Kwanzaa: The Kuumba/Creativity Principle

December 9, 2012


Kuumba/Creativity: “Commitment, duty, and obligation to the practice of continuous improvement.”

Kwanzaa was created to introduce and reinforce the 7 Principles and reinforced the bonds of family and community.  The Seven Principles were viewed and still remain the “moral minimum” set of values which African Americans need to strengthen and make more effective families and family systems. The values embedded in the 7 Principles of Kwanzaa are interlocking and align together and synergistically produce an outcome greater than each of the values isolated individually.

To be sure, the 7 Principles habitually default in duties and responsibilities. Duties are how the individual members of the family and community see their socio-ethical roles in relation to the interest and welfare of others and responsibilities are the reciprocal obligations these members have to each other.

The Kuumba/Creativity principle demands that African Americans strive for continuous improvement in our personal and family lives. This principle pushes us to achieve at our highest potential. At the family level, each member makes a concerted effort to improve the life of the home and community.

Moreover, the Kuumba principle pushes children and adults to strive for continuous improvement, always looking to do better. This principle is central and essential to the restoration of academic excellence for African American youth.  Rediscovering an achievement ethic in education must continue to be a priority for blacks. This will come about through an achievement ethic which sees struggle or effort (Kwanzaa Red candle) as the pathway to learning, achieving, and human perfectibility.

A belief in continuous improvement, the perfectibility of African Americans, and indeed all humans, is essential if we are to accept the role of children and adults achieving at their human potential and beyond. George Washington Carver teaches us all that “No one has a right to come in to the world without leaving behind a distinct and legitimate reason for having passed though it”. Put differently, everything can be improved upon. It can be developed to be more than it has been.

The Kuumba/Creativity principle pushes against a “victimization” mentality. No matter what the circumstance, how difficult the task, how challenging the outcome, this principle demands perfectibility in that the failure of African American adults and children to make use of their divine and noble talents, to allow these talents to wane and waste away, is an act against the welfare of black people and humanity, and is also one of the greatest harm a people can inflict upon itself.

Therefore, during Kwanzaa, families and others take inventory and discuss: what they have done to improve their lives- personal and family, and what they will do in the coming year (recommitment) to practice the principle of Kuumba/Creativity in their daily lives.

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