Events, News

Kwanzaa 2012: Detroit Celebrations of African Heritage

2011 Kwanzaa celebration at The Wright Museum

Kwanzaa is celebrated each year between December 26 and January 1. Here in Detroit, across the country, in Canada and in parts of Africa many families gather to reflect, honor its founding principles and reaffirm the values of African heritage in African-American culture.

Gatherings across the area over the seven days give everyone a chance to experience, learn and grow their understanding and connect to African roots.

The non-religious celebration was started in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga and continues some 46 years later. Dr. Karenga described the holiday as “a way to reaffirm the communitarian vision and values of African culture and to contribute to its restoration among African peoples in the Diaspora.” It does not replace Christmas. It is simply a celebration of heritage.

It is based on seven principles, known as the Nguzo Saba: Umoja (Unity); Kujichagulia (Self-Determination); Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility); Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics); Nia (Purpose); Kuumba (Creativity); and Tmani (Faith).

Kwanzaa Kinara candle holder

Kwanzaa Kinara holds candles symbolizing the seven days/principles of the holiday. Courtesy of The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History.

Kwanzaa is modeled on first-fruits celebrations in ancient Africa. Those taking part gather in private homes, community centers and churches where they pour libations, enjoy cultural entertainment (traditional dance and readings), participate in the traditional candle lighting and, of course, daily explanations of the day’s principles.

“This is a cultural celebration,” says Anemashaun Bomani, regional director of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, who describes the importance of what takes place over the seven days. “It’s not enough to simply be proud as African-Americans. We have to celebrate and keep alive in future generations the greatness of our people and our origins.”

Here are several locations in Detroit where all are welcome to participate:

Umoja (Unity), Wednesday, December 26

  • Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History (315 East Warren Avenue, Detroit, MI 48201), 6:00 – 9:00 PM. The museum will hold its annual celebration beginning with a candle lighting ceremony. There will also be storytelling, musical performances and a special Kwanzaa marketplace. Presented in partnership with Shrine of the Black Madonna Cultural Center and Bookstore. The Wright museum will also hold one other event on Sunday, December 30 (see below). Both events free of charge and open to the public. For more information call (313) 494-5800
  • Alkebu-Lan village (7701 Harper Avenue, Detroit, MI 48213), 6:00 – 9:00 PM. Libations, entertainment, candle lighting and an explanation of the day’s principle. Hosts: Inner City Sub-Center, Million Man Alumni Assoc, Alkebu-Lan Village. (313) 921-1616
  • Nandi’s Knowledge Cafe (12511 Woodward Ave, Highland Park, MI 48203), 6:00 – 8:00. Pot-Luck (313) 865-1288.

Kujichagulia (Self-Determination), Thursday, December 27

  • Malcolm X Grassroots Movement – (11825 Dexter, Detroit, MI – Dexter Elmhurst Center), 5:30 – 8:00 PM. Vendors are welcome. Call (313) 304-3915 for more information.
  • Caribbean Kwanzaa Chat & Chew (3670 Woodward Ave at Mack, Detroit, MI), 4:00 – 7:00PM Host Raven Regina. (313) 396-5345
  • Nandi’s Knowledge Cafe (12511 Woodward Ave, Highland Park, MI 48203), 6:00 – 8:00. Pot-Luck (313) 865-1288

Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility), Friday, December 28

  • The Carr Center (311 E. Grand River Ave, Detroit, MI 48226), 7:00 PM-2:00 AM. Donations accepted. Hosts: Pam Grady, Clyde Stringer, Marion Hayden, George Hill and The Carr Center. (313) 965-8430
  • Nsoroma Institute (20045 Joann Street, Detroit, MI 48205) 7:00 – 9:00 PM (313) 521-0400
  • Nandi’s Knowledge Cafe (12511 Woodward Ave, Highland Park, MI 48203), 6:00 – 8:00. Pot-Luck (313) 865-1288.

Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics), Saturday, December 29

  • Eye of Heru – (11825 Dexter, Detroit, MI – Dexter Elmhurst Center), 6:00 – 9:00 PM. For more information, contact Kwadjo at (313) 218-4491
  • SanKofa Life (18734 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48203). Preview event and Kwanzaa ceremony. 2:00 – 6:00 PM
  • Nandi’s Knowledge Cafe, (12511 Woodward Ave, Highland Park, MI 48203), 4:00 – 6:00PM. Ujamaa Co-op Meet and Greet. (313) 865-1288
  • Nandi’s Knowledge Cafe (12511 Woodward Ave, Highland Park, MI 48203), 6:00 – 8:00. Pot-Luck (313) 865-1288.

Nia (Purpose), Sunday, December 30

  • The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History (315 East Warren Avenue, Detroit, Michigan 48201), 6:00 – 9:00PM. Storytelling, musical performances and a Kwanzaa marketplace.  Hosted by Khary WAE Frazer and featuring an African garb fashion show. This family-friendly event is FREE and open to the public. For more information, please call (313) 494-5800.
  • Nandi’s Knowledge Cafe (12511 Woodward Ave, Highland Park, MI 48203), 6:00 – 8:00. Pot-Luck (313) 865-1288.

Kuumba (Creativity), Monday, December 31

  • Fellowship Chapel (7707 West Outer Drive, Detroit, Michigan 48235), beginning at 9:00 PM. As part of its annual watch night service, Rev. Dr. Wendell Anthony will honor Kwanzaa and its principles. Singing, dancing and spoken word performances, as well as the annual Kwanzaa Ball following service. (313) 347-2820
  • Nandi’s Knowledge Cafe (12511 Woodward Ave, Highland Park, MI 48203), 6:00 – 8:00. Pot-Luck (313) 865-1288.

Tmani (Faith), Tuesday, January 1

  • Nandi’s Knowledge Cafe (12511 Woodward Ave, Highland Park, MI 48203), 6:00 – 8:00. Pot-Luck (313) 865-1288.

All of the events are free and open to the public. Make plans to attend one or all celebrations. As Bomani says, “These are principles we can all live by every day. They are vital in raising healthy, informed people.”

 

African Dancers celebrate culture and heritage

African Dancers celebrate culture and heritage at a Onwale Cultural Society event.

 

 

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