The 21 Day Kwanzaa/Nguzo Saba Meditation Connection

Posted on December 7, 2014 by


The 21 Day Kwanzaa/Nguzo Saba Meditation Connection

By Mxolisi T. / Ozo-Sowande

Modern science tells us that whatever your mind dwells on becomes a physical part of your being, something called neuropeptides, having the potential of affecting your behaviors. The greater the quality of the dwelling of your mind on a subject, the greater is the probability of it becoming effectively reflected in your behavior. It is said that it takes 21 days in a row of doing a particular activity or concentration (Meditation) to establish a new habit or set of values. In that light, this 21 Day Kwanzaa/Nguzo Saba Connection is presented as a means of moving beyond the superficial to an effective understanding, appreciation and internalization of the power and beauty of the Kwanzaa/Nguzo Saba principles and tradition in our lives.

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(As we head into this 50th Kwanzaa season, I’m reflecting on something that Dr. Patricia Newton has said on a number of occasions: That we must be diligent in doing what we need to do to become the new Africans that we need to be — on a daily basis! * * * She agreed that Kwanzaa/Nguzo Saba is a good foundation for that endeavor, but it must not wait until December. It needs to be a continuous process with us – within us!! * * * Beyond this this 21 Day Connection , let’s reflect and live these Principles EVERYDAY as part of our process of being and becoming the new Africans that we need to be. * * * And let’s ALWAYS teach the children!)

Kwanzaa yenu iwe na heri!!! – May your Kwanzaa [and all the days of your lives] overflow with blessings divine!!!

Day 1 – Umoja/Unity (The Black candle – We the People)

Let your consciousness of Umoja, along with your understanding of Mkeka and Kinara and their inter-connectedness, serve to settle and center your heart and mind as you reflect and act on these thoughts:

kwanza symbol 1a) Let me grow in knowing my ancestors, elders, parents, peers and myself as sons and daughters of GOD, physical manifestations of the loving spiritual power of our Creator.

b) Let me grow in carrying myself in a way that honors them and myself in the manner that this royal, righteous reality deserves.

c) Let me grow in truly knowing and revering the ancestors, elders and parents whose aspirations and achievements have the greatest impact and influence on my life.

d) What questions do I need to ask to get a deeper knowledge and understanding of my family’s history and struggles leading up to my existence?

e) What do I need to do (better) to honor the struggles and achievements of my parents, elders and ancestors and be/become an inspiration for my peers and generations yet to come?

f) What can I do today – this very day — for or with one or more members of my family to express and/or demonstrate my love, respect and appreciation for who they are as vessels of the image and essence of GOD.

(Use whatever resources help you see the greater light, including your sacred writings –The Husia, Bible, Koran, Sacred Symbols, etc.). Keep a diary of your growth, insights and discoveries.

(You may find the symbols that have come to be associated with the Nguzo Saba useful in your meditative sessions. For Umoja, it is Solomon’s Knot or Kramo-bone (above), which has been used across a number of cultures and historical eras, and given a range of symbolic interpretations. In Africa, Solomon’s knot is found on glass beadwork, textiles, and carvings of the Yoruba people. When the knot appears in this culture, it often denotes royal status; thus, it is featured on crowns, tunics, and other ceremonial objects. Also in Africa, the Knot is found on Kasai velvet, the raffia woven cloth of the Kuba people. They attribute mystical meaning to it, as do the Akan People of West Africa who stamp it on their sacred Adinkra cloth. Umoja!)

Another symbol that could be useful for Umoja reflections is the Nkonsonkonson – Chain Link – a symbol of unity and human relations; a reminder to contribute to the community; that in unity lies strength. It signifies the strong bonds between people of common blood relations that are difficult to break apart. The belief includes ancestors who are constantly protecting the living. It can also serve as a reminder to give a helping hand to strengthen the communities we live in, and encourages the veneration of the ancestors in order for them to keep in touch with the living.


Day 2 – Kujichagulia/Self-determination (a red candle: it’s a struggle)

Let your consciousness of Kujichagulia, along with your understandings of the Mkeka, Kinara and the Vibunzi settle and center your heart and mind as you reflect and act on these thoughts:

a) Who am I?

b) How well do I know the history of achievement and excellence of my people?  What am I doing to further and deepen that knowledge?

kwanzaa symbol 2 c) What contributions am I making toward restoring and continuing the ethic of intellectual, analytical and visionary excellence in my family and community? (Overthrowing the ethic of anything goes, self-hate, hopelessness, mediocrity, violence and self-destruction)

d) How much am I influenced by the images of my people as portrayed in the “news” and “entertainment” media?

e) What sources of historical and contemporary information inform and nurture my perceptions of the strengths, weaknesses and potentials of myself and my people?

f) Am I part of any organized effort for improving the quality of life for my people – locally, nationally, internationally?

g) What are the words and deeds of my life serving to teach and inspire in our children?

(Kujichagulia symbol is the Ashanti stool of royalty; calling us to exercise, individually and collectively, the deep diligence and determination required to make ourselves the royal authority for the shaping of our lives and destiny.)   


Day 3 – Ujima/Collective Work & Responsibility (a green candle; growth and reward)

Let your consciousness of Ujima, along with your understanding of the Mazao and Bendera ya Taifa, settle and center your heart and mind as you reflect and act on these thoughts:

a) Am I willing, compassionate and pro-active in extending the knowledge, abilities, energy andkwanzaa symbol 3 other resources at my disposal to help members of my family and community to achieve the best outcome of a given life or situation?

b) Can I extend myself in this manner without the expectation of some immediate material return, but with the satisfaction of knowing that helping others in this fashion is, in the long run, help and reward for me also?

c) Let me grow in knowing that the greatest good for the greatest numbers of my people (and all humanity) is to be realized through this manner of thought and action -– locally, nationally and internationally.

