Last Updated on December 28, 2021 by BVN

Betty Muhammad | TransformAnation

It’s time to celebrate the first fruits of the harvest, a tradition handed down to us from our ancestors. Many were farmers who took great pride in planting, cultivating, and enjoying the fresh fruit and vegetables of their labor. Their gardens had to overcome hostile environments of unfriendly weather conditions, rain-soaked soil, lack of fertilizer, etc. Yet, the knowledge, skill, and determination of our ancestors produced a rich harvest; a harvest that provided them with their dietary needs, that instilled within them pride in their accomplishments, and reaffirmed their ability to annihilate all adversity.

They worked, sweated, toiled, and manifested the Ngubo Saba (the seven principles of African Heritage). Then, together, at harvest time, they celebrated the first fruits of their labor. However, the first fruits have a more symbolic meaning.

First fruits of the harvest (source: facebook.com).

We, of the African Diaspora, are the first fruits of all civilization. As people of a common history this special celebration reconnects us to our rich foundation and to the moral values that are the basis of a strong, and righteous nation—values like honesty, dignity, gratitude, respect, labor, and love.

Although we may not always exhibit these values as a people, they still live and are embedded deep within our being; encrusted between layers of oppressive laws, attitudes, and behaviors.

Like the gardens of our ancestors, we too struggle to overcome hostile environments; and like garden seeds, every obstacle strengthens us and drives us to emerge more indomitable. Each harvest brings us closer to producing a beautiful, united nation of people—architects of a new world of love, truth, justice, freedom, and peace.

The seven principles of the (Ngubo Saba) remind us of our commitment to one another, as well as our dedication and commitment to the legacy of those who have fought for our liberation, our freedom, and our independence.

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The lighting of seven candles during Kwanzaa (1 each day) affirms the seven principles of the holiday (source: pinterest.com)

Umoja, which is recognized and emphasized on the first day of Kwanzaa, focuses on our unity. At the foundation of unity, is LOVE. Jesus said that He had a NEW commandment for us, “That ye love one another…” (John 13:34). How do we accomplish unity without striving to love one another? How do we begin the process of loving one another? We can start by recognizing the God-given powers within each of us to overcome adversities.

One of the major adversities that exists within our family circles and throughout our community is our lack of positive endearing communication with each other; communication that recognizes, respects and honors the “essence” of our Creator, God Himself, within each of us. If we believe that we are the Children of the Most High God, then we MUST strive to see that essence in each other in order to be proud of uniting with each other.

When we meet or come together in Umoja, we should see the Children of God at work with each other striving to enjoy each other’s company. As a nation of people brought to the wilderness of North America, we must believe that the secret to our success lies in our realization that we must love each other enough to unite with one another.

Kujichagulia (self-determination), is our call to manifest self-determination, to recognize and exhibit our conquering spirit that is innate to our being. We demonstrate the desire to succeed, then build our will to do so. We cannot build the will if we have allowed desire to be crippled or buried. What do we want to build; a righteous nation; “thy kingdom come on earth?”

Ujiima, collective work and responsibility. How can we build without applying Ujiima? To successfully work together, we must become knowledgeable of the composition of our communities including the financial, educational, and professional resources that may be available to assist us. Frederick Douglass stated, “We cannot become contented by allowing anyone to “annihilate our power of reason.”

We must research, explore, and investigate so that we may define the common conditions that keep us from manifesting the God-Given powers innate to us as the Mothers, and Fathers of Civilization.

Ujamaa, cooperative economics, informs us of the need to apply our resources toward building our communities with educational institutions, businesses, and homes. Sacrificing time and money, as well as focusing our energies toward self-development is key in building healthy communities. We MUST commit to financially supporting our economic endeavors.

Nia, day five of Kwanzaa, focuses on the importance of helping our people understand that we are born into this world with a divine purpose. Since we all do not recognize our purpose, it is important to administer programs within our communities that serve to help each other realize his/her importance to the entire group; where each person may know, believe and feel how important he/she is to the entire group and its mission; where the function of education is not only to get a job but, from the mouth of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. “to teach one to think intensively and to think critically.”

And as Minister Louis Farrakhan asserts, “We are not here just to be here; we are all here to make a contribution to the onward march and evolutionary development of man in his pathway to God.”

Kuumba, emphasized on the sixth day of Kwanzaa, encourages the application of all these principles through the CREATIVITY that we inherited from our Father; our Creator. We must awaken these talents (musical, artistic, scientific, etc.) to present not only to each other, not only to our communities, but to the entire world as we work towards the complete upliftment and restoration of human society.

Imani, the last of the seven principles of Kwanzaa, summons us to display our faith in God, in ourselves and in our ability to overcome ALL adversity to our determination.

A candle is useless if it does not cast light. The lighting of a candle is metaphoric. The glow from its light symbolizes and generates hope, relaxes anxiety, refocuses our vision and helps us to see clearly.

So, as we light the candles of the Ngubo Saba, let us light 7 more candles.

A candle is useless if it does not cast light (source: pixel2013/freepik.com).

1.       For the thousands of Black youths whose darkened minds have driven them to bear arms and kill their young brothers and sisters, snatching from them light, and love and life. Let us light a candle of hope for them today.

2.  For the mothers and fathers who bear the scars of a wounded heart—sore from the loss of their sons and daughters, our Black babies, our future men and women, mothers and fathers. Let us light a candle of hope for them today.

3.  For the more than one million Black men incarcerated in jails and prisons throughout the United States; the fathers and the maintainers of our village; our Black men whose seeds have germinated and given birth to nations of people; who have been weakened by the darkness of the knowledge of themselves; the young Black men and women victimized by a hostile sector of society that seeks to shoot and kill them just because they exist. Let us light a candle of hope for them.

4. For the more than 30 thousand incarcerated Black women; the mothers of all civilization, the teachers, and nourishers of our babies; our future. Let us light a candle of hope for them.

5. For the thousands of Black men, women and children throughout the world plagued with Ebola, HIV/AIDS, COVID-19; outnumbering all other races as leaders of the most degenerative illnesses that are crippling, annihilating their lives, and eradicating their future. Let us light a candle of hope for them.

6.  For our young Black girls, growing in numbers as victims of prostitution rings, and sex slave markets; the future mothers of our villages. Let us light a candle of hope for them.

7.  For the youth who are striving to complete their educational goals, the educators, and other professionals who are trying to serve them, the members of Black organizations that are striving to help our people to rise above the level of mediocrity and return to their places as the gods and goddesses of the universe. Let us light a candle of hope for them. Realizing the difficulty of the mission they have undertaken to encourage, educate, enlighten, and elevate our people to heights inconceivable. Let us pray that they do not lose their zeal, their spirit, their love of duty and purpose to help build a new generation of enlightened youth that will carry us into the future “perfectly” as Jesus said, “be ye perfect.” Perfect people will build a perfect Kingdom, here on earth.

Let us light a candle of hope for humanity that we build a world, envisioned by the great Black Bard Langston Hughes, “Where wretchedness will hang its head and joy, like a pearl, attends the needs of all mankind. Of such I dream, my world!”

BVN Contributor

The author is a periodic contributor to Black Voice News and the IE Voice. The opinions or points of view expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official position of Voice Media Ventures. Please submit any questions, comments or concerns to info@blackvoicenews.com.