The name Kwanzaa derives from the Swahili phrase 'matunda ya kwanzaa', meaning "first fruits of the harvest." The choice of Swahili, an East African language, reflects its status as a symbol of Pan-Africanism, especially in the 1960s.
Kwanzaa celebrates what its founder, Maulana Karenga, called the seven principles of Kwanzaa, or Nguzo Saba (originally Nguzu Saba; the seven principles of blackness), which Karenga said "is a communitarian African philosophy," consisting of what Karenga called "the best of African thought and practice in constant exchange with the world."
These seven principles comprise Kawaida, a Swahili term for tradition and reason. They are:
- Umoja (unity)
- Kujichagulia (self-determination)
- Ujima (collective work and responsibility)
- Ujamaa (cooperative economics)
- Nia (purpose)
- Kuumba (creativity)
- and Imani (faith)
Every year, Community Empowerment Association celebrates Kwanzaa in the spirit of the seven principles. Last year we had more than 700 people from all over Pittsburgh, as far as McKeesport.
This year's event features performances by the BALAFON West African Dance Ensemble, the master drummers, and specialty. Other activities included additional performances of dance and drumming, children's arts & cultrual activities, Community Building Awards ceremony and more.