A principle is a rule or law that governs conduct in a given situation.
The Nguzo Saba are the set of principles/values by which Black Americans
must order their relations and live their lives, if they are to make
decisions about their lives and begin to build a new world and a new
people to develop it. As a product of tradition and reason of history,
the Nguzo Saba responds to current needs which can be the method used by
Blacks to solve the problems on every level which confronts us as a
Thus, the Nguzo Saba are social and spiritual principles,
dealing with ways for us to relate to each other and rebuild our lives
in our own images.
Nguzo Saba (social
and spiritual principles) and the Seven Days of Kwanzaa:
(oo-MOE-jah) - To strive for and maintain unity in the family,
community, nation and race.
The first day of
Kwanza is shaped by the first principle of the festival, Umoja (oo-MOH-ja),
or unity. Emphasis is given on finding unity in the family,
community, nation and race. Children can practice this principle by
making an effort to get along with one another all day.
(SELF DETERMINATION) (koo-jee-cha-goo-LEE-ah) - To define ourselves,
name ourselves, create for ourselves and speak for ourselves.
On the second day
of Kwanzaa, parents might teach their children about making
responsible decisions for themselves by allowing them to plan their
activities for the day. Practicing self-determination teaches the
children that the decisions they make are very important.
WORK AND RESPONSIBILITY) (oo-JEE-mah) - To build and maintain our
community together and to make our brothers' and sisters' problems
our problems and to solve them together.
On the third day,
people remember the third principle of Kwanzaa, Ujima (oo-JEE-mah),
or collective work and responsibility. Families can demonstrate this
important value by working together to prepare for the Kwanzaa
celebration, cleaning out the garage together, or any other task
completed as a group.
(COOPERATIVE ECONOMICS) (oo-JAH-mah) - To build and maintain our own
stores, shops and other businesses and to profit together from them.
or collective economics, is the fourth principle of Kwanzaa. A
simple expression of Ujamaa is to patronize a business owned or
managed by an African-American.
(nee-AH) - To make as our collective vocation the building and
developing of our community in order to restore our people to their
The fifth day of
Kwanzaa is governed by Nia (NEE-ah), or purpose. The goal of the
fifth principle is to restore black people to their traditional
greatness through collective development of the community. This
means getting involved in the community, helping others, being a
good neighbor, etc.
(CREATIVITY) (koo-OOM-bah) - To do always as much as we can, in the
way that we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and
when we inherited it.
The sixth principle
is Kuumba (koo-OOM-bah), or creativity. People demonstrate Kuumba by
doing as much as possible to leave the community more beautiful and
beneficial than when they first became a part of it. An integral part
of the day is the Kwanzaa feast, called karamu, which usually occurs
in the evening, but can also be an all-day event.
(FAITH) (ee-MAH-nee) - To believe with all our hearts in our parents,
teachers, our leaders, our people
and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.
The last of the seven
principles is imani (ee-MAH-nee), or faith. This value promotes faith
in the African-American race, the people, black leaders and the
righteousness of the African-American struggle.