In this Workshop, Learners will make a beautiful sankofa bracelet.
‘SANKOFA’ combines the words "San" (to return), "Koh" (to go), and "Fa" (to look, to fetch, to seek, and to take). It is an African word from the Akan tribe of Ghana. The literal meaning of the word is "it is not taboo to fetch what is a risk of being left behind or forgotten."
Sankofa teaches us that we must go back to our roots in order to move forward. That is, we should reach back and gather the best of what our past has to teach us, so that we can achieve our full potential as we go into the future. What ever we have lost, forgotten, forgone, or been stripped of can be reclaimed, revived, preserved, and perpetuated. In order to understand our present and ensure our future, we must know our past.
On the night of 22 to 23 August 1791, men and women torn from Africa and sold into slavery in Santo Domingue, now known as Haiti and Dominican Republic, rose up against the slave system and won their freedom. In 1998, UNESCO designated the 23rd day of August as the International Day for the Rememberance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition. Since 2016, Slavery Remembrance has held an annual national memorial, Sankofa Day, in London’s Trafalgar Square to mark this day, and to remember and honor the victims of the Transatlantic Slave Trade. Sankofa Day not only stands to acknowledge and remember this heinous chapter of human history, but also to shine a spotlight on the dangers of racism and prejudice today.
In Ghana we have special beads, made of glass, called sankofa beads. These traditional beads have been worn not only for their beauty, but also to remind us of the meaning of sankofa. Nowadays, the beaded bracelets are worn as a fashion symbol to accent clothing, yet always carry this special meaning. They may be worn casually or during special occasions, and, of course, on Sankofa Day. I made my first beaded design when I was about sixteen years old. I was taught by an adorable woman called Mrs Ankrah. She was the best teacher I could have had, because she truly inspired me.
The beads you will use during this Workshop are authentic sankofa beads, sent by me from Ghana. I look forward to meeting you and teaching you how to make the sankofa bracelet!
Please note: This Workshop is recommended to ages 12+ as it requires a certain level of dexterity.