The Nguzo Saba: A Way of Life (Kwanzaa 365)

Trying to practice the Nguzo Saba year round? I’ve talked to a few parents who are looking for ways to do just that. In doing so when Kwanzaa rolls around it’s all about celebrating what we’re consciously working at 365. Any ideas? Some folks find it helpful to keep their mishumaa saba/kinara visible all year. That way the whole family is constantly reminded of the Nguzo Saba.  Lighting the candles and pouring libation once a week or once a month (ie. new moon)  during a family meal can be beneficial. Older children often enjoy doing the lighting. Briefly going through the principles is a plus too. We can use the opportunity to reflect on the ways in which we practice them. The following books can also help:

http://www.amazon.com/Practicing-Kwanzaa-Round-Gwynelle-Dismukes/dp/1570671133    Practicing Kwanzaa Year Round by. G.Dismukes

http://www.amazon.com/Kwanzaa-Holiday-Every-Maitefa-Angaza/dp/0758216653  Kwanzaa: From Holiday to Every Day  by M.Angaza

P.S. – Many parents use the Nguzo Saba to ground their children all year. For eg. when planning family activities and correcting young ones the Nguzo Saba can be a useful tool.  That way our children learn how to use the principles on a regular basis. 

nguzo saba poster

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Birth Control: Depo Provera

Pfizer’s Depo Provera injectable contraceptive is the world’s deadliest birth control drug, and the US government has funded this product’s deliberate targeting at Black women in the African Diaspora and vulnerable women. Ironically, so-called African American elected and NAACP have done nothing to protect Black women or gladly received contributions from Pfizer the maker of Depo Provera. The NAACP and other black elected officials have known the FDA’s Black Box reports of the deadly contraceptive side effects that include greater risk of use leading to increased chances of developing breast cancer, osteoporosis, obesity, depression, and doubled risk of HIV infection. The liberality of Pfizer towards the NAACP has silenced this organization’s voice to the eugenic destruction of black women globally. In fact, the NAACP’s conflict of interests regarding the health of Black women and corporate money is best demonstrated by the fact that Pfizer has its executives on the association’s National and New York State Board of Directors—chief among these Mrs. Karen Boykin Towns.
 
The significant danger that Depo Provera poses to women that use this drug has been deliberately hidden from them by Planned Parenthood of America (PPA)—which has been partner with the NAACP time immemorial. PPA has targeted black women for the use of this deadly drug, while violating their patients’ rights by deliberately misleading and misinforming them about FDA documented risks and serious potential harm that Depo Provera use carries.
 
In Africa Dr. James Phillips, with the Population Council, conducted unethical human rights violating research on 9,000 women in Ghana with Depo Provera. The Population Council infamous Navrongo Experiment project did not inform the women that they were human subjects in an experiment nor the serious side effects of Depo Provera. In America, many black women are coerced into taking Depo Provera to prevent future births immediately following births or abortions. Depo Provera is rarely administered to white females anywhere.
 
We must act to abolish the federal funding of Depo Provera and outlaw its use in the United States herewith. Further, we must demand that Planned Parenthood of America be fined for its improper use of this drug and be cut off from further federal funding. We must demand that the USAID and all other international agencies of the United States be banned from the selling, contributing, or promoting Depo Provera. We must demand that all human experimentation—especially those of a eugenics/population control focus—be ceased and outlawed. Finally, we must demand that the officials of the National NAACP Board of Directors (Ben Jealous and Hazel Dukes, in particular) and those of New York State resign herewith, and the same is true for members of the Congressional Black Caucus that have taken funds from Pfizer since 2004. Concerned citizens can burn their NAACP membership cards and become part of the No More Genocide in America coalition.
 

Teachable Moment: Christmas/Lidet/Ka-Rast Mass

So your household doesn’t celebrate Christmas yet your child(ren) want to gain a better understanding. Is that the scoop? Hmmm. Ever considered taking them to one or two Christmas events/services? Churches like the following are a great start for these teachable moments:

http://www.bethelbloomfield.org/

http://www.theholyqubticchurch.org/

http://trinitychicago.org/

http://www.medhanialem.org/

Now when you attend remember that you’re not obliged to engage in any aspect of the programme that doesn’t speak to you. Try (your absolute best) to be respectful though. Have a good conversation on the way home. Encourage your children to ask questions etc. Inform your youths about the roots of Christmas (Christian & otherwise) and reinforce why it’s a holiday that you choose not to celebrate.

