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How Afro-Caribbean People Can Achieve Their Purpose

CT-MET-KWANZAA-CTMAIN 1227 SRToday is the fifth day of Kwanzaa, and although it isn’t widely observed in the Caribbean, there are some persons of African descent residing here who celebrate the occasion.

Along with the fifth day of Kwanzaa comes the fifth principle of Kwanzaa, which is Nia. Nia in Kwanzaa means purpose, and it teaches us to work to restore the greatness that was originally ours.

The break down of Nia, or purpose, among Afro-Caribbean nationals is truly disheartening. One way in which there has been a breakdown is that blacks in the Caribbean barely even know who they are historically speaking. The one thing taught about Africans in Caribbean schools is slavery. Nothing is taught of the rich culture that was stolen from the Africans when they were enslaved.

 

Other ethnic groups in the Caribbean, such as Indo-Caribbean nationals and Asian-Caribbean nationals, have still managed to maintain much of their culture, including their music, their traditions, and their food. Place a traditional African dish in front of almost any Caribbean national of African descent, and they will most likely be unaware of what it is, or what it is called.

One terrible side-effect of not truly knowing one’s history and not being aware of the greatness from which you descended is that you are in danger of believing that you only deserve and can only achieve mediocrity.

Afro-Caribbean people can’t be blamed for not knowing of their heritage; for not having passed on African customs and teachings to their children. Slavery of blacks in the Caribbean almost entirely crushed and eradicated those customs and teachings, so much so that, today, in the Caribbean, there are still Indo-Caribbean people and Asian-Caribbean people who carry Asian/Indian last names, but finding a black person with an African surname is difficult.

It’s not too late, though.

Now, we have a choice. Now, Afro-Caribbean people can educate themselves about their African heritage, and pass their knowledge on to their children and grandchildren. Now, Afro-Caribbean people can let the younger  generation know that we did not descend from slaves, but rather, from royalty; from kings and queens. When those kings and queens were stolen from their native Africa to be brought to the Caribbean to work on sugarcane plantations, they were still kings and queens. “Slave” is only the title that was forced upon them.

We must remind each other of and teach the younger ones the following mantra: “I came from greatness; therefore I can and will achieve greatness.”

Happy Kwanzaa.

By: Danielle Dixon

Follow her on Twitter: @tooprettydani

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