Community, togetherness and insight – Hobart and William Smith Colleges \
The HWS Update

Community, togetherness and insight

“An event that represents community, togetherness and insight into principles we should be living by daily”-that’s how Ishimabet Bryce ’12, a member of the Ujima (junior) board of SANKOFA, the Black Student Union, describes Kwanzaa.

On Friday, Dec. 11, SANKOFA will host its annual Kwanzaa celebration to commemorate African American history and culture.

Created by Ron Karenga and first celebrated in 1966-67, it is a family- and community-oriented celebration of African-American culture and struggle. The celebration offers thanks and acknowledges Nguzo Saba, the seven principles. Each of these principles-Umoja (Unity), Kujichagulia (Self-determination), Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility), Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics), Nia (Purpose), Kuumba (Creativity), and Imani (Faith)-is represented by a candle, one lighted each night of Kwanzaa.

Fittingly, the theme of this year’s celebration is “Sankofa,” a Ghanaian word that means to “go back a fetch,” says Maralie Deprinvil ’10, vice president of SANKOFA.   

Because Kwanzaa is a celebration that focuses heavily on the history of African Americans from the perspective of African Americans, the Black Student Union wants to incorporate the idea of Sankofa heavily into this year’s celebration.

“It’s important to look back to the past because it tells us who we are today and how we could move forward,” Deprinvil says.  

In addition to a catered dinner, the Kwanzaa celebration will feature speakers and student performances:  Hip-Notiqs, the HWS step and dance team, will perform a step routine and African dance.  Sade Joes ’08 will return to campus for a performance of her own choreography.  Members from group known as the Sons of Malcolm who are graduate students from Texas celebration will also speak.  Additionally, representatives from many different culture clubs on campus will light one of the seven candles and describe what Sankofa means to their organizations. 

The event will begin at 6 p.m. in the Vandervort Room.  There will be an entrance fee of $5 at the door.