As the World bids farewell to the yearly celebrations of the birth of the savior Jesus Christ characterized by pompous decorations and characterization of a mystical Santa in the western world, the black people communities in America and different parts of the Caribbean communities begin the celebration of a seven days long holiday fondly known as Kwanzaa!

For folks like Chief Rev. Wayne Onkphra Wells the chairperson of the Barbados Pan African Coalition of Organizations, Kwanzaa is one of the many ways Africans living in the diaspora can rejuvenate the spirit of Pan-Africanism
by embracing customs relevant to their roots!

“I was introduced to the principles of Kwanzaa before I even knew about Kwanzaa” Rev.Wells reiterates.

He recollects a time in the year 1970 when a revolution broke out on the Island of Trinidad leading to the awakening of the nation to black people consciousness.

The strife opened Trinidad and Tobago to the Principles of Kwanzaa based on which the National Joint Action Committee (NJAC) was formed.

NJAC was formed to advocate for the abolition of the injustices against the black majority in Trinidad and Tobago at the time.

“Barbados is still struggling with the aftermath of the colonial era” adds Rev. Wayne as he talks about the scope at which Kwanzaa is embraced in Barbados.

“ Even though it involves elements of white supremacy, the majority of the people here still widely celebrate the Christmas holiday” he says.

However, Rev. Wayne adds that each year a considerable number of people continue to join the awakening towards advocating for reparations.

“We have been lucky to have support from the prime minister Mia Amor Mottley’s office through the special envoy for reparations and enfranchisement Trevor Prescod” the Rev. Says.

Government support of this kind has been instrumental in exerting reparations movements in Barbados leading to at least 95% of the schools joining in the celebration of the African awareness month annually in the month of February.

“Kwanzaa does not seek to replace Christmas, but provides an alternative for those who seek a more afro centered holiday celebration” Rev. Wayne reiterates as he adds that unlike white supremacists portraying the western world as the pioneers of Faith beliefs, Africans have always been spiritual.

The seven days long ceremony stands on Pan Africanist Dr. Maulana Karenga ’s shared creation of this collective celebration of Afrakan family, community, culture, heritage and sovereignty that existed in different harvest and village healing prosperity celebrations for millennia.

The celebration stands on the principles of Unity, self determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and Faith.

“Africans should embrace practices that rejuvenate the spirit of Pan-Africanism” Rev.Wells concludes.

Written by : Agnes Namale
AIDO Press Secretary.

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