Sending beautiful Sankofa wishes to those celebrating Black History Month in the United Kingdom this month!! Peace and blessings always.

Celebrating Black History in the United Kingdom

Sankofa is the Adinkra symbol that reminds us to Return and Get what has been left behind.

One of the reasons I love Adinkra symbols and have committed to “studying” them is their long history.  It fascinates me that these symbols have been passed down for so many generations in Ghana. They are some what unique because they are a printed form of communication and historically many African traditions are oral.   This is not to say that there are not other traditional written or printed expression on the African continent because there are others for sure!!  I plan to one day explore those too!   

Available at Africancraft.com
Adinkra Stamps

The methods used to print the Adinkra symbols have been passed down too.   Traditionally the symbols are carved into calabash.  The symbol is then printed on fabric using beautiful dyes.   The cloth that is created is a beautiful expression from the printer.   We now have many ways to “create” the Adinkra symbols but it is really important to remember the traditional ways and not lose this knowledge.   One day soon I would like to try my hand at printing on some cloth –  I will be sure to share the fun here.   

Here is a video featuring the Adinkra printing tools with explanation of some of the symbols.  Unfortunately I could not embed the video but click the link and Enjoy!

I  love everything Family!!  I am sure you have guessed this with the many posts I have written  which include something about family.   I have worked quite a bit on my own family history ……an amazing journey that I feel is a gift for my children.  I want them to know they are here because of the prayers, beliefs and hard work of those who preceded them in the family.  My daughter can proudly name 5 generations of  grandmothers!!   I am very fortunate because my maternal grandmother kept and shared a lot of family history which we have today.  I even have the daily diary of my Great Great Aunt circa 1900…..a true treasure and window into what life was like during those days….very hard!!

Sankofa design from Kiarablu

Sankofa reminds us to Return & Get what was left behind

I  encourage everyone to do some family research and/or documentation.  It is not only for yourself but also  for the children of your family.   If you are wondering “where do I begin”  ?  I suggest right where you are.  Begin with your immediate family,  your parents and grandparents.  Fill out the family tree with all that you know –  it will be more than you realize!!  Then begin the Sankofa journey……. ask for the information that is missing from other family members….siblings of your parents and grandparents, their children and spouses.  This  can be done at family gatherings ( even if it is not an “official” family reunion) …..bring the tree with you and connect with others and their families.

Click on the image below for your own family tree to fill out!!  

Nice Hair

April 18, 2012

This blog post is dedicated to all the little girls with curly hair. As mom to a young girl of African descent I have had many discussions about hair.  When she first went to school, my daughter soon began asking questions about blonde and straight hair.  We talked at length about the differences between her best friends hair (blonde, straight , unbraided) and her hair ( curly, black and braided).  I have always taught her that hair comes in many, many varieties.  This fact means that there are many different ways people will style their hair.   My daughter can now admire many different styles without any envy that her hair is not exactly the same.  This makes me happy.

Fashion Doll - Pre Afro treatment

Fashion Doll selected to recieve an Afro

 Last year I came across a great article about creating an Afro  for Barbie.  I was pleasantly surprised because I have never seen a fashion doll with really curly hair.  Even way back when in the ’60s when Afros where high fashion in the African-American community.   (Yes I was the little girl way back then LOL)

The “hair prep”  steps needed for this Afro creation were pretty simple….twirl the hair, curl it up on pipe cleaners and dip in really hot water.

 

Pipe cleaner sor curlers!

The make over begins

When I posed this project to my fashion doll  lovin’ daughter she jumped  for joy -” Yes” she squealed to my delight.     So together we worked to twist up the doll’s  hair and curled it on pipe cleaners.  It was a very bonding experience to teach my daughter to get the twists  nice and smooth.  “Girl stuff” my husband noted — To which my dear daughter smiled and said Yes it is!! ( Gotta love the Girl Power there)

We were able to complete the style but we did not get a true Afro – maybe because her hair was so long.  My daughter loves the increased texture so all is well in the land of “lil Duafe”  which makes me smile and oh soooo happy to be in the mommy “hood”.

How have you explained hair differences to the little girls in your life?  Have you received questions or statements of  envy for another childs hair or styles?

