Chesapeake Public Library is committed to educating and enriching people of all ages by providing free access to information, materials, technology and cultural opportunities, as our Mission Statement reads.  And now that the holiday season is already upon us,  Indian River Library is proud to be presenting a program rich with cultural and educational significance : the Fourth Annual Kwanzaa Celebration at Indian River Library, which will take place on December 27, 2016 in the large Meeting Room.  There will be something for everyone of all ages: an arts and crafts portion for families and children, which starts at 3:00 P.M and continues until 4:30 P.M.  Then, after a short break and an opportunity for fellowship, there will be an exciting and instructional musical performance by Atumpan and the Talking Drums, running from 5:30 PM to 7:30 PM.

Kwanzaa was created in 1966 by Dr. Maulana Krenga as a cultural festival which honors African-Americans and their ancestral roots in Africa.  “Kwanzaa” is a Swahili word meaning “first fruit.”  It is a celebration of the bounty of the earth.  Through the “Nguzo Saba”, or seven principles, Kwanzaa inspires and encourages self-sufficiency as well as dignity, pride and respect in the rich heritage of African culture.  Kwanzaa lasts seven days, with each day representing a different principle celebrating a different aspect of African-American self-empowerment.



In 2016, December 27 happens to be the second day of Kwanzaa.  This means that the celebration at Indian River Library will focus on Kujichagulia (the second of the seven principles of Kwanzaa), which means “self-determination.”  Kujichagulia means thinking, speaking and acting for oneself rather than being defined, named, created and spoken for by others.

There will be arts and crafts activities for families and children beginning at 3:00PM.   This portion of the program will be conducted by Barbara Alexander, a member of the Essence Book Club of Chesapeake.  It will feature (1) African Heritage Storytelling; (2) instruction regarding the seven principles of Kwanzaa where youngsters will write down their responses to the seven principles; (3) arts and crafts doll making; and (4) a closing activity consisting of song and dance.


Beginning at 5:30PM, Atumpan and the Talking Drums will lead everyone through an interactive, instructional and informative program featuring celebration of African heritage through music, storytelling, and instruction.  Selected audience members will be handed instruments to play along with Atumpan, and everyone can join in the singing portion as well.  Traditional stories of self-empowerment originating in Mali and other African nations will be narrated and explained.

This promises to be a very enjoyable and informative program for all.

This program is sponsored by the Essence Book Club of Chesapeake.  The Essence Book Club meets the first Thursday of every month at Indian River Library from 6:30Pm to 8:00PM.  Each meeting features discussion of an important book by an African-American author.  The discussions are always lively and informative, and on occasion the author of the book under discussion will talk in a question-and-answer format with Essence Book Club members live via Skype.


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