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Adinkra Symbols

Adinkra Symbols

From the stained glass windows of our bus, we could see that we were approaching a modest house-like structure surrounded by lush green trees and bushes. Numerous colorful fabrics printed with intricate patterns and block prints were hanging on the veranda. As all of us ‘alighted’ from the bus and walked towards the building, we could see that the paint was being ‘cooked.’


Surrounded by the hanging fabrics inside the room, our guide told us about the Adinkra Symbols. They are symbols that were created by the Ashanti people of Ghana. They represent evocative messages and philosophical thoughts and typically represent the belief system. Originally, Adinkra cloth was worn by the royalty and spiritual leaders on special occasions. However, nowadays it has marked its place in the popular culture and can be worn by anyone. The symbols can be seen on t-shirts, skirts, pants and jewellery.


My favourite Adinkra symbol turned out to be Sankofa, which is depicted as a bird with its head turned back or a stylized heart that translates to “Back to your roots.” It signifies the importance of remembering one’s roots and to revisit them because they prove instrumental in shaping the future.

I am trying to figure out a way to take the bird of Sankofa home with me…