Fifth Day of Kwanzaa:Purpose/Nia Day

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.


NIA (NEE-AH) PURPOSE:  To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.
The fifth day of Kwanzaa is a day for reviewing our purpose for living. Each family member should examine his/her ability to put his/her skill or talent to use In the service of the family and community at large. Take time to reflect on your expectations from life: discuss your desires and hopes with family and friends. On this day you should try to determine if this purpose will eventually result in positive achievements for family and community.

The Nia principle asks each person to be services or mission-driven on the behalf of their family, school, and community. The core concept and practice of the value Purpose is service.  Service to others, family school, community and the nation is what defines who we are and our possibilities for developing communities that provide the context for families and children to thrive and flourish. Each member of the family, school, or community is asked to examine his/her skills or talents and determine how he/she will put forth those skills or talents in the service of the family, school, or community.

Instruction: Explain and discuss how increased family and community service can be of benefit to your family and community.

The ruin of a nation begins in the homes of its people.

Explanation: The destruction of the community nation starts in home.  Therefore, develop strong and productive families.

Masũnga and Kaindi

 A wife was the pillar of the home in the land called “We Arrived.”  Boys used to work hard to show that they were capable of supporting their wives and children.
 One day, Masũnga found a boy by the name of Kaindi sitting next to the road crying and asked him, “Kaindi, why are you crying?”
 Kaindi answered, “Father, I am crying because I don’t have a wife.”
 Masũnga said to him, “Stop crying.  I have a daughter who is looking for a husband.  I will let her be your wife.  How many cattle do you have for a dowry?”
 Kaindi said, “I don’t have any.”
 Masũnga asked him whether he had land, and he said that he didn’t.  He was asked if he had chickens, and he said no.  So, Masũnga knew that Kaindi did not have a wife because he did not have anything.  Masũnga told him, “Son, your situation is bad.  If you don’t have even the small things, then you will continue crying.”
 Masũnga – relate to one who dances
 Kaindi – Possibly a name that evolved after the coming of people from India to East Africa.

Moral of the Story: One should not sit and complain or cry instead of working or doing whatever is needed to progress.

Hausa of West Africa Riddle:
 Why is a man like pepper?
Answer: Until you have tested him, you can’t tell how strong he is.

Significant Event
The Election of Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States
The election of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States is truly a milestone in both African American History and the history of the United States. It, as said elsewhere, “marks a remarkable moment in our country’s history–a milestone in America’s scarred racial landscape and a victory for the forces of decency, diversity and tolerance.” Obama’s team and campaign respect for decency, dignity, and intelligence of the American people was reflected their organizing strategy and mantra-Respect, Empower, Include.” Engagement of ordinary, everyday American people and the historical possibility of electing the nation’s first African American president drove a record-shattering turnout, especially among African Americans and contributed to Obama’s decisive victory. Put another way, Obama’s election was the realization of so many people who fought for equality and justice in the 20th century and before.
Instruction: Question and Answer

Discuss the historical significance of the election of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States.  What lessons can be learned from this election?  How was this lesson an expression of the principle Purpose?


Learning Opportunity: Kwanzaa Symbol

Seven Candles/ Mishuuma Saba: Guiding Family Principles

This symbol represents the 7 Principles or Nguzo Saba. These seven values are the guiding principles and foundation for building strong and thriving families and productive communities.

Kwanzaa Activities/Values
Purpose Day

Candle Lighting: On the fifth day of Kwanzaa the family or classroom students light the next green candle.

Community Service Activities- Communities are made strong by and resourceful by volunteer service. Volunteer for a community service activity or project in your community and make a difference in your community.

School Service Activities- Like communities which schools are a part of, the success of schools are often determined by family/community linkage. Parents and students need to be active in their schools. Parents and students can organize school services events. Students and parents can volunteer time at the school and can be a resource for the school.

Local community based or faith-based organization- Community-based organizations are form natural supports for families and neighborhood residents. Make a pledge to support the community or civic organization of your choice.

Purpose Kwanzaa Commitment
Each family member or student declares opening declares what services he/she will provide to their family, community or school.


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2 Responses to “Fifth Day of Kwanzaa:Purpose/Nia Day”

  1. Mouse Says:

    Thanks for the article about Kwanzaa, I saw it on a news website but had no idea what it was/is. Looks like a good date to put in my calendar. It’s possible that the Ubuntu community, those of a open source operating system, might adopt this as a special day as its roots lie in African ethology also.

    Happy new year when it comes too!

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