To Kwanzaa or Not to Kwanzaa? Do You Kwanzaa? Two different views


“WHY I DON’T DO KWANZAA” BY Bruce Dixon, Black Agenda Report managing editor:

I don’t do Kwaanza, I just don’t. I never have, and the very thought of it evokes some difficult memories and feelings for me. It’s not the holiday’s religious trappings or its Afro-syncretic fusion of Jewish menorahs, Swahili words, Kemetic, Christian and other rituals. I understand people do have a perfect human right to adopt or make up the cultural and religious practices that suit them. Rastafarianism, Voudon and Candomblé all borrow from multiple traditions, as does Islam from Judaism and Christianity, and Christianity from Judaism, Greek and Roman sources, and so on. So I have no quarrel whatsoever with those who celebrate and find value in Kwaanza.

But for many of us who took part in or were simply aware of the Black Panther Party in the late 60s and early 70s, the Kwaanza holiday is inseparable from the career and persona of its inventor, Ron Karenga, now a tenured professor in California. Back in the day, Karenga headed up an organization called US. As a tool of COINTELPRO, the federal counterintelligence program directed at movement organizations, Karenga’s US organization murdered 2 leading members of the Black Panther Party in Los Angeles, Alprentice “Bunchy” Carter and John Huggins, and 2 more in San Diego, Sylvester Bell and John Savage. To my knowledge, Mr. Karenga has never expressed the faintest remorse or regret for these murders, or for his part in furthering the nefarious aims of federal and local police agencies in their assault upon the movement of those times.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE: http://blackagendareport.com/node/14576

“Why You Need To Do Kwanzaa: Misconceptions, Propaganda and Afrikan Liberation” by Ajamu Nangwaya

There is an annual year-end ritual that I have been observing on Facebook and in offline spaces: intense, partisan or emotional commentaries from across the ideological and political spectrum on the holiday of Kwanzaa and its controversial creator and university professor Maulana Karenga. Kwanzaa was first celebrated in 1966, and it goes from December 26th to January 1st. The Nguzo Saba or Seven Principles are at the heart of the holiday, and they reflect collectivistic, humanistic, oppositional and transformative values that are critical to any movement for Afrikan liberation. These principles are relevant to the struggle for the emancipation of enchained humanity.

Bruce Dixon, Black Agenda Report’s managing editor and columnist, and former member of the Black Panther Party (BPP), recently wrote an essay “Why I Don’t Do Kwanzaa” that has generated a fair degree of discussion on Facebook. It could become an essay that sparks a deeper examination of Maulana Karenga, his US organization and his activities during the Black Power period. I have read a number of comments from readers of the essay who have expressed their appreciation for the information on Karenga. It is my hope that the readers of the article will be inspired to do their own due diligence and come to an informed judgement at the end of this process.

READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE: http://www.mediacoop.ca/blog/ajamu-nangwaya/32540

GO TO THE OFFICIAL KWANZAA WEBSITE RIGHT HERE: http://www.officialkwanzaawebsite.org/index.shtml

kwanzaa photo



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