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Communication and Culture

Know the Adinkra simbols

terça-feira 1º de fevereiro de 2011, por Rita Freire, Rita Freire Rita Freire Rita Freire Rita Freire

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They are present in the shared communication and news coverage of the World Social Fórum in Dakar

Turn around and look!" Or "return and get it!" This African proverb, called Sankofa, represented by the image of a bird with its head turned to its own back, says you have to learn from the past, with the ancient knowledge, to make a better future.

This is an Adinkra symbol, ancient pictographic script of West Africa, which is found in fabrics, doors and objects that come mostly from Ghana and the Ivory Coast.

The Sanfoka is present in news coverage of the WSF and was shared by Ciranda chosen to designate the presence of people of the African Diaspora in Senegal. Each field on the axis 10 (Africa and the Diaspora) will carry the seal. And similarly, each of the 12 axes of WSF will have a corresponding symbol.

The Adinkra used by Ciranda were researched by a young American web designer, Jean MacDonald, who was in Ghana in 2001, the year of the birth of the WSF, on a professional exchange. This was also the year of the attacks on the Twin Towers in his country. "The shock and horror of Sept. 11 made me turn my attention to the Adinkra as a kind of counterpoint to the violence and hatred. It became important to remember that what unites us is greater than what divides us," says Jean, in a sentence reminiscent of those repeated by Boaventura Sousa Santos in editions of the WSF. Jean began to organize the symbols and their meanings on a copy left website (non-commercial reproduction released).

According to the collector of Adinkra, the symbols reflect a system of universal values such as tolerance and integrity. And keep a close association with the themes that organize the WSF. For axis 2, which deals with environmental justice, for example, the Adinkra Wings Ye Duru that was chosen highlights the importance of Earth, as a symbol of sustained life.

For axis 5 on the right to knowledge and methods, the Adinkra Nea Onnim ohu teaches: "He who does not know can learn.

Since the celebration of 10 Years of Shared Communication in the WSF, debates are going in order to understand communication and culture as interconnected. During the months prior to the WSF of Dakar, there was an important focus on the new culture of communication, the possibilities of sharing via the Internet. Dakar, to honor the Diaspora, Ciranda chose to link communication with the ancient culture of West Africa.

The Adinkra were initially created to express feelings related to death, the moment of farewell, the end of a cycle and means Goodbye. Gradually, Passarani they came to express renewal and philosophical teachings of life in harmony.

Comfortable and cute, these graphics were incorporated into fabrics and today are known as elements of Ghanean prints. They are found in the garments of women and also in ceremonial robes, art objects and sites about African identity in Brazil for example.

Ciranda is open to publishing articles and content on the WSF and its activities in Dakar, since it is made available in copy left (for free non-commercial reproduction). They can be sent in any language to ciranda@ciranda.net or fotociranda@gmail.com, with the author’s name, suggested title, and indication of the activity it related to. They may also be posted directly on the site.


Translated by Dan Baron