History & Traditions
The Ndugu Nzinga community was founded in 1993 by Dr. Daniel "Omotosho" Black, a professor in the Atlanta University Center. Ndugu and Nzinga is a program run by Kayima, 501(c)(3). Initially populated by college students, our Atlanta-based community has produced many leaders and scholars in its more than 20 year history.
In 2009, Dr. L'Heureux "Dumi" Lewis-McCoy founded Ndugu Nzinga North. He is a tenured professor at New York University. Between the South and North, we are proud to boast a membership of over 250 men and women committed to making significant contributions in the fields of education, law, medicine, and the arts. Though still deeply rooted in Atlanta and New York City, we now celebrate a worldwide network of affiliates.
This Kiswahili term means "friend or brother"; and often refers to a group of conscious men who seek to promote integrity and honor in a community. As a collective, Ndugu seeks to re-define manhood in ways inclusive of all men and insists that every brother is a steward of character, beauty, and prinicple.
Founded one year after Ndugu, Nzinga means "entwined like the branches of a tree". Named in honor of Queen Nzinga of Angola, this component of the community represents the power, integrity, and strength of women. Nzinga is committed to re-defining womanhood, upholding sisterhood, and promoting gender equality.
We celebrate ancient cultural traditions by taking on African names as part of the initiation process. Each individual is given a specific name that affirms their unique spiritual qualities and can speak to their life's purpose. In addition, upon successful completion of the initiation process, each group is given a collective surname that denotes their particular journey. We also celebrate the African tradition of adornment by wearing traditional African garb. At crossing, each group of initiates is given garb with unique colors and symbols on the cloth to tell the story of their collective journey process.
Crossed Journeys in the North
ORONDE: "ANOINTED AND APPOINTED"
This is the origin journey in the north. They began meeting as a book club and grew to be so much more.
CHUKWUEMEKA:"GOD HAS DONE SOMETHING REMARKABLE"
KIFO-WASTANI: "DeATH TO MEDIOCRITY"
The third journey came to teach us that in order to bring excellence, we must put mediocrity to death.
The second journey brought us something remarkable! This was the first journey with Ndugu and Nzinga.
Hatari Yote: "Risk it All"
The fourth journey dared us to step outside of our comfort zone and risk it all to reach beyond our goals.