Sankofa-Go Forward By Looking Back

Nana Kwaku always says that you can’t eat your way to health but you sure can eat your way to the grave. What does he mean by that?

He means that what you eat is vitally important. We all should do all we can to eat the healthiest diet possible. That WILL go a long way to helping us be healthy. However what we eat is just one part of the picture. There are other things we must attend to if we want to be healthy. He outlines these things (16 in all) in his book The Rule Book And User Guide For Healthy Living.

One of those things, for us as people of Afrikan descent, is to “re-Afrikanize”. This means learning about our Afrikan history and traditions. It means recognizing the lies we have been fed and replacing them with the truth. The Euro-centric culture we live in has and is doing everything it can to disconnect us from the truth, and to feed us images and ideas that weaken us. How can we be healthy if we don’t know our history and our potential?

Today is “Columbus Day,” a prime example of this mis-education and the start of a season of celebrations that are built on the horrible truth of this nations creation. A nation created at the expense of Native Peoples, and Afrikan peoples. We need to remember or to learn about just what really happened.



And while it is important to know the ugly side of the white washed history we are taught, it is even more important to learn about our own peoples history of triumphs and power. To learn history from our perspective, “ourstory” as some have called it. We must commit ourselves to Sankofa.

Sankofa is a word in the language of the Akan people in Ghana that means to go forward by looking back, and the importance of learning from the past. You may have seen these West Afrikan adinkra symbols that mean Sankofa.

There is much we need to look back at and to learn. We can learn an Afrikan language. We can learn the ourstory of Afrika. We can learn about the powerful societies that lasted for thousands of years in East Afrika. We can learn about Haiti and the successful revolution against French, Spanish and English colonial rule. We can learn about Palmaris in Brazil, a society of escaped Afrikans that lived in the mountains for nearly one hundred years. There is the ourstory here in the US of successful revolts and resistance to the KKK and Jim Crow in communities in the south.

There is the music, the dance, the creativity of our people from the beginning of human existence until today. There is the powerful (and therefore feared and condemned) spiritual tradition that is still being practiced all over the diaspora.

“Ourstory” didn’t start with our enslavement. It began long before the European existed. It is still being written everyday. It will take some digging but the story is there for discovering. It is a healing journey to take.

Forget the macaroni and cheese, the practice of Sankofa is our real soul food.

Here are some books and movies to feed your soul. There are many more. I would love to hear your recommendations. Add them and your thoughts to the comments below.

Ourstory references:

We Will Shoot Back: Armed Resistance in the Mississippi Freedom Movement, by Akinyele Omowale Umoja

Quilombo – A movie about the Palmaris society in Brazil. Full movie on YouTube.

The African Origin of Civilization: Myth or Reality, by Cheikh Anta Diop

Afrocentricity: The theory of Social Change, by Molefi Kete Asante

Let the circle be unbroken: The implications of African Spirituality in the Diaspora, by Marimba Ani

Eureason: An Afrikan Centered Critique of Eurocentric Social Science, by Mwalimu K. Bomani Baruti

Ancient Future: The Teachings and Prophetic Wisdom of the Seven Hermetic Laws of Ancient Egypt, by Wayne B. Chandler

Hidden Colors: The Untold History Of People Of Aboriginal,Moor,and African Descent DVD

500 Years Later DVD “Chronicles the struggle of a people who have fought and continue to fight for the most essential human right self determination”

Two Thousand Seasons, by Ayi Kwei Armah

Opt In Image
Say Goodbye To Boring!
Free E-Book Download

I love great food don't you? No boring dishes allowed in my kitchen! I want to share my secrets with you.

- My favorite international spice and seasoning combinations
- The top 10 ingredients absolutely I must have in my kitchen
- How to use vegan substitutes for meat and dairy products
- And Much More!


Click the button to get your copy.

Ama Opare on EmailAma Opare on InstagramAma Opare on PinterestAma Opare on Twitter
Ama Opare
Lifestyle Coach, CEO at Opare Institute
Helping my coaching clients go from vegan wanna-be to Unshakably Vegan! From meal-time boredom to loving what they eat. From self-sabotage to taking control. From tempted by all the wrong choices in their non-vegan world to making the right decisions. And from sick and tired to vibrant and healthy. Discover your personal recipe for success and abundant health! BE UNSHAKABLE!

5 Comments on “Sankofa-Go Forward By Looking Back

03/04/2014 at 5:02 pm

I attended a webinar 1 1/2 weeks ago that was given by a scholar named Chike Akua. He was teaching us information about the Moors (Black people) so I thought I would share what I learned. I learned that most of the Africans who were captured, enslaved and brought to the Americas came from West Africa. West Africa had universities and schools, great civilizations and societies, so our ancestors were learned people. This is not the image that is given to us when we are learning about our enslaved ancestors. Whites wanted our ancestors to build a civilization for them and they wanted people who had the skills and were able to build civilizations. Our ancestors were professional people, had trades, were craftsman etc. Also, the Moors went into Europe in 711AD and built civilizations there in what is today Spain and Portugal. They brought in medicine because, at the time, Europeans were dying from diseases that came from lack of sanitation and hygiene. Alot of the architecture that we see that we assume is European is actually Moorish (African) in origin like castles and so-called Spanish architecture. A scholar named Tony Browder stated that there is a castle in Nubia that is dated 1800BC, before there was civilization in Europe. Ethiopia also has castles (Hidden Colors, Hidden Colors 2). We have some amazing history and ancestors, but this is just a tiny drop in an ocean of what our ancestors did.

Ama Opare
03/04/2014 at 5:18 pm

Yes, yes yes! Thank you! This is great information. We have so much to be proud of about our ancestors and our heritage. Which means… we have so much potential!


[…] I decided to call this site Food For The Soul with the recognition that the food we need for our souls includes what we eat, think, do, feel, believe etc. The topics covered here in this blog, while primarily focusing on food, from time to time also cover other “soul food” topics such as in the posts The Three Faces of Ama, Sankofa-Go Forward By Looking Back. […]

10/14/2013 at 5:42 pm

“Introduction to African Civilizations” by John G. Jackson is a good book about Black History because it deals with the fact that we are the first people on the planet. Our history certainly does not begin with the enslavement of our ancestors, as how the schools in this society would have us believe. This book addresses the origins of all human beings to Africa, Ethiopia and Egyptian (Kemetic) civilizations, the Moors in Europe (yes, Black people introduced civilization in Europe), West African Kingdoms, Ancient Africans in the Americas (yes, it is true), African mariners, Central African Kingdoms, the destruction of African culture and the de-colonization period in Africa. This is a good book to read to find out about subjects that are not discussed regarding our history.

Ama Opare
10/14/2013 at 8:06 pm

Thanks! We have that on our shelf but I haven’t read it yet. I’ll put it on the “to read” list.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.