Seven Days and Seven Principles

A principle is a rule or law that governs conduct in a given situation. The Nguzo Saba are the set of principles/values by which Black Americans must order their relations and live their lives, if they are to make decisions about their lives and begin to build a new world and a new people to develop it. As a product of tradition and reason of history, the Nguzo Saba responds to current needs which can be the method used by Blacks to solve the problems on every level which confronts us as a people.

Thus, the Nguzo Saba are social and spiritual principles, dealing with ways for us to relate to each other and rebuild our lives in our own images.  

Nguzo Saba (social and spiritual principles) and the Seven Days of Kwanzaa:

  1. UMOJA (UNITY) (oo-MOE-jah) - To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation and race.

    The first day of Kwanza is shaped by the first principle of the festival, Umoja (oo-MOH-ja), or unity. Emphasis is given on finding unity in the family, community, nation and race. Children can practice this principle by making an effort to get along with one another all day.


  2. KUJICHAGULIA (SELF DETERMINATION) (koo-jee-cha-goo-LEE-ah) - To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves and speak for ourselves.

    On the second day of Kwanzaa, parents might teach their children about making responsible decisions for themselves by allowing them to plan their activities for the day. Practicing self-determination teaches the children that the decisions they make are very important.


  3. UJIMA (COLLECTIVE WORK AND RESPONSIBILITY) (oo-JEE-mah) - To build and maintain our community together and to make our brothers' and sisters' problems our problems and to solve them together.

    On the third day, people remember the third principle of Kwanzaa, Ujima (oo-JEE-mah), or collective work and responsibility. Families can demonstrate this important value by working together to prepare for the Kwanzaa celebration, cleaning out the garage together, or any other task completed as a group.


  4. UJAMAA (COOPERATIVE ECONOMICS) (oo-JAH-mah) - To build and maintain our own stores, shops and other businesses and to profit together from them.

    Ujamaa (oo-jah-MAH) or collective economics, is the fourth principle of Kwanzaa. A simple expression of Ujamaa is to patronize a business owned or managed by an African-American.


  5. NIA (PURPOSE) (nee-AH) - To make as 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 governed by Nia (NEE-ah), or purpose. The goal of the fifth principle is to restore black people to their traditional greatness through collective development of the community. This means getting involved in the community, helping others, being a good neighbor, etc.

  VI    KUUMBA (CREATIVITY) (koo-OOM-bah) - To do always as much as we can, in the 
        way that we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than 
        when we inherited it.

The sixth principle is Kuumba (koo-OOM-bah), or creativity. People demonstrate Kuumba by doing as much as possible to leave the community more beautiful and beneficial than when they first became a part of it. An integral part of the day is the Kwanzaa feast, called karamu, which usually occurs in the evening, but can also be an all-day event.

 VII.  IMANI (FAITH) (ee-MAH-nee) - To believe with all our hearts in our parents, our
       teachers, our leaders, our people and the righteousness and victory of our struggle. 

The last of the seven principles is imani (ee-MAH-nee), or faith. This value promotes faith in the African-American race, the people, black leaders and the righteousness of the African-American struggle.