Kwanzaa is now observed as a national holiday by countless people in homes schools and public and private institutions across the United States. Like African American History Month, Kwanzaa is a part of the cultural fabric of America and is a special time for African Americans to celebrate the joys of family and community, to African their humanity, to take inventory of what they have accomplished, beginning with the family and extending to the national African American community, and to recommit themselves to practicing the guiding principles of family and community- the Seven Principles.
PRINCIPLE 4. SHARED WEALTH
UJAMAA (00-JAH-MAH) COOPERATIVE ECONOMICS: To build and maintain our own stores, shops and other businesses and profit from them together.
Out of the fundamental concepts of “African Communal Living” comes the fourth principle of Kwanzaa. In a community or family, wealth and resources should be shared. On the national level, cooperative economics can help African Americans take physical control of their own destinies. On this day, ideas should be shared and discussed for cooperative economic efforts to provide for needs as related to housing, education, food, day care, health, transportation and other goods and services.
The Ujamaa principle empowers families to come together around their collective economic interest and to see their economic strength in sharing resources and cooperative investing, buying, and selling. Moreover, the moral ties necessary to achieve and practice the Ujamaa principle obligate those who live in the community to support, care for and look out for each other and to see the interest of the each person as tied to the interest of the family and community. In a word, wealth and resources should be shared.
Instruction: Explain and discuss the possibility cooperative economic can have in your family or community and how this cooperative economic can strengthen your community.
A bird builds with the feathers of others.
Explanation: No-one can be totally self-sufficient.
Mũkoma and his Wife
People of the land known as “We Shall Eat Together” lived in harmony with one another. When there was famine and when there was no famine, they shared whatever they had. Often they had visitors, although they were not aware the visitors were to come. The people served the visitors with whatever food was prepared or else they cooked fresh food for them.
But Mũkoma and his wife were gluttonous. Whenever they heard a visitor coming to the house, Mũkoma would say to his wife, “My love, hide the food on the utaa. There is a visitor coming and he or she should not find us eating.” Then after the visitor left, Mũkoma would tell his wife, “Bring the food and let’s resume eating. The visitor is gone.”
One day, a neighbor named Mũtondo went to Mũkoma’s house at night. He called when he arrived at the door saying, “Who is here in this home of Mũkoma?” Immediately, Mũkoma told his wife to hide the food because Mũtondo was there.
Unfortunately, Mũtondo heard Mũkoma’s words. When Mũkoma’s wife had hidden the food, he said, “We are home; come in.”
Meanwhile, Mũtondo was thinking, “So, Mũkoma and his wife hide their food up on the utaa whenever they hear a visitor coming.”
A few days later, Mũkoma became sick and died. His wife went to Mũtondo seeking for advice and told him, “My husband has died. Come and show me what to do with his body.”
Mũtondo replied to Mũkoma’s wife saying, “Go and do with the body what you both used to do with food whenever a visitor cam to your home.”
Mũkoma – Common name derived from the act of sleeping. It can literally be translated: “as one who sleeps.”
Mũtondo – Watery soil along water course.
Utaa – A small structure constructed inside the house. It was high enough for one not to see clearly what is on it from considerable distance.
Moral of the Story: It is important to share. Bad consequences may befall those who enjoy their earthly possessions alone, especially when they are in environment that support community spirit.
Yoruba of Nigeria Riddle:
When does a man run through thornbushes?
Answer: When something is chasing him.
Black Baseball Leagues
During the period of American history known as “Jim Crow”, one of the most thriving institutions in black life was the Black Baseball Leagues. The leagues enriched the quality of life in the black communities across the United States. The leagues enriched the quality of life in the black communities across the United States. The leagues were among the largest black businesses in the United States. A by-product of the leagues was the network of businesses, rooming houses, cafes, sewing factories which served and supported the leagues.
Instruction: Question and Answer
Discuss the historic Black Baseball Leagues. Name the ball player of the “Negro” League who integrated Major League Baseball. How was the Black Baseball Leagues an expression of the principle Cooperative Economic?
Learning Opportunity: Kwanzaa Symbol
Crops/Mazao: Work, Study and Achievement
This symbol represents rewards that come from the collective and shared labor and love of the family and community. Communities that share resources- collectively parent, pool finances to sponsor children and youth, sponsor youth and community events- have greater capacity to impact the quality of life in their communities.
Cooperative Economic Day
Candle Lighting: On the fourth day of Kwanzaa the family or classroom students light the next red candle.
Birthday celebrations- When celebrating a family member’s birthday give the other members of the family a small gift. Be sure to stress that this is form of sharing and profiting together as a family or class.
Investment Group: Starting small, form an investment group with friends or family members. Schools can also form investment groups using “play money” as an exercise to demonstrate the benefit of sharing wealth.
Family Fund: Establish a fund or account for your family. Have each family member contribute something no matter how small. At the end of the month, year or a designated time, decided as a family what you want to do with the money save. Everyone has a voice and choice in the decision.