An original founder of the 1979 New Afrikan Scouts, Kweli Sobukwe Umoja envisioned a national New Afrikan Scout camp gathering similar to the Boy Scouts of America’s Jamboree. The Los Angeles Zulu Troop held many local camping outings that qualified scouts for merit badges, but did not reach the goal of a National New Afrikan Scout Organization Jamboree before many of its founders and leaders moved to the South. Even though there were discussions, particularly with the New Orleans Scouts, headed up by Fulani Sunni-Ali about combined camps, this did not happen.
The NASO camping experience in the South after the formation of NAPO began under the leadership of the NAPO Atlanta chapter. The Atlanta NASO troop was established in 1986 with Aminata Umoja as the troop leader. Kwame Kalimara, who is a lifetime camper headed up the initial camping activities in April 1990. Kalimara prepared the necessary forms with the assistance of Ahadi Tyehimba, who prior to the formation of NAPO was one of the New Afrikan Scout co-coordinators in Los Angeles.
The Atlanta troop began camping in tents during weekend outings at pioneer/primitive sites on the grounds of Georgia State Parks. After a few years of successful camping adventures, the activities evolved to include horseback riding, and boating. The Birmingham troop, led by Sanovia Muhammad and Ahmed Obafemi, joined in several of the camping trips.
During a fall Scout Leadership planning retreat, Sanovia initiated the discussion for the national Scout summer camp, previously assigned to her at the NAPO’s 1991 national convention. She, Aminata, Ahmed, and Kwame together, developed the program for the first national gathering. In July of 1994, Camp Pumziko came into fruition at Oak Mountain State Park in Pelham, Alabama. Sanovia served as both the Camp Administrator and Medic, Aminata was the Curriculum Developer, Kwame was the Survival Camping Coordinator, and Ahmed served as the Logistics Director.
The word Pumziko means rest, vacation, a place for recreation and relaxation in Kiswahili. Sanovia named the camp based upon the Afrikan Institute of Martial Arts (AIMA) and Kupigana Ngumi-The New Afrikan Combat System's interpretation of Pumziko: "We come in peace, but ready to defend". The Pumziko stance utilized in AIMA is a closed left hand (fist) covered by an open right hand. Therefore, we offer an extended open hand as a gesture of peace, but if rejected, the fist is ready to defend. Pumziko is also the term we use for our "Parade Rest" position when the NASO troop is in formation.
Recognizing the overall positive impact of camping, and in our effort to be more inclusive, NASO leadership opened the camp to Non NASO youth and staff participation. A blending of a survivalist and accommodationist style of camping has taken place over the years.