kwanzaa with atumpan

Kwanzaa is an African-American and pan-African holiday founded in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga in the midst of the Black Freedom Movement. It was founded in America, yet draws from the values across various African roots. This year marks 50th year of celebrating Kwanzaa. Prior to watching my sister perform for Turtle Tales with Atumpan Edutainment, I didn't really have any context for the celebration. I mentioned it to some friends, and they also had no clue. Learning more about it brought out more appreciation for the message of the show. What stuck to me the most were the seven principles that span across the seven days of celebration (via Atumpan edutainment and officialkwanzaawebsite):

Seven principles

  • Umoja — Unity
  • Kujichagulia — Self-Determination
  • Ujima — Collective Work and Responsibility
  • Ujamaa — Cooperative Economics
  • Nia — Purpose
  • Kuumba — Creativity
  • Imani — Faith

The greeting for the seven days of celebration is Habari gani? or What's the news? Depending on what day of celebration it is, the reply would be, Umoja for day one, Kujichagulia for day two, and so on. Atumpan Edutainment really lives up to their name in their practice through well produced moral lessons and entertaining ensembles. The cofounders of the organization are a power couple (power family! with their three daughters) and it was easy to see how much they are loved by their community. The energy in the theatre was alive when they all came on stage at the Attucks theater. Unfortunately, I left my camera that night. But fortunately, they had more shows! Here are some shots from their performance at Zion Baptist Church and Military Circle Center. Again, congrats to Atumpan Edutainment for several successful shows celebrating such an important holiday.


Zion Baptist Church in Portsmouth,  VA

 Edilen with some of the Atumpan clan.

Edilen with some of the Atumpan clan.

 The music was the pulse and brought every show to life.

The music was the pulse and brought every show to life.


Military Circle Center performance

 Each show wrapped up with the cast inviting the audience to raise our right hands and pull down in a fist, while saying  HARAMBEE  in unison. I'd only ever heard the term Harambe because of the gorilla that was shot. Turns out, it's a Kiswahili term that means  all for one.  It reminded me of how we used to close our Pin@y Educational Partnership (PEP) meetings with  ISANG BAGSAK , one down one fall. 

Each show wrapped up with the cast inviting the audience to raise our right hands and pull down in a fist, while saying HARAMBEE in unison. I'd only ever heard the term Harambe because of the gorilla that was shot. Turns out, it's a Kiswahili term that means all for one. It reminded me of how we used to close our Pin@y Educational Partnership (PEP) meetings with ISANG BAGSAK, one down one fall. 

— evelyn, appreciating umoja, ujaamaa, and kuumba