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Sankofa-Go Back To Your Roots

Aug 17, 2007
For those of you who do possess an awareness and appreciation for where you come from, whether you are a Latin American born in the United States who knows the history of your Latin ancestors outside the United States, or an African-American who knows the struggle that your African ancestors went through due to slavery, I sincerely do praise you.

For those of you who do not, my heart does go out to you. This article serves as a reminder for all but a wake-up call to a few of you. I want to draw your attention to a word taken from the Akan-speaking people of Ghana found in West Africa: Sankofa.

The word Sankofa is a principle and cultural custom among the Akan-speaking people of Ghana, Togo, and the Ivory Coast that holds that there is wisdom in learning from the past to both understand the present and shape the future.

Implicit in Sankofa is the deep study and reading of African history and culture and the application of its lessons to our experiences of educational success and excellence.

This is the meaning behind it: We must go back and reclaim our past so that we can move forward; so we understand why and how we came to be who we are today. What a beautiful yet powerful thought is it not? Think about that for a minute. Now that you have thought about it, what is the point?

The point is that for you as the individual who may be struggling with your self-identity as an African-American, Latina/Latino, an Asian or even a Caucasian please understand there were many people before you who went through much worse in order not to repeat of suffer the mistakes of the past but to shape a better future for people like me and you.

Not only are the struggles of your ancestors worth taking note of, so are their accomplishments. My mother came down from West Africa to the United States with little to no knowledge of English. Twenty six years later she learned the English language and started a business selling products from her native land, how beautiful is that. She always taught me the importance of education.
Education provides opportunities that build better futures.

Here is what my experience does for you: My experience motivates you to understand your past and see what opportunities were lost due to race, nationality, or religion and what gains were made through educational, scientific, cultural, and literary achievements. Take what you have learned from your past so that you can move forward; so that you can understand the importance of why you are here today. My mother and I did; so can you.

Here is a question that I want you to think about as you are reading this: We know who we come from and know where we are going, do YOU?
About the Author
Joseph Constant is the owner of A.R. Skincare, a company devoted to the community awareness of natural products using Premium Grade A Shea butter. Please visit http://www.premium-grade-sheabutter.com/Sankofapage.html to discover more details concerning our trace back to our African roots.
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