Life Style

Rediscovering the Ancient Wisdom of Adinkra Sankofa Symbol.

In the heart of Ghana lies an emblematic universe that goes beyond mere aesthetic design. This universe is the Adinkra, a set of traditional symbols with profound philosophical insights, teachings, and historical values. Among these symbols, Sankofa stands out as a beacon of wisdom, guiding us to learn from the past to shape a better future.

Delving into the Origins

Adinkra symbols are an essential part of Ghanaian culture, representing concepts or aphorisms. These symbols have been extensively incorporated into fabrics, jewelry,  logos, pottery, musical instruments, and jewelry showing their significance in everyday Ghanaian life. One can easily spot them on the vibrant Adinkra cloth, Ashanti stools, and many other items used during significant ceremonies.

The term “Sankofa” comes from the Akan tribe in Ghana. The meaning of this symbol is “it is not taboo to fetch what is at risk of being left behind”. It’s a poetic reminder that our history and experiences, both collective and individual, serve as pivotal guideposts.

Understanding the Deep Symbolism

Every Adinkra symbol possesses its distinct allure and teachings, but Sankofa stands out with its profound and universal significance, symbolizing the wisdom of harnessing past lessons to shape the future.

The symbol often appears as a bird reaching back to retrieve an egg or a stylized heart. Both versions emphasize the need to reflect on and retrieve valuable lessons from our history. Such retrospection is not about dwelling in the past but rather harnessing its wisdom to drive progress.

Adinkra Sankofa bird symbol with egg in its mouth.   Adinkra Sankofa bird symbol.

A Contemporary Relevance

In today’s fast-paced world, where forward motion seems to be the only direction, Sankofa prompts us to pause, reflect, and consider the accumulated wisdom of generations before us. It’s a reminder that in our pursuit of the future, we should not overlook the teachings of the past.

It encourages individuals and communities to embrace their history, understanding that it’s a foundation upon which they can build a more enlightened future. This perspective is beneficial for anyone looking for direction, meaning, and grounding in a world filled with transient trends and fleeting moments.

For a comprehensive exploration of the Adinkra Sankofa symbol, I recommend checking out the blog of Tribalgh Adinkra sankofa symbol.

Wearing the Symbol Today

If you’re seeking to incorporate the wisdom of Sankofa into your daily life, there are various ways. Whether it’s adorning your home with Sankofa-inspired artwork, wearing jewelry engraved with the symbol, or even getting a tattoo, the symbol serves as a tangible reminder of its underlying philosophy.

Many have also used it as a form of empowerment, reflecting their commitment to understanding and celebrating their roots, while also striving towards a better future.


Sankofa isn’t just a design; it’s a philosophy, a guiding principle, and a testament to the importance of understanding our history to shape a prosperous and informed future. As we move forward in our journeys, may the Sankofa symbol remind us to occasionally look back, cherishing the lessons and experiences that have molded us.

Dive into the intricate world of Ghanaian symbols and uncover their profound meanings by browsing through the Tribalgh African Art Gallery.

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