West Windsor-Plainsboro High South readies Kwanzaa celebration

By: Emily Craighead
   A Kwanzaa celebration will take place Thursday at West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South.
   The cultural event, hosted by the high school’s African American Club and the African American Parents Support Group, is open to the public.
   The keynote speaker is Barbara Flythe — co-founder of the WW-P African American Parents Support Group — who will discuss themes central to Kwanzaa, reaffirming and restoring culture and community.
   When the holiday was first celebrated at the high school, Ms. Flythe said, "it was a way to get African-American parents interested in a holiday event."
   The holiday is not a replacement for Christmas, she explained, but a spiritual "turning to your roots."
   Students will read poetry that has a cultural relevance, read the principles of Kwanzaa and light candles.
   Kwanzaa, first celebrated in the 1960s, is a black and Pan-African holiday celebrating family, community and culture. It was founded to reaffirm the communitarian vision and values of African culture. Its role is partly to contribute to restoring that vision among African peoples in the Diaspora, beginning with Africans in America and expanding to include the world African community.
   Celebrated from Dec. 26 through Jan. 1, its origins are in the first harvest celebrations of Africa from which it takes its name. The name Kwanzaa is derived from the phrase "matunda ya kwanza," which means "first fruits" in Swahili, the most widely spoken African language.
   The event begins at 7 p.m.