The Nguzo Saba

The Nguzo Saba

(Swahili for “The Seven Principles”)

When most people think of the Nguzo Saba, it is common for them to immediately associate these principles with the African-centered holiday of Kwanzaa, which takes place every year from December 26 - January 1. However, the Seven Principles upon which Dr. Maulena Karenga laid the foundation for Kwanzaa back in 1968 are descendants of ancient African codes of morality and ethics which believed that maintaining communitarian values as the center of one‘s worldview was the best way that peace could be both created and maintained. In a country ravaged with gun and gang violence in our schools, domestic violence in our homes, and war abroad, a return to community and peace is needed now more than ever. Churches, synagogues, mosques, schools, families, and people of all racial and cultural backgrounds should adopt the Nguzo Saba as a way of life in order for peace to be a reality in a violent world.

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

  • Kujichagulia (Self-Determination) - To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for

  • 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.

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

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

  • 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 heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the
    righteousness and victory of our struggle