Akoma is a Ghanaian symbol of patience, acceptance, endurance, tolerance, and understanding. It belongs to the Asante (Ashanti) group of the Akan ethnic tribe from the Ashanti Region (located in present-day Ghana, West Africa). Two linked hearts symbolize Akoma. It is widely used in weddings and is found on many ancient African heritage sites. Akoma is one of the Adinkra symbols used by Africans from the continent and around the world.
What Language Is Akoma in?
Akoma is in the Akan language. Akan is a central Tano language spoken by the native Akan people in Southern Ghana. Around 80% of Ghanaians speak Akan. The word Akoma means heart. The Igbo ethnic tribe of Africa uses the popular phrase, ‘have a heart inside his stomach’ to describe a person with extreme patience and tolerance.
The phrase ‘Nya akoma’ in the Akan language translates to ‘get a heart.’ It means that the person should be patient. The term implies that a patient person has a heart while the impatient doesn’t have one and needs to ‘get a heart’ and become patient.
The Akoma symbol is associated with many qualities like love, patience, goodwill, faithfulness, unity, tolerance, agreement, and understanding. It represents several positive qualities a person should possess to be a good human.
When Akoma is used in weddings, it signifies that the couple in the union should display the said qualities to lead a happy life. They should love each other, be patient, show tolerance, and live as a unit.
What Is the Sankofa Symbol?
Sankofa is another important Akan symbol that means to learn from the past. The symbol is a mythical bird turned around to catch its egg in its beak. The bird’s feet are firmly on the ground as it turns toward its back. It represents the importance of knowing the past to plan for the future.
Sankofa is divided into three syllables:
- San is to return
- Ko is to go
- Fa is to look, learn, and take/ understand
The Akans believed that one should never stop learning from the past and their mistakes. The past is considered a guide for the future. Sankofa is also an Adinkra symbol and represents the ancient knowledge and wisdom of the people native to the land.
Experts say that the Adinkra symbols originated from the Gyaman kingdom (modern-day Côte D’Ivoire). Other tribes incorporated the symbols by printing them on fabrics. In today’s world, the adinkra cloth is worn by many Africans, irrespective of the tribe.
What Is the Symbol of Love in Ghana?
The West Africans have continued to keep their ancient symbols alive over the centuries. The Ghanaian symbols are now seen in different parts of the world, though many of us may need to learn what they represent.
Love is a universal emotion, and it’s no surprise that Ghanaians have their own symbols to represent the feeling of love.
Osram Ne Nsoromma Meaning
The Osram ne nsoromma symbol combines two Akan symbols. It is drawn as a morning star with a crescent moon under it. The symbol is associated with love, faithfulness, and harmony. It is called the moon and the star. It denotes bonding in a marriage between a man and a woman.
The North Star is significant in Ghana and is associated with the love of a couple. They say the North Star is a woman always shining in the sky and waiting for her husband, the moon. The symbol is often accompanied by a proverb, ‘kyekye pe aware.’
Akoma is another symbol of love in Ghana. The linked hearts of the symbol represent the couple in the union. Since Akoma is a heart, it is associated with all emotions that help a couple stay connected and have a mutual understanding of love for each other.
What is the African Symbol for Knowledge?
The African natives have a strong desire for knowledge and learning. The Sankofa symbol is an example. They also have other symbols to represent knowledge, wisdom, and understanding.
Mate maise is an Adinkra symbol associated with knowledge, listening, prudence, and discreetness. The term translates to ‘what I hear, I keep’ or ‘I understand.’ It denotes the importance of listening and communicating to gain knowledge.
The African culture is no different from ancient civilizations that rely on oral histories to keep the culture alive and pass it on from one generation to another. The Mate maise symbol is four linked ears. People should listen to learn, retain knowledge, and share it with others.
The symbol becomes even more significant when we consider how African Americans continued to keep their native traditions alive.
Other Popular Ghanaian Symbols
Gye Nyame is an Akan symbol used as decorations on clothes, artwork, etc. The symbol represents the supremacy of God and that there is nothing to fear except for God. The words mean ‘except for God,’ where God is above all beings and creations. It is represented by a design that resembles a spiral galaxy. It could also be two hands making different gestures.
Akoma ntoso implies linked hearts but on the communal level. The symbol stands for understanding and unity between different communities in Ghana. It is associated with harmony, immortality, and mutual sympathy among families and communities to live together. Four hearts are linked together to a central point, signifying that they have a common connection.
Funtunfunefu Denkyemfunefu translates to Siamese crocodiles. The symbol shows two crocodiles conjoined at the stomach with their heads perpendicular to each other. It has a political significance and implies that people should be united in a democracy. It represents democracy, cooperation, and unity and how different groups should work together to survive.
Akoma, Sankofa, or other Adinkra symbols impart valuable lessons to Africans and keep them connected to their roots. The Ghanaian symbols have deep roots in ancient traditions that help people lead better lives as good human beings.
Don’t let your learning end here! Check out this great article of Mayan symbols!