Friday Four: Habari Gani?

We LOVE to celebrate Kwanzaa! I wish more people knew and lived by the 7 principles. Being that it’s our 5th year celebrating it, I figured I would share everything I have learned thus far about it. Ready? Here we go………

OK, so it’s a pretty young holiday created by Dr. Karenga ( Maulana Karenga, born  Ronald McKinley Everett )y

The name Kwanzaa comes from a phrase of Swahili origin, “Matunda Ya Kwanza”, and translates as “First Fruits of the Harvest”. The holiday is actually based on African agricultural rites and communal activities. One of the holiday’s main goals is to cause those of African descent to look back to their cultural roots as a source of celebration.

Kwanzaa is recognized from December 26 thru January 1 every year. It is not political, religious or related to Christmas. Learn more about the history, purpose and origins of Kwanzaa:

Here’s how to celebrate it in your home, community:

1. Decorate your home or the main room with the symbols of Kwanzaa. Put a green tablecloth over a centrally located table, and on top of that, place the Mkeka which is a straw or woven mat that symbolizes the historical foundation of African ancestry. Place the following on the Mkeka:

  • Mazao — fruit or crops placed in a bowl, representing the community’s productivity.
  • Kinara — a seven-pronged candle-holder.
  • Mishumaa Saba — the seven candles which represent the seven core principles of Kwanzaa. Three candles on the left are red, representing struggle; three on the right are green, representing hope; and one in the center is black, signifying the African American people or those who draw their heritage from Africa.
  • Muhindi — ears of corn. Lay out one ear of corn for each child; if there are no children, place two ears to represent the children of the community.
  • Zawadi — various gifts for the children.
  • Kikombe cha Umoja — a cup to represent family and community unity.

2.Decorate around the room with Kwanzaa flags, called Bendera, and posters emphasizing the seven principles. You can purchase or make these, and it’s especially fun to make them with the kids.

3. Practice the Kwanzaa greetings. Starting on December 26, greet everyone by saying “Habari Gani” which is a standard Swahili greeting meaning “what is the news?” If someone greets you, respond with the principle (Nguzo Saba) for that day:

  • December 26: “Umoja” — Unity
  • December 27: “Kujichagulia” — Self-determination
  • December 28: “Ujima” — Collective work and responsibility
  • December 29: “Ujamaa” — Cooperative economics
  • December 30: “Nia” — Purpose
  • December 31: “Kuumba” — Creativity
  • January 1: “Imani” — Faith.
  • Non African-Americans are also welcome to participate in greetings. The traditional greeting for them is “Joyous Kwanzaa.” dhf

4. Light the Kinara daily. Since each candle represents a specific principle, they are lit one day at a time, in a certain order. The black candle is always lit first. Some people light the remaining candles from left to right (red to green) while other people alternate as follows:

  • Black candle
  • Far left red candle
  • Far right green candle
  • Second red candle
  • Second green candle
  • Last red candle
  • Last green candle


Celebrate Kwanzaa in a variety of different ways. Pick and choose some or all of the following activities throughout the seven days of Kwanzaa, saving the feast for the sixth day. Kwanzaa ceremony may include:
  • Drumming and musical selections.
  • Readings of the African Pledge and the Principles of Blackness.
  • Reflections on the Pan-African colors, discussions of African principles of the day, or recitations of chapters in African history.
  • The candle-lighting ritual of the Kinara.
  • Artistic performances.

6.Have the Kwanzaa Karamu (feast) on the sixth day (New Year’s Eve). The Kwanzaa feast is a very special event that brings everyone closer to their African roots. It is traditionally held on December 31st and is a communal and cooperative effort. Decorate the place where the feast will be held in a red, green, and black scheme. A large Kwanzaa setting should dominate the room where the feast will be held. A large Mkeka should be placed in the center of the floor where the food is placed creatively and made accessible to all to serve themselves. Before and during the feast, an informative and entertaining program should be presented.

  • Traditionally, the program should involve welcoming, remembering, reassessment, recommitment and rejoicing concluded by a farewell statement and a call for greater unity.
  • During the feast, drinks are to be shared from a communal cup, the Kikombe cha Umoja, passed around to all celebrants.pp

7.Give out the gifts of Kumba. Kuumba, meaning creativity, is highly encouraged and brings a sense of self-satisfaction. The gifts are usually exchanged between the parents and children and are given out traditionally on January 1st, the last day of Kwanzaa. Since the giving of gifts has very much to do with Kuumba, the gifts should be of an educational or artistic nature.

These principles, if followed will be a blessing to your family life. I have seen the enhancements to my tribe and I know it’s because of the year long lessons we receive in just these seven little days of the year.

-QC Supermom

Habari Gani!

Habari Gani!

Friday Four: Getting Out Of Town

driving in the mountainsI don’t like to drive long distances. When my older children were smaller, I missed out on alot because I had no desire or help to share the burden of driving long distances or watching the children. My husband was either working or didn’t want to go where I wanted to go.

