'Kwanzaa is our own Christmas'

Vusi Ndlovu

Vusi Ndlovu

Just as we came out of Christmas - a Eurocentric and commercialised version - last week, proponents of African tradition, religion and culture have just finished their own festival, Kwanzaa, on New Year's Day.

The seven-day annual event was this year celebrated in Johannesburg. Organised by the Rastafarian United Movement (RUM) and Global African Congress (GAC), hundreds of African value-system believers met in Florida on the West Rand and Montgomery Park in Johannesburg.

Kwanzaa, also known as the celebration of the First Fruit, is held from December 26 to January 1 - a period in which the first harvest is reaped after the seasonal cultivations in September. Each day has its principle - which are unity, self-determination, collective security, economics, purpose, creativity and faith.

Ras Elija Phekani of RUM said yesterday that there were discussions to include love as an added principle.

"We need love because everything we do, we should do with love," Phekani said.

He said they conduct lectures during the celebrations as to why Kwanzaa has to be celebrated.

"We get around the communal tables, share food and teach younger people about the importance of Kwanzaa. It is a unifying course," Phekani said.