Following annual tradition, Sankofa hosted a Kwanzaa celebration on Friday, Dec. 5, in the Vandervort Room of the Scandling Campus Center. The event included a sit-down dinner and featured student performers such as the Colleges’ step team Hip Notiqs, HWS Director of Academic Opportunity Programs James Burruto’s band, and the celebrity poet Black Ice.
The Kwanzaa event also included an activity that was designed to promote unity among the student body. The activity included the lighting of the seven candles, each symbolizing the Nguzo Saba: the seven principles. The African American and Pan-African holiday celebrated by millions throughout the African community is normally celebrated from Dec. 26 through Jan. 1, culminating in a feast and gift-giving.
Kwanzaa ceremonies can vary and may also include drumming, reading of the African Pledge and the Principles of Blackness, reflections on the Pan-African colors, and discussions about a chapter in African history. The holiday aims to reconnect people with their African roots and history.
Afrika Owes ‘16, president of Sankofa, hopes many members from the HWS community enjoyed the celebration. “The goal of the dinner is to promote a family atmosphere in addition to educating those unfamiliar with Kwanzaa and Sankofa with our events on campus,” she says.
Of the seven known principles, Sankofa focused on the principle called Karamu, which traditionally occurs on the sixth night. Co-President Dominique Miller ’16 says that “[karamu] is the most festive night of the weeklong celebration with an overabundance of speeches, a variety of entertainment, and food to represent the span of Africa’s cultures. This is the night we celebrate our past while looking forward to the future here at HWS.”
About Sankofa: The mission of the club is to foster knowledge and understanding of the Black experience both on campus and in American history.