The Baton Rouge group Afrocentric Focus/Maat will host its 29th Kwanzaa celebration Saturday, Dec. 29. Kwanzaa, the celebration of African-American heritage and culture, begins Dec. 26 and runs through Jan. 1, with each day dedicated to a special community principle.
Afrocentric Focus/Maat's celebration, which begins at 5 p.m. in Southern University's T.T. Allain Building, will feature a presentation by psychologist and Howard University assistant professor Kevin Washington (Mwata Kairi), a performance by New Orleans' Kumbuka African Drum & Dance Collective, free food and vendors displaying books, clothing and cultural items related to African heritage.
"It's also child-centered," said Baye Iyanu, a co-organizer of the event with his wife, Nomzamo Iyanu. The couple own the clothing and African cultural products store Nomzamo's.
"We have a lot of children involved," Iyanu said. "They're involved with the ceremony itself, setting up the program, lighting the candles and doing different rituals."
The event, on the fourth day of Kwanzaa, will focus on the principle Ujamaa, or cooperative economics. According to official text for the seven principles of Kwanzaa, Ujamaa means "To build and maintain our own stores, shops and other businesses and to profit from them together." The holiday's other principles are: Umoja (unity), Kujichagulia (self-determination), Ujima (collective work and responsibility), Nia (purpose), Kuumba (creativity) and Imani (faith).
"You should celebrate a different principle each day" of Kwanzaa, Iyanu said. "It just so happens our celebration falls on that particular date."
Washington, the keynote speaker, will talk about Ujamaa and his work in psychology, focusing on African-American mental health, Iyanu said. A former president of the Association of Black Psychologists, Washington received his bachelor's degree from Grambling State University and his master's and doctoral degrees from Texas A&M.
Hosted by Afrocentric Focus/Maat and Southern University
5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 29
Global Conference Room 313, T.T. Allain Building at Southern University