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Kwanzaa kicks off in Charlotte Monday with week of cultural celebrations

(L-R) Edith Delaine, Lugertha Morris and Mildred King sing during a Kwanzaa celebration .
(L-R) Edith Delaine, Lugertha Morris and Mildred King sing during a Kwanzaa celebration . Special to the Observer

Charlotte’s annual celebration of the Kwanzaa runs Dec. 26 through Jan. 1.

The event, called “A Celebration of Family, Community and Culture,” consists of a series of free events that run 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at five different sites in the city. Included among the events is an African marketplace.

Kwanzaa is an African-American celebration established in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Karenga. It is a seven-day, non-heroic, non-religious and non-political observance, celebrated by millions throughout the world.

Kwanzaa is based on African “first fruit” harvest celebrations. The Kiswahili language is used to express the Nguzo Saba (Seven Principles), which have a particular and universal value in their call for thoughtful and practical applications 365 days of the year.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the founding of Kwanzaa and the 32nd year of local celebrations produced by Kwanzaa Charlotte, a volunteer group of individuals and organizations.

For details on events, visit www.kwanzaacharlotte.com

Kwanzaa Charlotte events are educational and cultural activities designed to benefit the entire Charlotte community and centering on the Nguzo Saba. Each day families and individuals are reminded to incorporate the values expressed in the Nguza Saba into their life.

Monday, Dec. 26 – Umoja (Unity)

Location: Greenville Memorial AME Zion Church, 6116 Montieth Drive.

6 p.m. – African Marketplace.

Host: A Sign of the Times Band and the Rev. Sheldon R. Shipman.

704-596-4742 or 704-399-0432.

Tuesday, Dec. 27 – Kujichagulia (Self Determination)

Location: Little Rock AME Zion Church Family Life Center, 401 N. McDowell Street.

6 p.m. – African Marketplace.

Host: Kwanzaa Charlotte & The Nation of Islam.

704-375-4339 or 704-777-0965.

Wednesday, Dec. 28 – Ujima (Collective Work & Responsibility)

Location: Our Lady of Consolation Catholic Church Family Life Center, 1235 Badger Court.

6 p.m. – African Marketplace.

Host: Kwanzaa Charlotte Youth Affiliate.

704-215-2225.

Thursday, Dec. 29 – Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics)

Location: Our Lady of Consolation Catholic Church Family Life Center, 1235 Badger Court.

6 p.m. – African Marketplace.

Host: Kwanzaa Charlotte.

704-608-1877.

Friday, Dec. 30 – Nia (Purpose)

Location: Wallace Pruitt Recreation Center (adjacent to Bruns Academy), 440 Wesley Heights Way.

6 p.m. – African Marketplace.

Host: Mecklenburg County Parks Recreation, The Jzar Family.

704-299-2659 or 704-432-6775

Saturday, Dec. 31 – Kuumba (Creativity)

Location: Kamitic Life Center, 2715 Tuckaseegee Road.

6 p.m. – African Marketplace.

Host: Ausar Auset Society & Kamit Natural Foods.

704-339-0038

Sunday, Jan. 1 – Imani (Faith)

Location: Greenville Memorial AME Zion Church, 6116 Montieth Drive.

Host: A Sign of the Times Band & the Rev. Dr. Sheldon R. Shipman.

704-596-4742 or 704-399-0432.

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