Orishas of Yoruba Mythology

Orishas are Yoruba gods and goddesses. Mythology surrounding them, including the Yoruba creation story, is vast. Below are descriptions of some Orishas, and the story about how they got their powers. Olorun/Olodumare: Supreme God and Creator; sometimes depicted androgynous Orunmila: God of Wisdom and Divination; Olorun's son and representative Obatala: Olorun's Deputy; creator of land,… Continue reading Orishas of Yoruba Mythology

Sika Dwa Kofi (Golden Stool)

Sika Dwa Kofi, a Twi phrase meaning “golden stool”, is a sacred object and the ultimate symbol of power for the Asante Kingdom in present-day Ghana. Okomfo Anokye, the first High Priest and one of the founders of the Asante Kingdom caused the stool to descend from the sky and fall on the lap of… Continue reading Sika Dwa Kofi (Golden Stool)

Sawadogo, Zai and Rediscovery of Ancient African Knowledge

Yacouba Sawadogo is a Burkinabe farmer who in the 1980s reintroduced Zai, a traditional African agricultural technique, which helps restore barren lands and which significantly increases soil fertility and crop yields. Rainwater catching and management is key for survival in the desert lands of western Sahel region (Burkina Faso, Niger, Mali). With Zai (or Tassa),… Continue reading Sawadogo, Zai and Rediscovery of Ancient African Knowledge

Kora, Djembe, Algaita and Other West African Musical Instruments

With hundreds of different ethnic groups and cultures, many with their own unique musical traditions, West Africa is home to a dizzying variety of musical instruments. Music and musical instruments have been used throughout the West African region across millenia for entertainment, spiritual ceremonies, communal rituals, self-expression, among others. There are percussion, wind, stringed and… Continue reading Kora, Djembe, Algaita and Other West African Musical Instruments

Adinkra Symbols

Adinkra symbols are visual representations of philosophical concepts, historical events, proverbs and aphorisms. Adinkra symbols are decorative symbols that are used widely among the Ashantis of Ashanti Kingdom and the Baoulés of Cote d’Ivoire. Adinkra symbols are believed to have originated in the kingdom of Gyamaan in Cote d’Ivoire. According to an Ashanti legend, the… Continue reading Adinkra Symbols

Sankara: You Cannot Kill Ideas (Part 2)

Sankara was a champion of gender equality, saying, “There is no true social revolution without the liberation of women.” He outlawed forced marriages and polygamy, established divorce by mutual consent, widows' right to inherit and women’s literacy classes. He also supported women’s cooperatives, and appointed women as judges, military leaders, directors of state enterprises and… Continue reading Sankara: You Cannot Kill Ideas (Part 2)

Sankara: We Must Dare to Invent the Future (Part 1)

In 1983, president at age 33, Thomas Sankara began in Burkina Faso, perhaps the most ambitious program for social, economic and political change ever attempted on the continent. Attacking corruption, and promoting frugality and integrity, he cut public servant salaries, including his own ($450 a month), banned expensive government cars and 1st class airline tickets,… Continue reading Sankara: We Must Dare to Invent the Future (Part 1)