This year, the annual Hobart and William Smith Kwanzaa celebration was inspired by the South African word ubuntu, which loosely translates to “I am because we are.”
“We picked this theme to tie in perfectly with the mission of Kwanzaa,” says Ato Bentsi-Enchill ’17, an executive board member of Sankofa, the HWS Black student union, whose mission is to foster knowledge and understanding of the Black experience both on campus and in American history.
“We are results of the environments in which we are placed,” Bentsi-Enchill continues, “and Kwanzaa is an event that allows us to connect with one another to build ourselves up.”
The sold out 2015 Kwanzaa celebration began at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 5, in the Vandervort Room in the Scandling Campus Center and included a sit-down dinner and student performers from the Colleges’ step team Hip Notiqs and the Gospel Choir, as well as a poetry reading and a performance from Nigerian troupe Slash Wisdom.
The African-American and Pan-African holiday, celebrated by millions throughout African communities worldwide, is normally observed from Dec. 26 through Jan. 1, culminating in a feast and gift-giving, with the aim of reconnecting people with their African roots and history.
The HWS Kwanzaa event also included an activity to promote unity among the student body: the lighting of the seven candles by heads of the various cultural clubs on campus, each symbolizing the Nguzo Saba (the seven principles).