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What is your Sankofa?

My Black History Month spotlight, through the lens of a Girl Scout Brownie Leader and Mom

This weekend I was working with my daughter on her Brownie troop activities for a #BlackHistoryMonth badge. One activity was to learn about the mythical #Sankofa bird from Ghana. I wanted to share what she discovered as I think it’s a great metaphor for us all… (and all citation credit to Wikipedia, the foundation for 2nd grade research).

  • Sankofa (pronounced SAHN-koh-fah) is a word in the Twi language of Ghana meaning “to retrieve" (literally "go back and get"), and also refers to the symbol represented by a bird with its head turned backwards while its feet face forward carrying a precious egg in its mouth. Sankofa is often associated with the proverb, “Se wo were fi na wosankofa a yenkyi," which translates as: "It is not wrong to go back for that which you have forgotten."

  • The sankofa bird appears frequently in traditional Akan art, and has also been adopted as an important symbol in an African-American and African Diaspora context to represent the need to reflect on the past to build a successful future. It symbolizes taking from the past what is good and bringing it into the present in order to make positive progress through the benevolent use of knowledge.

I challenge YOU to (not only learn something about African history or culture but to) embrace your inner sankofa. What are you taking from the past year and applying to the future – shaped by your critical learnings anchored in your values? I’m taking my learnings of the power of strong teams and collaboration – when working together, nothing is unachievable. It’s my inspiration to continue to collaborate and model a team-based approach to success and growth!

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