Faith – Imani

Faith (Imani)

Pronounced Eee-maun-eee

Seventh of the Kwanzaa Seven Principles (Nguzo Saba)

Celebrated December 31st or Day 7 of the Kwanzaa Week


Ankh Symbol of Creativity

“To believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.”

In “Kwanzaa: A Celebration of Family, Community and Culture” Maulana Karenga (the creator of Kwanzaa) describes faith (imani) as “a profound and enduring belief in and commitment to all that is of value to us as a family, community, people and culture.”

In further describing “faith” (imani), the author discusses it in terms of three main concepts: “the foundation of faith”, “faith in our people”, and “faith in our struggle”.

Regarding “the foundation of faith” the author speaks of faith (imani) as the basis for Kwanzaa as celebration and practice, and for unity (umoja) and the other Kwanzaa principles.  Faith is also the foundation for the purpose, effort and activities that flow from the ethics of Kwanzaa.  

In speaking of the “faith in our people”, Karenga raises an important concept found in African spiritual traditions, from Egypt on, when he states that “we are in the image of the Creator and thus capable of ultimate righteousness and creativity through self-mastery and development in the context of positive support.”  When we believe that we are made in “the image of the Creator”, and when we base our actions on that belief, we establish and promote faith in ourselves and in each other as people of African descent.  We establish and promote faith in our people.

And in describing the need to have “faith in our struggle” the author states that “we must believe in the value and validity, the righteousness, victory and significance of our struggle for liberation and a higher level of human life.”  For Kwanzaa to have real purpose (nia) and significance, it must have value and validity to us as a people.  And only we can give it that power via our faith (imani) and efforts.

Karenga ends his discussion of faith (imani) by referencing Frantz Fanon (The Wretched of the Earth, 1968)) who said that we should not try to imitate others but rather invent, innovate reach inside ourselves and dare “set afoot a new man and woman.”  Fanon also said “we must dare to struggle, free ourselves politically and culturally and raise image above the earth that reflect our capacity for human progress and greatness.”  These ideals are built on the faith (imani) we have in ourselves, our people, our struggle, and our purpose (nia).

More information and supplies that can be used to practice and celebrate Kwanzaa can be found at the My Daily Kwanzaa Store.

Harambee!  Let’s all work together!

Editor, My Daily Kwanzaa

Reference:  “Kwanzaa: A Celebration of Family, Community and Culture”, by Maulana Karenga,   University of Sankore Press, Los Angeles, California.  1998.   ISBN 0-943412-21-8.


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