12/29/13 — Kwanzaa celebration at Rebuilding Broken Places

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Kwanzaa celebration at Rebuilding Broken Places

By Josh Ellerbrock
Published in News on December 29, 2013 1:50 AM

Greenleaf Christian Church in partnership with the Kindezi Rites of Passage group based out of Rocky Mount will be hosting a Kwanzaa celebration today starting at 5 p.m.

Kwanzaa was founded in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga, a major figure of the Black Power movement, as a celebration of African-American culture. The holiday, beginning Dec. 26, usually lasts seven days, and is celebrated in addition to Christmas. Today's Kwanzaa celebration will observe all seven days in one day.

Greenleaf's event will feature drumming, dancing, spoken word, singing, lighting of the seven candles and special explanations of the nguzo saba, or the seven principles of Kwanzaa. They are unity, self-determination, collective work, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith.

The Kuumba West African Dance Company out of Danville, Va. will perform during the celebration.

The celebration also features a special honoring of parents and the Rebuilding Broken Places Christian Academy and Child Care Center.

Vendors selling books, bracelets, African attire, necklaces and more will also be on site.

Yara Allen, one of the organizers of the Kindezi Rites of Passage group, emphasized the celebration being open to anyone who wanted to come -- black, white, Latino or otherwise.

"It's open to all people. The Kwanzaa principles are universal. Unity is cross culture. That's what America is about," she said.

The Kindezi Rites of Passage group, led by sisters Sauuda Eshe and Yara Allen, have been holding Kwanzaa celebrations in Rocky Mount for the last seven years. Their success has allowed them to expand their observation of Kwanzaa to Goldsboro in conjunction with Greenleaf Christian Church. They also hold Kwanzaa celebrations in other North Carolina cities.

"We're inviting everyone to come out," Mrs. Allen said.

Attendees are also invited to bring a cover dish inspired by the African diaspora, or African culture outside of Africa, to share. Mazao, or fruits, nuts or vegetables, will be available.

The celebration will be held at the Rebuilding Broken Places Child Day Care at 2105 N. William St.