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The Nguzo Saba is a value system developed by Maulana Karenga in the 1960s for African Americans. It is relevant here as an example of borrowing African traditional cultural traits and utilizing them for people of African descent in the diaspora. Beginning with a brief explanation of Kawaida, the doctrine from which the Nguzo Saba was derived, the entry continues with a discussion of the meaning and utilization of the Nguzo Saba, including its use as a part of the African American celebration of Kwanzaa.


In the mid-1960s, Karenga developed a philosophy and doctrine—a way of life—called Kawaida. Kawaida is a Kiswahili word that means “tradition.” Kawaida is a social, political, and cultural construction designed specifically to address the African American struggle ...

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