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7 Days of Holiday Blogging: Kuumba

Habari Gani, Villagers?
Kuumba, Habari Gani?

YAZZZZZZZZZZZ!!!! You've been Google'in!

The rare weekend post has come along again. & for a special treat, I have found an African who celebrates Kwanzaa, something/one else you all think is rare. I'm so excited about her participation. One, because I LOVE engaging my sisters in the things that they do well & there are quite of few eloquent writers in my mist. More than that though, is the sharing of perspectives, our personal stories & insight. I think it's important to hear from her, now, because it helps to further validate that everything starts from somewhere--a seed gets planted--but when it grows, its fruit can feed more than the who or whatever originally planted it. Kwanzaa has wide arms able to embrace you all. Even if you don't embrace it though, I hope we've shown that it is at least worthy of your respect at the table. So, I give you the words & experience of Mavhu Farai.

I am a first generation Zimbabwean American woman, married to an Afrikan man in America, we have three children two of whom are halfricans, as I call them, half African and half African American. They, being raised by a Pan Afrikanist father in his community, see themselves as Afrikans who happen to have a Zimbabwean mother which is interesting seeing as I, their Mother/Mama/Amai, don’t believe that there is such a thing as an Afrikan. I am not Afrikan, I am Zimbabwean/Shona/Zezuru and even more specifically Muhera, you can call me Vachihera. I was raised Christian, my husband was raised in a traditional Afrikan religion. He believes I am not in enough touch with my roots because I have no idea what it is like to have been cut off from them. I think he is at times grasping too tightly to his roots because your hand has to be a little open to receive. With all of the complications of self determination going on in our household one of the few things we all agree on is Kwanzaa. Kwanzaa reinforces who we are and the basic principles we want our children to have. Kwanzaa is as simple or as complicated as we, the family celebrating it want it to be.

I was asked to write this by a friend who called me “one of those unicorns--the African who celebrates Kwanzaa (no matter how it came to be or why).” She is right, I am that unicorn and I do celebrate Kwanzaa with pride. I am not going to go into the details of how Kwanzaa began or why, I will happily take the liberty (so easily taken by those who celebrate other major holidays worldwide) of assuming that everyone knows what Kwanzaa is and that if they don’t they will take a minute to open another tab and Google it.

Today my husband, children and I celebrate Kuumba, the 6th day of Kwanzaa. I chose to write about Kuumba because it’s the principle that brings to my mind the women in my family. I think of my oldest daughter, the one we are coaxing, cajoling, threatening and encouraging with the help of loans and couponing through her third year in Art school. She thinks she is just in art school getting a degree in fine arts but when she makes some crazy looking wall hanging that weaves over and under itself hundreds of times she is my paternal grandmother memorizing and perfecting tiny and complicated crochet doily patterns that she sells at the market to put my father through school. When she can’t stay away from shades of red in her paintings for weeks on end she is my maternal grandmother who at the end of a long day in her fields finds time to maintain neat rows of bright pink flowers on either side of the entrance to the hut that serves as her kitchen because she always understood what I am now just learning that every hardworking woman needs a little bit of something pretty just for herself every day. When my daughter is trying to figure out how to stretch the money she earns between her transport to school, her cell phone bill and her art supplies and then turns our recycling into a piece of art that gets her the only A in her class, she is my mother successfully executing one impossible business plan after another to stretch the families income because she does not see moving her four children from private school as an option. From intricately crocheted lace to flowers outside a kitchen door, creativity for my foremothers, and now for my daughter is not just a part of life it is a way of living. Habari Gani! Kuumba!

There were a few messages in there. You may need to go back & read it again. But through her Kuumba, her creativity, Mavhu spun them in with the ease of a spider. This is the time for you to assess how you creatively express yourself? What contributions do you make to the lives of those around you through your talents? If the answer, thus far, is nothing--how will you change that moving forward? The ways in which we express ourselves, through our creative talents, are like prayer. Each time we use them we say thank you for having them & affirm their value to ourselves, families & communities. Nurture the creative spark you see in a child. You never know what that child will do with it. Go back & 'Kofa (Sankofa) your own. Revive it & do it to death. Learn something new & explore its every possibility. & then share it with others.

In the meantime, check out www.swradioafrica.com to learn more about what's going on in Zimbabwe. Knowledge is power. Gitchu a piece.

One more day to go y'all. We're almost there. See you then?

Watch me move.

Post Script--I MUST shout out the ladies of 5 the Hard Way who have always & continue to use their Kuumba to perpetuate African traditions through West African dance & song, as well as the brothas who drum for & with them. You all teach, inspire, perform & amaze!!

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