(The Adinkra symbol for Ujima is akoma ntoso (linked hearts) — symbolizing the depth and character of understanding and agreement we need for the great works to be undertaken.)


Day 4 – Ujamaa/Cooperative Economics (a red candle; this is a struggle)

Let your consciousness of Ujamaa, along with Mazao and Bendera ya Taifa, settle and center your heart and mind as you reflect and act on these thoughts:

kwanzaa symbol 4a) I shall strive each day to be not a pawn surrendering to the call for the conspicuous consumption of meaningless material stuff;

b) I shall strive to become increasingly proficient in discerning and developing family-based and community-based enterprises and sharing those visions with others;

c) Let me always be studious to understand the best ways to maximize the buying power of our dollars in the local, national and global economies;

d) I shall strive to have a serious and consistent savings program in order to accumulate the wealth required to develop or participate in significant economic endeavors;

e) Let me be pro-active in finding and working with others who are striving to grow according to the challenges of this Ujamaa principle.

(The symbol for Ujamaa is derived from a symbol associated with the Neter, Neith (Kemet/ancient Egypt), feminine goddess of the principles of self-begotten, self-produced, self-existent, and self-sustained, and the craft of weaving, calling us to exercise those qualities and powers for the economic well-being of family, community, nation and race.)


Day 5 – Nia/Purpose (a green candle; growth, reward)

Let your consciousness of Nia – along with the lessons of the Kinara and Bendera ya Taifa – settle and center your heart and mind as you reflect and act on these thoughts:

a) I am growing in realizing and appreciating that our traditional greatness includes the fact that ourkwanzaa symbol 5 African ancestors were the fathers and mothers of humanity and civilization;

b) Our traditional greatness also includes the fact that our African ancestors were the creators and innovators of the basic disciplines of human knowledge in virtually every area of human endeavor via the Nile Valley civilizations;

c) As I grow in this knowledge and consciousness of our traditional greatness and learn from that history, let me grow in an absolute commitment to excellence in my character and competence in all things, as we strive to make the world more hospitable and nurturing for human existence;

d) Let me grow in knowing, receiving and revering inspiration from such a commitment (and its results) in my people in every period of our history, in every geographic location.

(The symbol for Nia is the Nfr (heart & windpipe) symbol of Kemet – calling us to be as serious about these matters as we are about life itself.) 


Day 6 – Kuumba/Creativity (a red candle; the struggle continues)

Let your consciousness of Kuumba – along with the messages of the Mkeka and Mazao – settle and center your heart and mind as you reflect and act on these thoughts:

kwanzaa symbol 6a) Let me grow in knowing that the energy and impulse of the Creator’s image and essence within me is the power that drives my desire for a world that is more hospitable and nurturing for human existence;

b) Let me grow in knowing and showing that the talents, skills and resources entrusted unto me are never to be used without respect for the greatest good for the greatest number of family, community and humanity;

c) Let me always be pro-active to share and utilize this consciousness and energy everywhere I go, with everyone I meet. 

(This symbols for Kuumba is a seven-ray star (Kemet) – calling each of us to grow in knowing and showing the creative gifts entrusted unto us in the most GOD-like manner possible; to be a star in the skies of consciousness of your network of family and friends, and to allow these principles to always shine in the sky of your personal consciousness.)


 Day 7 – Imani/Faith (a green candle; let the growth continue endlessly)

Let your consciousness of Imani and its relationship to the lessons of the Mkeka, Kinara, Vibunzi, Mazao, Bendera, et al, settle and center your heart and mind as you reflect and act on these thoughts:

a) Let me continuously cultivate that “something within” that allows me to trust beyond all doubt thatkwanzaa symbol 7 the spirit and truth of the principles, practices and symbols of this Kwanzaa/Nguzo Saba tradition will lead us to the righteous victory that our struggle pursues – a world more hospitable and nurturing for our families and communities and the whole human family;

b) Let me always trust in the infinite ability of the Creator to show me (us) the more effective way to use the energies and impulses of the sacred image and essence within, to go over, under, around and through the ever-evolving challenges and obstacles that stand before us (and within us);

c) Let my faith be informed, inspired and strengthened by the large and small lessons of love, diligence, determination, compassion, forgiveness and positive transformations wherever life presents them.

(The symbol for Imani – the ankh and djed combined – the Kemetian key of life & tree or column – calls us to emulate and surpass our worthy ancestors in revering the sacred gift of life and in being steadfast, resilient and unshakable in embracing and proliferating our righteous way of life.)


Now that you have completed the first seven days of reflection, action, struggle and growth, it is time to keep going. Repeat the disciplines for an additional two weeks to give your self the 21 Day Kwanzaa/Nguzo Saba Connection. Don’t be discouraged or sidetracked. Appreciate every large and small growth of consciousness and understanding. Take time to share your experiences and thoughts with family members, friends and others who are also doing the 21 Day exercise. Feel free to call on us, if you need someone with whom to discuss your progress. Remember to keep notes. And keep on growing! * * * Ankh, Udja, Seneb!!!

Kwanzaa Yenu Iwe Na Heri: May your days of Kwanzaa (and all the days of your lives) overflow with blessings divine! * * * Ankh, Udja, Seneb!!!