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On The Fifth Day Of Kwanzaa: Nia (Purpose)

On The Fifth Day Of Kwanzaa: Nia (Purpose)


NIA– to make our collective vocation the building of our community to restore our people to their traditional greatness!

Nia/Purpose: “Commitment, duty, and obligation to contribute to the morally serious purpose and noble goal, of nation building, i.e. , the quest to recover and restore the African American family, community, and people as a whole


Nia Theme: “Nation Building”



Today is the fourth day of Kwanzaa. Family (and friends) come together to celebrate the Nia principle. Nia/Purpose principle is a call to nation building, a call to rehabilitate and restore African Americans to their traditional greatness, beginning at the level of the family. The African proverb is strikingly insightful in illuminating the centrality of the family in the nation building project, declaring: “The ruin of a nation begins in the homes of its people.” And, conversely, the development and elevation of the nation begins in the home. This is an affirmation that nation building begins at the smallest level, the family.




The Nation Building Project: “Up You Mighty People”



Marcus Garvey led the first mass black movement of the twentieth century.  The Garvey movement called upon Africans everywhere to work reclaim Africa, struggle to reclaim their better selves, and strive to restore their history and humanity. Marcus Garvey believed in the primacy of race as the starting point for the liberation of all African people. Central to Garvey’s “race first” philosophy was the doctrine self-reliance and self determination, and nationhood.


The central focus of the Garvey Movement was the idea of nation building-the building of strong independent black nations, which would take its rightful place among the communities of nations. The reclaiming and restoring Africa was the linchpin Garvey’s nation building strategy.  The starting point for the nation building efforts was the creation of an African centric culture which would reinforce a positive black self-image and a can-do ethos of nation building.  A great many of the activities of the UNIA were designed to serve this purpose. “Nation building is our program, not building apartment houses or churches, that too small a job for us”, thundered Marcus Garvey’s wife, Amy Jacques Garvey.


Ingathering Activity: Today we come together as family to talk about the principle Nia and how we have observed this principle in practice throughout the year. To be sure, nation building begins in the home. Therefore, the family engages in conversation around the duty and obligation to contributing to the noble mission of elevating African Americans by first developing yourself and your family, and then deciding in what ways you can involve yourself- through an organized effort, can you serve your people.



Remembrance Activity: Family members may in various ways raise the names of love ones who have passed on.  In speaking their names and talking about their deeds, service, and accomplishment, we evoke their spiritual presence and ensure that they will live on forever.


Libation: Optional



Candle Lighting Activity: On the fifth day of Kwanzaa the family lights the green candle. This candle is symbolic of hope and future. The placement and order of the Kwanzaa candles teach and reinforce valuable lessons for the family. The lesson here is that we light the green candle to reinforce the value and priority we place our future.


Assessment and Commitment: Family members take inventory and discuss what efforts they have made toward keeping their Nia commitment and recommit themselves to the practice of this principle in 2013.


Kwanzaa Journal (Optional): Record you Niacommitment in your journal



Karamu (Feast) and Celebration: Enjoy yourself and the delicious food; this is time for celebrate the joy of living, love among family and friends and the achievement of which have been attained throughout the year.



Note: Gifts may be given on any of the seven days of Kwanzaa.



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