Getting Ready for Kwanzaa 2013: Our MKEKA — meaningful foundation for African Liberation!

Posted on December 18, 2013 by

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Getting Ready for Kwanzaa 2013:

Our MKEKA — A meaningful foundation for African Liberation!

by Bro. Mxolisi T. Sowell /Ozo-Sowande

In the case of Black people (conscious Africans of all sorts and mixtures) throughout the World African Community, the Liberation we seek is the elimination of any and all oppressive barriers or suppressive influences upon our individual and collective development as beings of unlimited potential, for effective participation in any and all areas of productive endeavors that contribute to the greatest well-being of our families and communities; contributing, ultimately, to the greater well-being of all  nations of the world, with a priority concern for the well-being of the peoples and nations of our “World African Community.”

While this mission is not an “integrationist” endeavor, it does include the goal of maintaining and maximizing the measures of liberation that “civil rights” victories have achieved, to provide for the unfettered presence and effective participation of our people in whatever areas of productivity that their aspirations and preparations might take them. Furthermore, in the U.S. for sure, we are not endeavoring to liberate any land of the USA, nor should we waste any more time and energy with any scheme proposing such an enterprise. The “land” we are seeking to liberate is comprised of the hearts, minds, spirits and aspirations of our people, to bring those energies to the Liberation mission generally presented above.

Our mission is inspired and fueled by our abiding belief and experience of Principles, Precepts and Practices for harmonious and humane living embodied in our traditional African heritage. The mission is to restore and nurture ever-increasing numbers of our people in that universe of belief and experience and to create the pro-active programs and institutions that will continue and refine that process for all future generations of Africans. That universe of African belief and experience is significantly represented in the Principles, Precepts, Practices and Symbols of the Kwanzaa/Nguzo Saba tradition.

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The foundational symbol for the world-view that arises from these is the Mkeka. In its fullest sense, the Mkeka confronts and overthrows the concept of the wretchedness of human beings, an oppressive-suppressive concept most insidiously applied to and, unfortunately, embraced by Africans and other peoples of color through the dynamics and institutions of the euro-centric world-view.

The woven nature of the Mkeka reflects the predominate perception of African traditions regarding the inherent and ongoing inter-connectedness of Creator and Creation, and the inherent potential and expectation that the Creator bestows upon each of us for the development of the GOD-reality of our being — in the sacred space of family, community and nation, and our guiding institutions that are rooted and united in this understanding. Respect for worthy ancestors and elders and the wisdom that their lives and experiences embody for our well-being are woven/rooted into this foundational symbol, as well as our responsibility as parents and community to leave no stone unturned in the process of guiding our children in their development as GOD-beings – loving, compassionate, intelligent, visionary, creative, purposeful, unifying — in every aspect of personal, inter-personal and communal life. By our thoughts, by our words and by our deeds!

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The Mkeka represents our foundation – our faith in the reality of the Infinite, Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent Divine Force (GOD) that fosters, nurtures and sustains all being, and the divinity of all life; the foundation from which our history, heritage, legacy and traditions have grown (the primordial and on-going aspirations, achievements and contributions of our people to the emergence and evolution of intelligent humanity and civilization). The Mkeka calls us to always be conscious of and connected to the spirit of excellence and greatness which has manifested itself in and through our people in every area of human endeavor, and to continue cultivating an undying desire to know and share the most-loving, prosperous, respectful, creative life that the divine-sacred reality affords. In short, the Mkeka admonishes us to understand that the true foundation for African life is faith in the reality of the divine force – GOD, and an abiding desire to emulate that force in every area of our lives. (Words from Ayi Kwei Armah’s “2000 Seasons” are pertinent on this point:  “. . . there is a great force in the world, a force spiritual and able to shape the physical universe, but . . . that force is not something cut off, not something separate from ourselves. It is an energy in us, strongest in our working, breathing, thinking together as one people; weakest when we are scattered, confused, broken into individual, unconnected fragments.” [pg. 151]) 

This Foundation might lead us to a Black Liberation pledge such as this: I will do all I can, in every way I can, to maintain unity with my Creator and the measure of Creator essence entrusted unto me, and allow this foundation to be the driving force for every thought, word and deed of my life.

It has been written that, whenever African people gather to perform their sacred rituals it is not merely for superficial social entertainment nor the crass display and consumption of meaningless material stuff. The overriding purpose is to teach the children, to deepen and strengthen the youth, and to reinforce and renew the adults and elders regarding the values, principles and expectations upon which their families, communities and nations are established. Let us take these words to heart, as we prepare to go forward with Kwanzaa gatherings 2013. Let’s truly immerse ourselves in the Truth, Beauty and Goodness that the Mkeka represents and allow it to be the foundation for our celebrations, and for all the days of life that follow!

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