Habari Gani?! What’s the good news today?
On this day we celebrate Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics),“to build and maintain our own stores, shops and other businesses and to profit from them together.“ As noted on the official Kwanzaa website, Ujamaa embodies shared work and wealth, economic self-reliance, and obligation of generosity. Karenga notes, “To share wealth and work, then, is to share concern, care and responsibility for a new, more human and fulfilling future”.
Historically, Ujamaa was introduced as a socialist philosophy in Tanzania by its first president Julius Nyerere. Nyerere used “Ujamaa” as a revolutionary concept in the development of a national infrastructure centered on communal values. Everything from Black Wall Street to McKissack & McKissack to The Philadelphia Tribune to The National Business League proves that African-Americans have been resisting in the spirit of Ujamaa for centuries.
It’s about working together, making a change, and creating legacies!!
In that spirit, here are a few ways in which you can practice Ujamaa:
- Organize a buying club in your neighborhood, housing co-op or apartment building. Items such as laundry detergent, toilet paper, paper towels, socks, sanitizing wipes, water, and a variety of non-perishable goods can be purchased in bulk and the cost shared so that everyone gets these items cheaper than what they would pay buying them retail.
- Support black and local and independent small businesses or businesspersons, cooperatives, artists, practitioners and others who are community- and environmentally-minded.
- Join a city and/or community garden in your local neighborhood
- Shop at your local farmers’ markets (National Farmers Market Directory)
As each of our families celebrate Kwanzaa and richness of African-American culture this year and every year, let us all find inspiration in the principle of Ujamaa in the development of a new global economy built through communal values and cooperatives.
Harambee!! Let’s all work together!!