Watoto Kwanzaa Brings Community Together

12:34 PM, Dec 29, 2013   |    comments
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Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- It's the third day into the week-long celebration of Kwanzaa, a special holiday that honors African heritage.

"I'm just so excited so many people wanted this here in this community," Carrie Washington said.

Washington and her three daughters are new to the Kwanzaa tradition.

"We met Faida and then there was talk of Kwanzaa and I was like, 'Well, I would like to see what these principals are,'" Washington said.

"I grew up in Kwanzaa. I've done it all my life. My mother and my father, we always did it in our home and we eventually started sharing with the community," Faida Mfomboutmoun

Mfomboutmoun and her brother Malik Whittaker have celebrated Kwanzaa ever since they were children.

This is the first time they've done a community event on this scale.

"The thing that lasts past the music and the culture is the value system that Kwanzaa instilled in us. A value system that I use as a parent, as a public servant, as a husband," Whittaker said.

"Watoto" means children in Swahili and this event is geared towards little ones.

They clapped their hands to music and got involved in arts and crafts. 

"We are trying to enhance and improve the community for young people of all ages and of all backgrounds," Mfomboutmoun said.  

Although this event is for kids, adults are just as appreciative.

"It feels good in my soul to have something to hold onto like that. Everybody has their own culture, everybody has their own traditions," Lashia Washington said. "To have something for African-Americans and we celebrate it with everybody else, every other culture out there, but to have your own...it's almost like now we have a staple here in the United States."

With lots of music, dance and fellowship, organizers of the Watoto Kwanzaa say this will be a yearly installment.

"We'll do it again next year. Same time, same place," Lashia Washington said.

Another Kwanzaa celebration is on Monday at the Eau Claire Print Building at 6 p.m.

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