Habari Gani? Kujichagulia!
“If you borrow a man’s legs, you will go where he directs you” – African Proverb
The second day of Kwanzaa represents self-determination, or the idea that while we need to work together and stand as one, we must also speak and think for ourselves. But to be able to BE yourself, you have to KNOW who you are. Kujichagulia represents a knowing your history, our history.
So on the second night, we light the first red candle. Red represents the struggle that we have gone through, that our ancestors went through. Red also represents the work that needs to be done, both together and on our own, to create the environment we want our children to thrive in.
It’s been said countless times that if you do not know where you’ve been, you will not know where you are going. And if you do not know your history, how will you be able to define yourself?
The focus of Kujichagulia/Self-Determination should be on celebrating the achievements of our ancestors and our contemporaries because of their hard work. For example, not only would you discuss Marcus Garvey (ancestor), but also Ta-Nehesi Coates (contemporary) – past and present. Also discuss, what YOU want to achieve. What is your motivation and how do you plan to get there. Here are some things to do this day:
- Light the first RED candle as you ask and answer: Habari Gani? Kujichagulia. Then pour a drink in the Unity cup for those who have gone one before you in rememberence.
- Discuss the efforts of your contemporaries and leaders. For example, what are members of the Black community doing to lift themselves and their communities up? What are some major events and achievements?
- This day is about doing so, talk to your family and/or friends about what YOU plan to do in the coming year to reach your goals.
- If there are children around, have them decorate an African mask and also discuss what they want to achieve (long term or short term).