The Seven Kwanzaa Principles

Light the kinara and honor the seven principles of Kwanzaa.

Reprinted with permission of Maulana Karenga.


Umoja (unity):

To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation and race.


Kujichagulia (self-determination):

To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves and speak for ourselves.


Ujima (collective work and responsibility):

To build and maintain our community together and make our brother's and sister's problems our problems and to solve them together.



Ujamaa (cooperative economics):

To build and maintain our own stores, shops and other businesses and to profit from them together.


Nia (purpose):

To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.


Kuumba (creativity):

To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.


Imani (faith):

To believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.

Dr. Maulana Karenga is creator of Kwanzaa and the Nguzo Saba; professor and chair of the Department of Black Studies at California State University, Long Beach; chair of The Organization Us and the National Association of Kawaida Organizations (NAKO); author of the definitive book on Kwanzaa titled Kwanzaa, A Celebration of Family, Community and Culture. For current information on Kwanzaa see: and for information on The Organization Us see:

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