Here is a link to the tutorial for how  give fashion dolls  an Afro 

http://playbarbies.wordpress.com/2011/06/02/custom-rotini-or-halo-hair/

Barbie with an Afro

what you should get

As I continue on the journey of A to Z Blogging we come to E.  This was a difficult one for me to determine what to write about – I have finally settled on Energy – the much-needed – over used resource  of the modern world.

Currently many people on the African continent are working to find reliable sources of energy for  residents of many countries.  Because the infrastructure  in many countries is not as well-developed or reliable as we enjoy here in US   there have been many projects to create energy sources locally.  Solar energy has become a great way to offer rural residents an ongoing energy source.  Solar energy can be harnessed through panels  that can be by placed  local residents.  This addition to homes in the rural areas reduces the need for expensive kerosene oil and provides more hours of light thereby increasing productivity after dark sunset.

Here is a great video describing a program that trains Grandmothers in Kenya to install Solar Panels to their village. They received the nick name  “Solar Sisters”.  They can then teach others and extend the knowledge to neighboring villages.  What a powerful chain of events this can be to a region with no electric grid.

I also would like to share  another view of energy that I came across  – Sankofa Energy fabric  from KKweli over at Spoonflower.  I love the vibrance of this design and  truly appreciate  the concept of having tons of ENERGY to go back and claim what we left behind!!   

Sankofa_Energy_Green

Sankofa Art

March 7, 2012

The Adinkra symbol Sankofa is a powerful statement to many across the African Diaspora.  For many of us it represents  our strong desire to reach back…way back to our ancestral home and learn about the culture our forefathers and mothers had to leave behind.  We have much of that culture within us and we don’t even know it!

As a salute to this powerful symbol that stands as  a strong reminder of our journey to African knowledge I would like to share this photo of the artwork by Goddess Angelika   I am so happy to see my enlightened Brothers and Sisters sharing the knowledge of the beautiful Adinkra symbols. This trend of sharing is the key for us all to join the powerful Sankofa journey.

Sankofa by Goddess Angelika

Adinkra symbol Sankofa

For more African cultural expressions thru poetry and art visit Goddess Angelika Tumblr

Mate Masie Symbol represents wisdom and knowledge

Mate Masie Adinkra symbol represents Wisdom and Knowledge

The African American Literature Book Club has issued  several  recommendations for great reading for Black History Month!  Featured in Episode 7 of  the Book Look is Manning Marable’sMalcolm X: A Life of Reinvention” which examines the life of  Freedom Fighter Malcom X  from a different perspective than we have seen in previous biographies.   Check out the Book Look Episode 7 below and then drop over to the AALBC for more great recommendations for wonderful reading!!

I recently connected with the creaters of a fantastic cartoon series called Bino and Fino on my  Twitter timeline!   Bino and Fino is the name of an adorable  African children’s cartoon now available   that  offers up enriching African culture to our children.  This engaging cartoon is  designed to be an entertaining  teaching tool for kids across the Diapora which addresses topics like African history,  African culture,  African maps,  black history in Diaspora, Life skills, African songs,  African languages, and much more!  

Sankofa "Return and Get it"

 Through engaging stories the cartoon offers the children a fantastic vehicle for Sankofa –  they can connect with the African continent on a familiar media format.  I love this!!  My children were immediately engaged when they watched the video below and it led to a fantastic discussion about colonialism, independance, history, and geography.  We have been studying regions of Africa so the children were happy to look at the map and identify where Nigeria, Cameroon, Togo, Mali  (etc) are   after watching the cartoon!  

Hope you enjoy this  episode of Bino and Fino as they learn all about Nigerian Independence Day . I encourage you to order a DVD for the children in your life!   What other things are you doing to bring Sankofa to youth of your life?  

Nigerian Independence Design from Kiarablu

Just wanted to share this Action Campaign I came across over at Mom Bloggers For Social Good!  You can donate $10 to help spread the word in the fight to raise awareness and fight malaria in Africa simply by texting “Dream” to 859944

This simple text will also enter you to win a trip to Africa with TV star Katharine McPhee !   For more about this campaign or to join the positive impact being driven by Moms For social Good please see the link below:

 

 

Action Campaign – Spread the Word About Malaria No More’s ‘Dream Big for Africa’ Campaign

 

 

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Happy Kwanzaa 2011!!

December 26, 2011

Sending warm wishes for 7 days of

 beautiful family and community

 connections!

Happy Kwanzaa!!