Comments on Africa & Kwanzaa
By James H. Dearmore II - © 2006
Veteran Africa Missionary

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One of the most insulting things which has ever been foisted upon Americans, especially black Americans, is the entirely fraudulent "traditional African holiday" called "Kwanzaa" by its inventor and principal perpetrator.

Ron Karenga (Dr. Maulana Ron Karenga) invented the seven-day feast (Dec. 26-Jan. 1) in 1966, promoting it as a black alternative to Christmas. He supposedly wanted to end what he considered the Christmas season exploitation of African Americans. In reality, I believe it was just one of the early salvos in America in the increasingly shrill efforts by many to denigrate Christianity, and remove it entirely from public discourse or display.

If you go to the official Kwanzaa Web site, as I did, you will see that the celebration was instigated to foster "conditions that would enhance revolutionary social change (notice the typical socialist/communist rhetoric) for the masses of Black Americans" and provide a "reassessment, reclaiming, recommitment, remembrance, retrieval, resumption, resurrection and rejuvenation of those principles (and way of life) utilized by Black Americans' ancestors."

Karenga propounded the following seven "principles": unity, self-determination, collective work and responsibility, cooperative economics, purpose, creativity and faith. He designates one day during Kwanzaa week for each principle. He and his followers made up a flag for black nationalism and a pledge: "We pledge allegiance to the red, black, and green, our flag, the symbol of our eternal struggle, and to the land we must obtain; one nation of black people, with one God of us all, totally united in the struggle, for black love, black freedom, and black self-determination."

And thus he goes back to the old "Black Nation Separatism" which wants to "secede from the Union," and set up a separate black nation in parts of what is now the United States. But when we really begin to examine the "Kwanzaa Traditional Black African Holiday" we find immediately that every part of it is fraudulent -- It comes only from the imagination of Karenga and his associates.

Even the name is fraudulent. It comes from the Swahili term "matunda yakwanza," or "first fruit," and the festival's trappings have been given Swahili names - - - such as "ujima" for "collective work and responsibility" or "muhindi," which are ears of corn celebrants set aside for each child in a family.

But Swahili has little relevance for American blacks. Nearly all of the slaves in slave trading days were taken from West Africa, (usually by Arab slave hunters/traders, with the connivance of some of the black chiefs and/or tribes of West Africa, and largely but not exclusively hauled away in British ships). Therefore, Swahili as an East African tongue, has absolutely no ancestral connection to most American blacks, nor to most other blacks anywhere in the world who descended from slaves.

As Tony Snow said in a column he wrote some years back, "the cultural gap between Senegal and Kenya is as dramatic as the chasm that separates, say, London and Tehran. Imagine singing "God Save the Queen" in Farsi, and you grasp the enormity of the cultural deception in Kwanzaa using Swahili."

And even more destructive to the idea of Kwanzaa as a "traditional African holiday or festival, the ceremonies invoked for Kwanzaa have no African roots of any kind, from East or West Africa.

You will not find any African culture, East or West, which celebrates a harvesting ritual in December. And all the talk about human dignity does not fit well with such still-common practices as female circumcision and polygamy (even slavery in some African countries).

So Karenga and his co-inventors of Kwanzaa weren't promoting a return to African roots; they were simply promoting Marxism. They used the term "ujima," which Julius Nyerere cited when he uprooted tens of thousands of Tanzanians and shipped them forcibly to collective farms. These "collective farms" were a massive failure, and their principal production capability was cultivating misery, rather than defeating hunger.

Even the rituals using corn don't fit. Since corn is not indigenous to Africa, every Kwanzaa ritual using it is contrary to any traditional African culture. Indians developed corn, and the crop was then carried worldwide by white colonialists.

The fact is, there is no universal "African" culture. Instead there are many "tribal cultures". Hutus and Tutsis still slaughter one another for sport, as we have seen recently.

If you go to Africa and stay long enough, and live among the tribal people for years, as I have, you will see constant "tribal racism." Even in Kenya, you will see endless hostility between Kikuyu, Luo, Luhya and Masai. In most African countries, their divisions have always been based more on tribal animosities than on ideology. I can attest from my own 33 years in African tribal missions work that most tribes hate most other tribes, and have little or no use for them.

