Sankofa Essay

August 25, 2017 General Studies

Aminah Chambers-Ottley @02621739 Intro to Humanities “Sankofa” Why have African Americans forgotten their roots? “In this bright future you can’t forget your past. ” Sweet, simple, and to the point was this quote said by Jamaican reggae artist Bob Marley. The major theme of this movie is returning to the past to understand your future. In the beginning of the film the protagonist starts off as Mona, a self-centered model oblivious to her surroundings, and its importance.

She stood on the very ground where many of our ancestors were chained and held captive until voyage, yet all she did was smile inartistically into the camera. Later while exploring she found herself trapped in a slave trade, and she became delirious. As the slave masters proceeded to pull her back into the dungeon for branding she screamed “I’m not like them, I am not one of them”. I find that in today’s society without blatantly screaming it, the African American culture is doing just that, separating ourselves so we’re not like them.

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Transported to Lafayette plantation in the South Shola(Mona) began to live the life of a house slave. Obedient as she was Shola began to observe the other slaves from a distance, and she meets Joe, Lucy, Shango, and NuNu. Shango and NuNu were known as “trouble making” slaves so the head masters kept their eyes on them. As Shango and Shola shared more and more conversations she realized and understood the root of his animosity. Attempting to runaway Shola was caught and brought back for a whipping.

Supervised by Joe and Noble Ali she was whipped until she professed her love for the white man’s God. On that night Shola’s soul took its turn, and the meaning of her voyage went into full effect. Her ambition became so much stronger that she finally felt that she had control of her own life. The traits of our ancestors are admirable ones that we should be proud to identify with as a black community. The slaves on the Lafayette plantation alone showed determination, diligence, and intuitiveness.

When Mona is sent back to the present time she is going in order to “go back to her root” and more strongly identify with her African self. It was the journey back in time that strengthened Mona for her return back to the present at the end of the film. The African American community would profit from taking a mental journey as Shola did in order to realize how far we have come. In order to unite ourselves so we can accomplish what our ancestors had set forth for us to do. Ultimately, taking this spiritual journey to enlighten our minds as to how we got here, and the people we will continue with.


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