In His Own Words: An Interview with Maulana Karenga

Beliefnet talks to the founder of the holiday, Dr. Maulana Karenga, about its origins, its aim and its future.


11/28/2007 09:39:11 AM

I realize that this article is out of date, however I wanted to comment on the previous posts. It seems to me while, no, not everyone is in touch with Maulana Karenga's philosophy, it should not be shunned. I believe that it is honorable that someone would invent a holiday that connects many aspects of African spirituality and culture to give Affrican-Americans something to celebrate. We celebrate Christmas, a man made holiday (while it has been found that Christ's birthday would have fallen in April). Kwanzaa gives us something back that was taken away from the African American while we were told that we were not even human to begin with. It is in no way racist, as some have posted. It is not our fault that many Africans have adapted the commercialized aspects of the American culture.


12/29/2006 08:46:55 AM

sandersann, Reverse-racism is not only tolerated "in America" it is "celebrated!" My friends from Nigeria celebrated Christmas in Nigeria, and do the same here, and had never heard of Karenga's invention before coming to America. They still do not celebrate kwanzaa. They see it for what it is.


12/28/2004 01:03:43 PM

Does anyone have any information concerning Mr.Karenga's spiritual background or lack thereof?


12/26/2004 02:16:42 PM

I find Dr. Karenga's interview interesting, but can't let one of the posts stand unchallenged: One person wrote: > I doubt one could find many Americans of African heritage saying they are held in their country, the USA, against their will. Frankly, that's insulting to all citizens and our country. Further, Americans of African heritage who have visited Africa to find their roots report that, after the first generation, Americans of African heritage are a wholly different culture, cannot "go back" and do not want to "go back." Such is the profound influence of the United States of America experience on all immigrants who come to our shores. Might read Huxley. Respectfully, MikeL


12/26/2004 06:34:16 AM

to sandersann Well, yes, of course......people who LIVE in Africa have no need to 're-establish their cultural roots'......they're THERE. Folks HERE have been here for generations, mostly...and mostly against their will. Just as Native American culture is not homogenous, neither is African culture, either 300 years ago or now. People in Ireland don't have huge St Patrick's Day parades (Catholic and Protestant shoulder to shoulder) and drink green beer till they puke, either. But we do here in America. Lots of people here (and arouind the world) practice Wicca, and/or Druidism...neither of which have an 'unbroken' historical past. They're revival beliefs and customs, similar to Kwanzaa's creation. And they have 'their own' winter holiday, the Solstice (or Yule), celebrated this year on Dec. 21. For that matter, last Saturday I attended a YuChristmaHannuKwanzaakkasle party, and it was a blast.


12/25/2004 10:35:37 PM

what Dr Maulana Karenga seems to forget about Kwanzaa is that none one celbrates that in Africa we celebrate Christmas I should know, I am from Cameroon Kwanzaa (or its model as Dr Maulana Karenga cleverly put to give it some antiquity) is not a current African tradition Ancient egypt rites and rituals are long extinct (sorry for stating the obvious) and I bet people in South Africa ( the Zulus among them at least) do not seem to care I first heared of Kwanzaa after I came to the US


Our Kwanzaa Features