Alumni Tell Us How UJAMAA has Impacted their Lives
Kweku Ade Milner
My name is Kweku Ade Milner. I'm a Graduating Senior, majoring in Electrical Engineering at Wilberforce University with a 3.1 GPA. I graduated from Ujamaa Shule High School. This private, African-centered institute of learning prepared me for life and molded me into the confident and intelligent scholar that I am today. Ujamaa had a major influence on me as a student and a person, since I spent my entire life attending this institution - from Kindergarten to High School. I enjoyed all of my years there. I was prepared academically and socially for any challenges.
Ujamaa prepares its students to be critical thinkers, dedicated scholars, responsible adults, example setters and so much more. Words cannot express how grateful I am to have attended such an institution. The structured yet flexible environment allowed me to grow into my own person - to become a positive influence on my community.
At Wilberforce University I am involved in several student organizations. I'm on the Dean's List as an Honor Roll student. I'm a member of UNCF (United Negro College Fund), the UNCF pre-alumni council, Wilberforce Chapter and the Fund for a Brighter Future scholar. I am Senator of NSBE (National Society of Black Engineers), Wilberforce Chapter. I am a peer mentor, a computer lab intern, and engineering and mathematics tutor. Future Plans: to pursue a Masters in Business or another branch of Engineering, possibly robotics with a focus on hardware.
Ujamaa has played a large role in my life. Ujamaa School's values created the foundation of who I am. It was at Ujamaa that I learned the Nguzo Saba (the seven principles), the basis of farnilyhood, unity, self-respect and independence. I learned that you can do whatever you tell your mind that you can do; and knowing who you are, and where you come from, is half the battle.
In the sentiments of Nan a Yao Opare Dinizulu, "It is dangerous to teach a child Afrikan culture, yet send him to public school. You cannot let other people educate your children, because the result will be mis-education." I took that lesson to heart. I am both a mother and a teacher. Throughout the 6 years that I've been teaching, I have passed on many of the lessons I learned while attending Ujamaa. I have shared my knowledge about our Afrikan ancestors and our special holiday called Kwanzaa. I have taught Kiswahili words, and Afrikan dances. Now my children also attend Ujamaa School.
Some of the best experiences I've had were because of Ujamaa. I had the opportunity to meet great, powerful leaders like Kwame Ture, Maulana Karenga, Dr. Chancellor Williams, Askia Muhammad, Dr. Ivan Van Sertima, Malidoma Patrice Some, Dr. Frances Cress WeIsing, Dr. Yosef Ben Jochanan, Minister Louis Farrakhan and Master Drummer, Baba Ngoma.
I am grateful for all the blessings that Ujamaa has granted me. I only hope my children welcome the opportunity for even better experiences while they attend Ujamaa School.
(Class of 1999)
Ujamaa has transformed me into the beautiful Afrikan woman that I am today. Unconsciously, all of the lectures in the Pan Afrikan Black Nationalist Consciousness Political Aware Culture Classes actually seeped in. What amazed me when I started college was that others were not as fortunate to receive the quality education in Afrikan history that I was blessed to receive. Currently, I am a teacher at a DC Public Charter School, and I am truly shocked that they do not know their Afrikan heritage. What I took for repetition and some times boredom, is now what I am teaching my students, while still teaching the curriculum provided. If I had to do it all over again, I would. Ujamaa truly provided me with the foundation, especially in college, with the treacherous note taking, and in life with teaching my 9th graders that being an Afrikan born in America is actually a beautiful thing that we must cherish. What has Ujamaa done for me? EVERYTHING!
(Ujamaa School Graduate)
Okomfo Kofi Kyerematin (Malandela Zulu)
Growing up attending Ujamaa was a blessing. I had the privilege of going to the same school from kindergarten to high school. Being at Ujamaa has taught me so much;it has made me the person I am today. I can remember typing ten page papers for history class when I was only 14. This made it easy for me to acclimate when I got to college. The values and lessons I learned at Ujamaa molded me and prepared me for a lot of what I experienced after graduation.
While at Ujamaa, I was encouraged in my art. My talent was nurtured and honed. I know it is because of Ujamaa, that I became an art teacher. I have been teaching professionally now for 12 years. Teaching is something that was also instilled in me while at Ujamaa. Like the Afrikan proverb, 'Each one teach one', what we learned, we taught to others. It is in this way that knowledge continues to be passed down.
Ujamaa made sure that we knew we were Afrikan people and that we came from great Kings and Queens.Knowing where I came from allowed me to know where I wanted to go. I felt a very strong draw to the peoples and cultures of our motherland - especially Akan tradition. After years of study and training, at the age of 27, I became and Afrikan priest. I now that being at Ujamaa helped to nurture that interest in Afrikan spirituality. I am so thankful to Baba Zulu and the Ujamaa family, of both the past and the present. Asante Sana, Ujamaa Shule! Continue to produce strong Afrikan youth who are ready to go out in the world and do great things.
Ujamaa for me has ben a rock solid foundation and an "AMEN" to everything my mother was working to instill in me anyway. I was too young to remember my very first day,but what I do know is that Ujamaa has always been a great influence on who I am, and the decisions that I make. Throughout my journey as an adult, I will and always have reflected back to words of wisdom and great Afrikan proverbs to guide me in the right direction. Ujamaa has made me aware and deeply conoscious of how important self-awareness, respect and simply knowing your own history. Ujamaa is a huge part of who I am, and is now providing a foundation for my 15 year old daughter, Sia, and my 3 year old twin sons Khensu and Nazir, who have attended Ujamaa since they were two. Thank you from the bottom of my heart, Baba Zulu, for being unbelievably dedicated to the struggle for Afrikan people.