Now that our oldest son is playing basketball in college, my husband has an incentive to be the designated driver for out of town trips. I can’t tell you how much I appriciate that, but our latest trip opened my eyes to something rather significant.

Last week we went to see Hampton University play against Appalachian State University in Boone NC.

Noah made friends with the enemy.

Noah made friends with the enemy.

That ride was excellent! I couldn’t keep my camera down. It was mountains, hills, valleys the entire time. Talk about beautiful!  Who knew we were so close to all this beauty?  I took while riding. The university sits on the top on another mountain that placed us 3333 ft. above sea level. I like walking in places with my tribe. We almost took the entire row.

Two hours later, we were on our way back home. Talk about bitter sweet. I was happy that we were able to put in $15 in gas to learn about a part of our state that we’ve never been to before. They got to see first hand what mountains really looked like, and how it felt to rise in elevation. It was clear that there are some things, you just can’t get the feel of from a picture or youtube video. There is something to getting out of your home land and seeing more!

I have been missing out on too much, and so have my children. What if I had another interested mom? we could share traveling expenses and child care, while exploring new things with our children? It could happen! (I tell you sense comes last sometimes,I could just kick myself!)

Boone NC
Boone NC



Boone mountains

I do plan to return with a mom friend and her children in April. By that time, we will have saved up enough to go hiking, eat local and just be authentic tourist for the weekend.






Here’s a little more information about the Men’s Basketball teams that played last week:

QC Supermom in Boone NCAppalachian State University is a comprehensive, public, coeducational university located in Boone, North Carolina, United States. Appalachian State was founded as a teacher’s college in 1899 by brothers B.B. and D.D. Dougherty.

QC Supermom and Hampton UniversityHampton University is a historically black university located in Hampton, Virginia, United States. It was founded in 1868 by black and white leaders of the American Missionary Association after the American Civil War to provide education to freedmen. In 1878 it established a program for teaching Native Americans which lasted until 1923.

Wednesday Wow:The gift of Kwanzaa,Charlotte ’12


Habari Gani?k14 - Copykwanza funny lady kwanzaa band Kwanzaa mama Rossk12

I LOVE Kwanzaa! I really do!  It was so bittersweet attending the last night of the week-long celebration. Night after night I look around the room and smiled at how beautiful and talented members of  my extended  family are. There were dancers. Not like the ones on Uncle Lukes videos but REAL spirit filled dancers. There were story tellers. Not like the ones on t.v. behind desk, but ones that talked about hope and answering the call of your destiny. There was also food.( Which happens to be the best reason to attend says my sons. ) Not  like the food-like products from the side store, but alive and for the restoration of our bodies. Trust me, it was a lot going on, even the education was unique. Nothing that you would find in any classroom.  Seriously? What classroom  teacher ever told you that you go to school to learn  how to create opportunities? I for one have always thought Johnson and Wales would help me get a good job…..Ok, they did. But the speaker said we have to do more in this day and age. Yes, it’s a new day ya’ll. That stuff ,we used to do isn’t working anymore- Kwanzaa is the answer! The principals are designed to uplift,  equipt and motivate the family.  I try to live by those guiding codes because they make sense. At any time in our house I’ll post a similar note on the kids bedroom mirror, wall, or even lunch bag of my kids. I just give s them something to ponder during their quiet moments. Now I’m about to share family secrets with you right now. Ready?

Sharing with many and introducing to others: Kwanzaa in Charlotte  NC 2012-13

(a day by day peek)


Umoja (Unity): To strive for and to maintain unity in the family, community, nation, and race.

k3kwanzaa bandkwan men

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 brothers’ and sisters’ problems our problems, and to solve them together.

k19A Celebration of Family, Community and Culture –  Kwanzaa  was founded by Dr. Maulana Karenga in 1966. It’s a week-long celebration held in the United States (and, more recently, Canada) but also celebrated in the Western African Diaspora. The celebration honors African heritage in African-American culture, and is observed from December 26 to January 1, culminating in a feast and gift-giving.

Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics): To build and maintain our own stores, shops, and other businesses and to profit from them together. k23


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

 “Kwanzaa was not created to give people an alternative to their own religion or religious holiday.”


k15 - Copy

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 hearts in God, our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.k9

Kwanzaa has seven core principles (Nguzo Saba): Unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility,cooperative economics, purpose, creativity, and faith. All of which we experienced first hand.

 Kwanzaa derives from the Swahili phrase matunda ya kwanz

See more coverage here! Thanks to Ron (Kwanzaa Charlotte)

-Till next time!  Harambee ,   QC Supermom

Happy New Year!

