Symbolic items for the Kwanzaa celebration. Photo courtesy of the Jaku Konbit’s facebook page.
JHAMESHA MILORD ASHFORD – OTTAWA • ON | 24-12-2020
The pandemic has moved Jaku Konbit’s sixth annual Kwanzaa celebration in Ottawa online.
Jaku Konbit is a local organization that aims “to support and improve the lives of disadvantaged individuals and families of African and Caribbean descent through partnership with communities and programming that results in everyone’s successful economic and civic participation in Canadian society.” Because of the pandemic, Jaku Konbit has had to move all of their services and programs online.
Kwanzaa is a non-religious cultural holiday that is celebrated around the world from Dec. 26 until Jan. 1. The celebration is designed to promote cultural pride, dignity and foster a vibrant and healthy community.
Each day, these seven principles are highlighted:
- 1. Umoja (meaning: Unity)
- 2. Kujichagulia (meaning: Self Determination)
- 3. Ujima (meaning: Collective Work and Responsibility)
- 4. Ujamaa (meaning: Cooperative Economics)
- 5. Nia (meaning: Purpose)
- 6. Kuumba (meaning: Creativity)
- 7. Imani (meaning: Faith)
This year, “Sepats” from the Jaku Konbit youth mentorship program, along with seniors from their “Let’s Chat” program, will be talking about their experience and how they’ve been dealing with the pandemic. The celebration will also include, live and pre-recorded musical performances, spoken word performances (such as poetry) as well as guest speakers for the online event.
In previous years, the organization would usually bring the African-Caribbean community of Ottawa together, about 300 to 400 people, rent a hall, have local performers along with African drummers, cultural dancers and enjoy ethnic food to take a look back at what’s been done throughout the year and talk about what needs to be done for the upcoming year. A big part of the Kwanzaa celebration is also a meal.
“We talk about the importance of working together, the importance of Umoja which is unity,” said Ken Campbell, the president of Jaku Konbit.
This year especially, they’ll be touching base on how important it is to support each other during these unprecedented times.
Join Jaku Konbit for the collective virtual community Kwanzaa celebration this Sunday, Dec. 27 at 4-6 p.m.