The seven principles around which Kwanzaa is centered are called the Nguzo Saba in Swahili. The principles are:

Umoja (OO-MO-JAH)

    Unity stresses the importance of togetherness for the family and the community, which is reflected in the African saying, “I am We” or “I am because We are.”   

Kujichagulia (KOO-GEE-CHAOGOO-LEE-YAH)

    Self-Determination requires that we define our common interests and make decisions that are in the best interest of our family and community.

Ujima (OO-GEE-MAH)

    Collective Work and Responsibility reminds us of our obligation to the past, present, and future, and that we have a role to play in the community, society, and World. 

Ujamaa (OO-JAH-MAH)

     Cooperative economics emphasizes our collective economic strength and encourages us to meet common needs through mutual support. 

Nia (NEE-YAH)

    Purpose encourages us to look within ourselves and to set personal goals that are beneficial to the community. 

Kuumba (KOO-OOM-BAH)

    Creativity makes use of our creative energies to build and maintain a strong and vibrant community.

Imani (EE-MAH-NEE)

    Faith focuses on honoring the best of our traditions, draws upon the best in ourselves, and helps us strive for a higher level of life for humankind, by affirming our self-worth and confidence in our ability to succeed and triumph in righteous struggle. 

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