African Symbols: Adinkra


The Adinkra symbols were originally designed by "Asante" Craftsment of Ghana, West Africa. The symbols embody non-verbal communicative and aesthetic values, as well as the way of life of the people who designed them. The symbols are usually printed on cotton fabric to produce "Adinkra cloths," which may be worn on such celebrative occasions as child naming, community durbars and funerary rituals. Each of the symbols has its Asante name and an accompanying literal English translation.

Ako-ben symbolizes the call to arms; a willingness to take action. It is a version of the war horn.
Akoma symbolizes the heart and asks for patience and endurance. "Nya-akoma", or "take heart."
Aya symbolizes the fern. It also means "I am not afraid of you." A symbol of defiance.
Nkonsonkonso symbolizes human relations. We are linked in both life and death; those who share blood relations never break apart.
Nosoroma symbolizes a star; a child of the heavens. "A child of the Supreme Being, I do not depend on myself. My illumination is only a reflection of His."
Ntesi-Matemasi symbolizes wisdom and knowledge. "Nyasa bun mu nne mate masie masie."
Pa-gya symbolizes war. To strike fire or make fire.
Penpamsie symbolizes strength in unity; that which will not be crushed. "Penpamise see bebirebe ahocden ne koroye."
Sank ofa
Sank ofa is the symbol of the wisdom in learning from the past in building for the future. (It is not a taboo to go back and retrieve what you have forgotten.)
Gye Nyame
Gye Nyame is the symbol of the omnipotence and immortality of God

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