies has to be our goal.

Principle Five: Nia (Purpose) this encourages the idea of us having agency at a time when so many persons of Africa origin and descent feel helpless and hopeless in the face of white supremacy and the other challenges we face. We can and must establish goals that all contribute to the African Union’s 2063 agenda.

Principle Six: Kuumba (Creativity) African creativity past and present must be repurposed to imbue into our individual and collective consciences and communities a sense of our value and worth. We must celebrate our contributions to the world and facilitate our ability to proactively produce that which enhances our place in the future through the creative arts.

Principle Seven: Imani (Faith) We must continue to feed our African spiritual selves resulting in faith in God, community, and self. This must produce resilience and light to identify and push back the dark forces that keeps coming against us and wishing to reduce us to sub-human existences.

Let us place the Mishumaa Saba (seven Kwanzaa candles) on the Mkeka (mat) and share our Zawadi (gifts) this Kwanzaa. Let us extend Kwanzaa from a seven-day festive period, December 26 to January 1, to a year-round intentional programme. Furthermore, let us upgrade the application of Kwanzaa from the familial and communal to international (Pan African) in scope.

Happy Kwanzaa!

Rev. Ronald A. Nathan the Star of Zion World Politics editor and senior minister of the Hoggard AME Zion Church, Jackson St. Michael, Barbados.


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