Kuumba (creativity): to do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.
Theoretical physicist Albert Einstein allegedly said,
“No problem can be solved by the same kind of thinking that created it.”
So, riddle me this Batman: How does one leave something more beautiful than when they found it if they didn’t create it?
Maybe, I’m overthinking it, which is something I’ve been known to do, but I would begin by examining the underpinning of the creation.
Often a human-creation isn’t beneficial to the sustainability of the community. Sometimes,dismantling a creation may be the key.
One must think beyond what already exists to achieve Kuumba. For displaced individuals this is a simple task although not easy.
Case in point, Kuumba is a word from the Bantu language of Swahili. It’s not a native language of most Americans including those of African descent. We native English speakers translate Kuumba to mean creativity. Creativity is a noun. Create is the verb.
Its origin is Latin.
Latin – creō (present infinitive creāre, perfect activecreāvī, supinecreātum); first conjugation
I create, make, produce
I beget, give birth to
I prepare, cause
BUT what if the etymology of Kuumba isn’t creativity at all.
I stumbled upon a discussion forum where Swahili is the native tongue of its members.
Although the discussion was about THE ALL; it seemed very important to understand the etymology of KUUMBA.
“Kuumba is more fundamental than kutengeneza.
Kutengeneza can be just putting different pre-existing parts together.
Kuumba is creating from scratch.
So, going back to the question, the interest is in the genesis of god, not any later patching up.
Kabla ya kujibu swali inabidi tukubaliane kwenye kum define huyu mungu anayeongelewa hapa ni mungu gani?
Kwa sababu those of us bent on etymology could argue “mungu” has the same root as “mzungu” and split atoms towards the antipodes like CERN Large Hadron Collider gone astray, only to find that we are not only operating on different wavelengths, but totally outside the entire electromagnetic spectrum known to JF.
The meaning of Kuumba is closer to the latin phrase creation ex nihilo (create out of nothing).
If we’re to follow the true spirit of the principle, we must create a beautiful community for our descendants. And we must produce it from scratch.
Now if the principle is referring to what nature has provided us; then we cannot leave it better than we found it.
We can promise to be good stewards and not destroy it.