La Fête de Kwanzaa

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You don’t have to be African-American, or français d’origine africaine, or even African, to appreciate Kwanzaa.  It stands for everything good, and deserves to be adopted by all of us.  In case you’ve been wondering what it’s all about, here’s a great explanation of the Seven Principles of Kwanzaa, written by Dr. Maulana Karenga and posted on the official Kwanzaa website.

“Umoja (Unity) calls on us to practice a principled togetherness in
our relationships, rooted in mutual respect, justice and shared good in the world.”

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“Kujichagulia (Self Determination) teaches us to define ourselves by the good we do and the way we assert ourselves in the world in the life enhancing, world preserving and upward ways of our ancestors.”

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“Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility) reminds us that we must together build the good world we want and deserve to live in and leave as a legacy worthy of our history and consciously concerned with our future and that of the world.”

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“Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics) urges us to share the work and wealth of the world in just and equitable ways and seek the good life of dignity, decency and prosperity for everyone.”

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“Nia (Purpose) calls on us to pursue the collective vocation of bringing,
increasing and sustaining good in the world in emulation and evocation of our traditional greatness.”

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“Kuumba (Creativity) requires that we constantly strive to make and leave our community and world more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.”

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“And Imani (Faith) teaches us to believe in the good, hope for the best and work and struggle relentlessly to make both a reality.”

To help you get in the Kwanzaa spirit, here’s my recipe for a Kwanzaa stew.  I can’t claim that it’s authentic, except in the sense that it uses ingredients common to many African cuisines, and it tastes just right at this time of year, especially when shared with people who are working to make the world a better place.

Abra’s Kwanzaa Stew

2 cups chicken broth
1 cup chopped kale
2 cups diced tomatoes
1 cup cooked chick peas
1 medium sweet potato, baked and cut into chunks
1 T peanut butter
1 T ketjap manis, or a mix of soy sauce and molasses
1 tsp pimenton, or a very good paprika
2-3 dashes piri-piri sauce, or other very hot sauce
1/4 tsp toasted sesame oil
salt and pepper to taste

Place the broth and the chopped kale in a pot, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes until kale is tender.   Add the tomatoes and chick peas and simmer for a few more minutes.   Add peanut butter, ketjap manis, pimenton, and piri-piri and stir until smooth.  Stir in sweet potato and simmer until it partially dissolves into the stew, leaving a few chunks for texture.  Serve with flat bread, rice, or polenta.

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6 Comments on “La Fête de Kwanzaa”

  1. Eden Says:

    Inquiring minds want to know more about the art in this posting?

  2. Abra Bennett Says:

    Ah, thank you for noticing! That’s my art. At least, it’s a lady vase that I filled with flowers and photographed in various locations, then photoshopped, if you can call that art. I like some of the images better than others, but as a whole, I’m pretty happy with them.

  3. Lauren Says:

    Abra, your art is beautiful. You are one talented lady.

  4. Jill Says:

    Abra, your pictures are stunning and the message with them has filled me with hope for making sense of the year ahead. Thank you so much, and best wishes to everyone in 2009.

  5. Rona Y Says:

    I was just about to ask about the art, too! I love the fourth one, especially. I can’t believe it’s photoshopped–any plans to sell some?

  6. Abra Bennett Says:

    I never thought of selling any of my pictures, I’m a total amateur! I’m really glad people are enjoying them, though.


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