The Dunbar Heritage Association hosted the first community Kwanzaa celebration from Dec. 26, 2022 through Jan. 1, 2023. Another first for San Marcos was a Kinara on the Historic Hays Courthouse Square.
Photos submitted by Jonafa Banbury
Lefttoright,AlexBanbury,Jr.DHAPresident;CrystalAnderson,KwanzaaParticipant;Jonafa Banbury, DHA Secretary; Kelly Glover, Kwanzaa MC; and Luiz Coutinho, drummer.
Guest speaker Dr. Augustine Agwuele addresses the gathered crowd at the Historic Hays County Courthouse during this year’s Kwanzaa celebration.
The last night of Kwanzaa was an in-person celebration on Jan. 1 at the Cephas House.
Rev. Allen Green, Jr. plays drums at San Marcos’ first Kwanzaa celebration.
Photos submitted by Jonafa Banbury
The beautifully-dressed table with the Kinara (candle holder) and candles (Mishumaa Saba) surrounded by various symbols of Kwanzaa.
Habari Gani is a Swahili term that means, “What’s the news?” or “What’s the word?” During the seven days of Kwanzaa celebrations, Habari Gani is a question posed every day in a call and response. The answer for each day is one of the Nguzo Saba: the seven principles of Kwanzaa.
In 2022, the Dunbar Heritage Association answered each of these seven principles as it hosted San Marcos’ first Kwanzaa celebration, which took place from Dec. 26 to Jan. 1.
While most people have heard of Kwanzaa in passing, many may not know what the celebration is all about. The DHA’s first observance of Kwanzaa offered the community an opportunity to broaden their understanding of this important African American holiday. Since February is Black History Month, now is a perfect time to learn more about the holiday in preparation for next year’s Kwanzaa celebration.
Kwanzaa is a non-religious, cultural holiday focusing on family, community and culture. Modeled after the first harvest celebrations in Africa, the meaning of the name Kwanzaa comes from the Swahili phrase, “matunda ya kwanza,” which
Brazilian-born musician Luiz Coutinho led Kwanzaa participants in communal drumming.
means the “first fruits” of the harvest.
Each of the seven nights of the celebration highlights one of the seven principles of the Nguza Saba, answering the question, “Habari Gani.”
The first principle, observed on the first night, is Umoja, or unity, which means to strive for and not maintain unity in the family, community, nation and race.
The second principle is Kujichagulia, or self determination, meaning to define, name, create for and speak for oneself.
The third principle is Ujima, which is collective work and responsibility, with the aim to build and maintain community and solve problems together.
On the fourth night, Kwanzaa observed the fourth principle: Ujamaa, or cooperative economics. This principle highlights the effort to maintain business connections within the community so that stores and businesses may profit and thrive together.
The fifth principle is Nia, or purpose, which means coming together for the purpose of building and developing community in order to restore the people to their traditional greatness.
The sixth night of Kwanzaa observes the principle of Kuumba, or creativity. This principle encourages people to leave the community more beautiful and beneficial than when it was inherited.
Finally, on the seventh night, participants observe the principle of Imani, or faith. This principle represents the heartfelt belief in the people, parents, teachers and leaders who have led the way to victory through struggle.
The 2022 celebration of Kwanzaa featured in-person speakers, performers, communal drumming and participants from all walks of San Marcos life. The first night of the celebration was on Dec. 26, 2022 at the Hays County Historic Courthouse, where the first candle in the Kinara was lit.
“The other first was a Kinara on the History Hays Courthouse Square,” Jonafa Banbury, DHA secretary said. “We lit the first candle and reflected on the first Kwanzaa principle of Umoja, which means Unity. I would say this classifies as Black History in San Marcos.”
The word Kinara is a Swahili word that means candle holder. A traditional Kinara has three red candles on the left, three green on the right and a single black candle in the center. On the final day of Kwanzaa, participants enjoyed an African feast called karamu.
To learn more about Kwanzaa and the important people and history of Black Culture in San Marcos, visit the Dunbar Heritage website at dhasmtx.com.