Habari gani – ujimaa : What’s the news? Collective work and responsibility.
Light the black candle first to represent umoja (unity) then use it to light the first red candle – kujichagulia (self determination) and the second red candle ujimaa (collective work and responsibility).
Shout harambee (let’s pull together) as each candle is lit. Then exchange zwadi (gifts).
Pour water into the kikombe cha umoja (cup of unity) and have the eldest guest give a toast before each guest sips from the cup.
It is time to discuss and reflect on the principle of the day.
The principle of ujimaa – collective work and responsibility
The key concepts in this principle is collective and responsibility.
Ujimaa should not be mistaken for socialism. Ujimaa calls for all who are able to pull their weight and to pull the weight of those who are not able. We must not try to pull the weight of those who are unwilling.
Parents are responsible for providing for those who are unable to provide for themselves, their children. Under the concept of ujimaa, parents should prepare their children to one day assume the responsibilities of supporting themselves.
Our children cannot provide – the adults must. We must provide from our own labor, not from handouts. We must show our future generations how to build strength through hard work and sacrifice. We must work as a team, not as parasites.
Ujimaa is not a principle that condones laziness. Those who are able must work. No one is entitled. Each person must pull his or her own weight and not expect to be pulled along by others. Our communities cannot survive unless the able assume responsibility and pull their weight.
A few members of a community cannot bear the responsibility of the community as a whole. They will collapse under the weight. Each adult must instead bear the weight of his own responsibility and shoulder some of the weight of those who cannot; the physically or mentally challenged, the aged and the children.
All others must provide. In this way, the responsibility for the few who cannot is distributed to the many that can.
No adult is responsible for those who will not. Those who will not must bear the responsibilities of their choices, not expect others to shoulder them. Those who are able must never feel responsible for those who refuse to pull their own weight, we must show them how but never do it for them. To do so reduces your own effectiveness, it causes you to bear a disproportionate amount of weight, you will collapse and be unable to help those who cannot.
Collective responsibility works only when each member of the collective assumes responsibility as individuals. Only then will the community benefit from the efforts of all.
My ujimaa resolutions
- I will continue to assume responsibility for my own future. I will not depend upon others to provide for me.
- I will continue to enable others to build their own destinies through education and hard work.
- I will continue to assist others to get on their feet.
- I will show others how. I will never diminish another’s strength by doing things for them that they are capable of doing themselves.
- I will continue to help those who cannot help themselves but I will not weaken my community by enabling those who will not help themselves.
Harambee, harambee, harambee.