San Diego-based Tekura Jegnas supports the preservation and continuation of African American martial arts traditions in Southern California. Master artist Dennis Newsome started Tekura Jegnas in 1975, naming his organization in the Ethiopian Amharic language–tekura jegnas means “Black hero/warrior”–out of respect for his African teachers and in an effort to help his community reconnect with their African cultural expressions.
In addition to classes in African and African American martial arts and dance traditions, Tekura Jegnas also conducts capoeira (an Afro-Brazilian martial art, dance, and music art form) classes and batizados (initiations). They are strong collaborators with other cultural organizations in the area–including World Beat Center, Teye Sa Thiosanne African Dance & Drum Company, and the Pan African Association in America–helping them to produce such community events as annual Kwanzaa and Nakumbuka Day celebrations.
In 2013, Tekura Jegnas participated in ACTA’s Development Program, receiving financial systems support and training from accountant Robert Smith, Jr. of Quality Tax and Financial Services Inc.