As in some other parts of the world, chaos too often prevails in Africa over order. Warlords hold sway in Somalia, Eritrea, Liberia, Congo/Zaire, and others. Genocidal maniacs have wiped out millions in Rwanda, Uganda, Somalia and Ethiopia. This entire passage is true of much of Africa, probably most, not just the named countries. Vicious racism of the most virulent kind is PREVALENT in large parts of Africa. I DO NOT refer here to (some) whites hatred of blacks but primarily I refer to blacks hatred of whites and each black tribes hatred against other tribes. Even the once great hopes for Kenya have long ago vanished in this virulent black vs black racism/tribalism.

I ( James Dearmore, ) have served as a missionary to Africa for 33 years, and would not trade any of that time or work. I love Africa, and still love the African tribes people. Many hundreds of them still remember, love, and respect me and my family, and the work we did among them in Congo, Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), South Africa and Bophuthatswana. My family and I learned two African languages fluently (bits and pieces of others), lived among them much of the time in a mud walled, grass-roofed house, without electricity, running water, and no modern plumbing, no television, no telephone communications, etc. We have truly "been there, done that."

And I expect to see many of them on the golden street one day, because our Church sent us with the Gospel message of salvation by grace alone, based on the finished work of Jesus Christ, our Saviour. Most of the Africans have been, and generally still are, being abused and exploited by their leaders, and life itself is a burden to many of them.

Many of them have never learned to "plan ahead" and many of them think only of "today". Many have never learned to "keep on working hard" even when the needs of today and maybe tomorrow have been met or exceeded. Some of this is attributable, perhaps, to the way many of the tribesmen have lived a subsistence life, generally abused, constantly lied to and used by their so-called "leaders".

But the day is coming, thank God, when there will be no more little children with swollen bellies from malnutrition, and the despots who helped keep the world that way will be called to account at the judgment, and in hell, for their rejection of Christ and all of their evil deeds, often committed against the helpless.

And our Righteous King, the Lord Jesus Christ will reign from Jerusalem, over all the earth, and the faithful of His Church will reign and rule with him. "And the earth shall be full of His knowledge and glory, as waters that cover the sea," as the old song says.

Detroit native Keith Richburg writes in his extraordinary book, "Out of America: A Black Man Confronts Africa," that "this strange place defies even the staunchest of optimists; it drains you of hope . . ."

Richburg, who served for three years as the African bureau chief for The Washington Post, offers a challenge for the likes of Karenga: "Talk to me about Africa and my black roots and my kinship with my African brothers and I'll throw it back in your face, and then I'll rub your nose in the images of rotting flesh."

His book concludes: "I have been there, and I have seen - - - and frankly, I want no part of it. - - - By an accident of birth, I am a black man born in America, and everything I am today - - - my culture and my attitudes, my sensibilities, loves and desires - - - derives from that one simple and irrefutable fact."

As Tony Snow said in his article in 1998, (mentioned above) "Nobody ever ennobled a people with a lie or restored stolen dignity through fraud. Kwanzaa is the ultimate chump holiday - - - Jim Crow with a false and festive wardrobe. It praises practices - - - "cooperative economics, and collective work and responsibility" - - - that have succeeded nowhere on earth and would mire American blacks in endless backwardness.

The white establishment has thrown in with Kwanzaa, not just to cash in on the business, but to patronize black activists and shut them up.

When President Clinton signed his fourth Kwanzaa proclamation, some years back, he said:

"The symbols and ceremony of Kwanzaa, evoking the rich history and heritage of African Americans, remind us that our nation draws much of its strength from our diversity."

But as Richburg points out, "the real strength of America comes from real principles: tolerance, brotherhood, hard work, personal responsibility, equality before the law. He went on to say that Americans who really care about racial healing, should focus on those ideas - - - and not on a made-up rite that substitutes black promoted segregationism for spirituality and fiction for history."

In conclusion, I would add also, that our real strength as a people comes from the fact that our nation was founded as a "Christian Nation" and was originally based on Biblical Christian principles. Even our Declaration of Independence and our Constitution were based generally on Christian and Bible principles. In addition, revisionist modern historians to the contrary, nearly all of the founding fathers were Christian in their beliefs and practices. Few, if any, were "Deists," "agnostics," "free-thinkers," etc., (with the possible exception of Paine).

We have been signally blessed as a nation and people, by Our Creator God, Who still rules in the affairs of men, whatever so-called political and religious "liberals" and other unbelievers may say! (James Dearmore, November 30, 2006, Garland, TX.).