Friday Four: 2nd half of Kwanzaa 2012

We are half way through the celebration….  kwanzaa sign

I can’t believe all the great, progressive  minds that brought their children out to be inspired so far this week.  I felt like it was where my family needed to be. Each night fed into my spirit. The dancing has been mesmerizing. The arts and crafts was amazing and the meatless food sampling was divine. YUM!!!!  Each night there was dialogue/ teaching. It almost felt like a family reunion and listening to the elders as they shared freely.

kwana talk

The topic of education came up. I knew that Yale & Brown graduated business owners. and that we were told to expect a good job after graduation. A beautiful little lady got up and began to telling us about preserving our history. She suggested that we aren’t living up to our birth right. I agreed with her on that. Everyone doesn’t have an angel on their side to lead, guide, & influence like I had.   The speaker said that was the wrong thinking. We should think of our own college years (even earlier than that) as years to prepare, grow and own. I LOVED THAT! Then he talked about, bullets.  He said our money is like a bullet and every time we spend it, we should do so as if we’re shooting a “gun”. It sounds aggressive but think about it. He was telling us that there is something powerful in our dollars & that we should be better “shooters.” The story telling was amazing. It easily put us right there in the story. kwanzaa noona rue     After the storytelling time, I asked my 6yo to tell me what he thought about it, He said  “The girl watched her parents plant trees and other plants. She left her parents small village and went to school to become animal doctor. Then when she finished school, she got a nice apartment and planted nice trees. Everyday someone different would come and ask her about different trees. She then left her practice to become a famous tree planter. She planted trees and help empower thousands of women. ”

Yes! that was a proud moment for mothers everywhere. They retained the story.  So far this is Kwannzaa looking like the best celebration yet! I’ll keep you posted! To hold you over peek at these other pictures we have taken. The festivities continue till Tuesday. I’ll have a final review on Wednesday Wow post. Enjoy- QC Supermom

kwanzaa swag

ok…’s the pictures- enjoy! Leave a comment / like it while you’re at it!

Friday 4: The holidays are coming

It’s that time of the year again folks!


Kwanzaa         New Years   


and then what  ?????

Everyone is getting ready. Lights, camera, gas and credit card!

Ok, I’ll give it to you, the lights, sounds and smells are lovely. Even the idea of someone else “hooking me up” while we sleep is dreamy. And they say it’s all done while them  crub grabbers are asleep?

Wake up folks! It’s Not gonna happen. (My girls a counting on it, and yet I can’t blame them because my parents christ-messed us -& honestly I enjoyed it)  I just wish it was celebrated for what it was meant to be. A celebration of  Jesus’s controversial birth. (do you know the story? If  not click this link and come visit my church PUMC 5600 the Plaza, this sunday for our holiday performance.)

Anyhoots, till then we’ll pass! (but we will watch the awesome tv specials this entire month.)

My girls are so eager to play catch up with the  christmas fans with our red green and black festive best.   They love

the everyday of the celebration, but that dog gone christmas still gets them worked up. Just in cases you’re wondering why we have excused that holiday altogether, I’ll explain.

  • Its not our kids birthday. (So why laced themas if it is? Our kids are princess and princes on their day. )
  • I refuse to help line the pockets of large corporations that won’t hire yet will cause kids to act in a sense of entitlement.(They are looking for the same thing I’m looking for. I’m gonna spend, and it ill be a conscious decision)
  • It’s just too much work for one little day. I clutter our living space enough with fragile trinkets. No need for the extra stuff, thank you very much!
  • There  real idea of the holiday is not even the enter of  most actions anymore. “John-John wants a mini electronic car this year?” Boy he’ll be mad if I don’t get it!!” -Really parents!?                                                                      I believe that everything that’s important on that one day, can be done in the spirit of which it originated. From love and respect for self and another.  Who should wait till December 20ish to smile at  someone else? Who should wait till then to volunteer, come together, advocate, build, etc? well I’l get off my soap box now. but if you wanna give kawanzaa a try this year, check these links out to find out how your family can participate.

This year has been such a year. We’ve managed to stay afloat and realize how blessed and fortunate we’ve been. The uncertainty and misfortune which so many have suffered suggest an even stronger call and reason to celebrate Kwanzaa this year with others. Our goal as a family is that whatever prosperity or recovery we may attain will be predicated on and go through our “family”. So, as a celebration of family and culture, Kwanzaa gives us the framework to deepen our family bonds and attachments, strengthen our resolve to be better men and women, husbands and wives, friends and lovers, and parents and children.

I haven’t gotten my children’s resolutions for 2012 yet, but I’ll share mine with you all.  See below……..

  1. Stay fit spiritually, financially, socially, environmentally,educationally,  nutritionally and physically. See video below………
  2. Grow closer to my loved ones that are  not in the QC.   I do pretty well, I think but there is always room for improvement.
  3. Grow and give more! That could mean plenty of things. But I sum it up like this…little things DROPPING and big thing Popping!  hope that you will stick around to see /join in.

Kwanzaa is a week long celebration held in the United States honoring universal African-American heritage and culture, observed from December 26 to January 1.

New Year   It symbolizes a new start. Because it is a new year, and an opportunity to reflect on the previous year to determine what we will do differently. It is also common that people  try their best to mend their bad habits.

Then what?   Hopefully your growth from the previous 12 months,  will help guide you into a rewarding 2012! While you’re at it, help someone along the way……but don’t be anyone’s fool. Like my girl said on the big Screen “Don’t let anyone make you a cripple!” Have a productive 2012.  I will!