Sankofa is an Adinkra symbol used by the Akan people of Ghana. Adinkra symbols are graphic representations of popular maxims or philosophical concepts. Originally they were used to decorate textiles, but they can now also be found on pottery and woodcarvings and in contemporary architectural design.
The Sankofa symbol depicts a mythical bird which holds an egg symbolising the future in its beak. The bird moves forwards while looking backwards to the past. The symbol is expressed in the Akan language as "Se wo were fi na wosan kofa a yenki".
Literally translated, this phrase means "It is not taboo to go back and fetch what you forgot". However, modern translations usually render it as "One must return to the past in order to move forward". In either case, the message of the symbol is that we must learn from the past in order to build a better future.
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