2011 44¢ Kwanzaa
Issue Date: October 14, 2011
City: New York, NY
Printed By: Ashton Potter
Printing Method: Offset
The family gathers around the Mkeka to celebrate Kwanzaa. The straw mat is both the centerpiece and a reminder of their ancestors’ homes. Symbols of African culture have been carefully arranged on the mat.
The Grandfather pours water from the Unity Cup in the direction of the four winds to honor those who had come before them. He takes a sip and proclaims Harambee, which means “Let’s all pull together.”
It is the last night, so the youngest child lights all seven candles. The black candle represents the African people, three red candles stand for their struggles, and the three green for growth and the future. Each night, they discuss a principle of Kwanzaa. The seven Nguzo Saba principles reinforce the family and community values important to them as African Americans, including unity, mutual support, creativity, and pride in their unique culture.
The focus for the final night is Faith. The family honors their forefathers and commits to working together to triumph over adversity. When the discussion ends, all the candles are blown out to symbolize the end of Kwanzaa.
With their African American identity reinforced, the family will work together throughout the new year to improve their lives and communities.