Self determination: Kujichagulia


Habari Gani?  What’s news?  Today is the second day of Kwanzaa. The principle for today is Kujichagulia a Swahili word for self-determination. It means to define, name, create, and speak for ourselves. Kwanzaa is about a celebration of culture and can also be used as means to enhance knowledge of self.This is  especially  important for those of us who are of the diaspora. The diaspora is a scattering of people away from their ancestral homelands. Before colonization and the Black Holocaust we were proudly and prosperously African. Once we came to North America in 1619 we became Black, Negro, Niggers, and now African-American. We were meant to be great and we can return to that greatness through knowledge of self.

(1) We must define ourselves. One way to define ourselves as a people is by aligning ourselves with the excellent standards and principles that our honorable ancestors have set forth. As part of reclaiming my identity and increasing knowledge of self, I went through a renaming process. I am grateful for the experience during my journey. Your path may not call for a literal naming process. (2) However, as a people we should name ourselves. A name is something you answer to. In other words, a name is a word or a combination of words by which a person, place, or thing, a body or class, or any object of thought is designated, called, or known. How are we known as a people in this country and around the world?  What part of the responsiblity are we willing to accept for our reputation? We should only respond to and address each other with names of respect and dignity. Committing to live a lifestyle of dignity has the ability to transform what we think about ourselves, how others perceive us and by what names we are called. What’s popular isn’t always right and what’s right isn’t always popular.(3) We can continue to create for ourselves. Our history is filled with examples of our wonderful creativity. Even during our greatest suffering we resiliently created many devices to make work easier–since we were doing all the service jobs and manual labor. Necessity is the mother of invention. The innate ability to create is part of who are as original people. Others have borrowed and stolen from our artistic expression, mathematical prowess and scientific discoveries for centuries. Well, imitation is supposed to be the sincerest form of flattery. Study ancient Kemet and discover the awe-inspiring  ability that we are really made of. Awesome creative ability is in our DNA. The creative contributions of Africans in Kemet are innumerable and mind-boggling.  Let’s create for ourselves and enjoy another level of consciousness. Let’s create in our community and provide places for empowerment and expressions of love and fellowship. (4) Let’s speak for ourselves. We can be the change we want to see. Rather than waiting on someone else to speak up we can take responsiblity to speak up ourselves. If we do not speak up business as usual will continue for the benefit of everyone else but us.

I have posted this video because simply because there is truth here that must be heard and understood if we want to  move forward with the seven principles of Kwanzaa 365 days a year. I am moved each time I watch the video.


In peace and love,

Dr. Free

 Authentic thoughts are thoughts that are genuine and sincerely expressed. Authentic thoughts reverberate with other authentic individuals so they have an irresistible urge to ponder and or respectfully respond from their own unique perspective.

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Author: Dr. Free

Dr. Free is a veteran educator. Her area of expertise is African-centered education consulting. She is a life learner who is passionate about truth, liberation, and justice. Dr. Free strives to be true to herself. She expresses herself in a way that enhances the lives of others and she enjoys giving others the space and encouragment to do the same.

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