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.”   


    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. 


    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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