P.S. – You may not want to do this until your children are sufficiently grounded in your immediate family’s traditions (read: whatever you are raising your children on ie. solstices/equinoxes, Kwanzaa, Garvey Day etc).  The same applies for any other tradition or holiday that you don’t celebrate.

Just ’cause you go to Kwanzaa events …

doesn’t mean you actually celebrate Kwanzaa. Not by a long shot.  Over the years I’ve met many people who attend Kwanzaa events. That’s nice. Let me be clear though. Celebrating Kwanzaa on a personal level in our own homes is one thing whilst attending Kwanzaa events is another. Of course some Kwanzaa celebrants head to events on occasion. True dat. Kwanzaa events are never a replacement for intimate, home-based gatherings though.  For celebrants, observing the holiday with friends & family (and building on it each year) is our focus.  Many of us are creating unique Kwanzaa traditions that we hope will be passed onto our grands, great-grands etc. We are all about the business of making Kwanzaa vibrant, colourful & fun so suffice it to say that lighting the Mishumaa Saba (candles) and discussing the Nguzo Saba (principles) isn’t quite enough. We get IN! We’re not trying to “get Afrikan” (whatever that means) for 7 days. We don’t adorn ourselves in our cultural attire like it’s some sorta costume. Certainly not! Trust me, we already know who we are. Kwanzaa is simply a time to celebrate ourselves  and the best of what our culture (ancient & contemporary) offers.

What are some of your family’s Kwanzaa traditions?  Here are a few you may dig:

– Make a special dessert a day or two before Kwanzaa. Enjoy them for Kwanzaa eve (Dec.25).  Ankh/Africa/Heart/Star-shaped cookies may go over well in your house. Gingerbread wo/men ones are cool too. Decorate them with raisins, RBG sprinkles etc. Stay up a little later than usual that night. Play some games, make a few cards, pump up some music & dance/sing, catch a movie, finish making those zawadi etc. Have some good ol’ fashioned family FUN!!!

– How ’bout blessing your children with treat bags on the morning of Dec.26? They’ll LOVE it!! Here’s how. Get a small brown paper bag for each child in your household. Decorate each bag in a culturally appropriate manner. No “artists” necessary. Place a few treats inside each bag. Suggestions are homemade popcorn & cookies, fresh and/or dried fruit, 1-2 pieces of candy, a small book, a relevant colouring/activity page, stickers, an ancestral quote/affirmation or two, a knitted/crocheted item. Place the bag(s) on or outside their bedroom door(s) after they’ve gone to sleep on Kwanzaa eve. Another idea is to hide the bags somewhere in your home. Your children will find/open them in the morning (Dec.26).

– Have a special breakfast on one of the 7 days. Some like to do this for Umoja (Dec.26). Whatever works for your family is fine. Remember to include some RBG foods ie. pancakes topped with homemade (green) applesauce along with blackberries, raspberries, strawberries.  A fruit salad with lots of RBG fruit may go over well too.

– Consider giving your child(ren) a gift per day. That is, 7 small gifts for each child.

P.S.- Better believe we exchange zawadi (gifts). Many of us even wrap our gifts in pretty fabric or reused wrapping paper/gift bags.

Kwanzaa treat bags

Divine Lovemaking: Our sexual health

Check out Queen Afua’s latest book, Man Heal Thyself, when you can. “Sacred Woman” and ” Heal Thyself” are great resources for this subject too.

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/sellassie/message/487

https://blacksupremacylovenunity.wordpress.com/2013/12/29/each-time-a-man-connects-with-a-woman-sexually-and-releases-his-life-form-energy-within-her-he-leaves-a-part-of-his-information-dna-in-her-birth-canal/

P.S.- For more info. check out the “Tao of Sexology” or other Tao books. They’re awesome!!!!

To wrap or not to wrap? That’s the question

So the holidays are almost here!! Woohoo!!!! Do you exchange gifts? I most certainly do. Sometimes I wrap them and other times I don’t. Whenever I decide to wrap presents I like to use old newspaper or fabric. Put that fabric to work over & over again. On occasion I reuse a gift bag or two (so save ’em whenever you get ’em). Gotta be green right? Most def. Check out these clips for ideas:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Scw13WHg_ao

 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7UTIMGoUiZI

Happy Solstice! Merry Christmas/Melkam Lidet! Heri za Kwanzaa!

P.S.- Want to include notes for those special people in your lives? Send e-cards or better still make your own.