Ngozi Farm and Cultural Sanctuary hosts annual Kwanzaa celebration

Ngozi Farm and Cultural Sanctuary  hosts annual Kwanzaa celebration

Archbishop Devon Amy invited God’s presence into the proceedings.


BRIDGETOWN, Barbados--Members of the Pan-African Association, dignitaries and members of the public ended 2022 with a Blessing Ceremony and African Village Farmers Market held at Ngozi Farm and Cultural Sanctuary at Turners Hall, St. Andrew, on December 31. 

  The Blessing Ceremony, which was in collaboration with the Division of Culture, Prime Minister’s Office, was a part of the Kwanzaa celebrations and was held under the theme “Reflecting to the past, understanding the present and preparing for the future”. It was the second annual celebration.

  From as early as 3:00pm specially invited guests, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office with Responsibility for Culture, Senator Dr. Shantal Munro-Knight as well as members of the public were treated to a procession of the elders led by drummers from the Pinelands Creative Workshop and Haynesville Youth Club as they celebrated and gave thanks for bringing one and all to the end of the year. 

  The rhythmic sounds of the drums were present as Archbishop Devon Amy, who is a member of the Spiritual Baptist Faith, invited God’s presence into the proceedings. 

  Director of the Ngozi Farm and Cultural Sanctuary Ireka Jelani, in her welcome remarks, said the concept of Kwanzaa was derived in 1966 and consisted of seven main principles, which are Umoja (Unity), Kujichagulia (Self-Determination), Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility), Ujamaa (Co-operative Economics), Nia (Purpose), Kuumba (Creativity) and Imani (Faith). She gave a brief explanation of how Kwanzaa originated and its importance.

  “Kwanzaa is an annual cultural event which allows us to connect to our African heritage. Kwanzaa was created and introduced in 1966 by Maulana Ndabezitha Karenga as an African American festival, as a way to celebrate harvest and sharing. In addition to hope and faith, Kwanzaa also represents black struggle, history, consciousness and philosophical groundings,” she said, adding that the annual event runs from December 26 to January 1.

  Jelani explained that the Kwanzaa event that was being held was under the sixth principle Kuumba which promotes creativity. 

  “Kuumba is the commitment to being creative within the context of the national community and aims to restore our people to their traditional greatness, thus leaving our community more beneficial and beautiful than we inherited it,” she said. 

  Dr. Munro-Knight thanked Jelani for her outstanding works to ensure that Kwanzaa is celebrated in Barbados and that the teaching of African customs and norms is not lost in Barbadian society. Members of the audience clapped and cheered as a beaming Jelani stood to receive her public recognition. 

  In her featured address, Senator Munro-Knight stated that elders must continue to pass on the generational knowledge to the members of the youth. 

  “It is very important in the context of the Kwanzaa celebrations that we remain in touch with our traditions and that we pass on that generational knowledge, because very often one of the reasons those traditions are lost is because we are not always good stewards. Good stewards not only make sure that there is a seed planted for them in the context of the now, but good stewards ensure that there is a good harvest in the future. That is one of my critical messages in the context of this [Saturday, December 31 – Ed.] evening’s celebrations, that as we speak about the blessing ceremony and reflecting on the past that we also make sure very frontally that we have our eyes on the future, so that those coming after us that they can also have that same kind of knowledge, but not only critical knowledge but also pride,” she said. 

  Jelani presented Munro-Knight with a vegetable basket filled with items from her farm. She noted that the Ngozi Farm and Cultural Sanctuary prided itself on locally grown crops, culinary and medicinal herbs and handwoven basketry training; and also offered guided tours for members of the public.

  The Kwanzaa celebration ended with a feast which featured many delicious vegetarian dishes which were enjoyed by residents and guests in attendance.  ~ Barbados TODAY ~

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