SankofaNow is a program that culminates in a journey through the Republic of Ghana, West Africa. We explore the historical, scientific, theological, psychological, sociological and artistic dimensions of racial reconciliation and human wholeness and flourishing. The trip includes visits to significant historical sites and relevant educational institutions, and meetings with local educators, artists, entrepreneurs, and community leaders, among others. The sites include W. E. B. DuBois Museum, Slave Dungeons, a tour of Accra, Ghana’s capital, visit to renowned artist Kwame Akoto-Bamfo’s Nkyimkyim Installation in Ada, and the Manhyia Palace, seat of the Ashanti Kingdom, etc.
City tour of the nation’s capital with a local historian including visits to the final resting places of two great visionaries: Kwame Nkrumah, the first President of the Republic of Ghana and W. E. B. DuBois, an American sociologist, socialist, historian, and Pan-Africanist civil rights activist. The Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum Museum and Memorial Park is located at the site of the declaration of Ghana’s Independence and many other relevant institutions such as the Artists Alliance Gallery and Kokrobitey Institute.
While you are here, we encourage you to consider the quote from DuBois below and your answers to the questions raised therein. ”
“How shall Integrity face Oppression? What shall Honesty do in the face of Deception, Decency in the face of Insult, Self Defense before Blows? How shall Desert and Accomplishment meet Despising, Detraction, and Lies? What shall Virtue do to meet Brute Force? There are so many answers and so contradictory; and such difference for those on the one hand who meet questions similar to this once a year or once a decade, and those who face them hourly and daily.”
Thu, Feb 2 | Ada Foah
A day of reflection and lament possibly with renowned Ghanaian artist, Kwame Akoto-Bamfo’ Nkyinkyim installation in Ada
Nkyinkyim, derived from the Adinkra symbol meaning “twists and turns,” is representative of the African story. The story of people of African descent is one of many twists and turns. As one of the largest outdoor museums is Ghana, Nkyinkyim captures the complexity of the African story with its 10-year evolving art installation of murals and sculptured heads designed to tell the story of the toll of African loss due to trans-Atlantic Slave Trade. The loss of over 12 million African lives through the largest act of forced migration in documented history is a true human tragedy.
Fri, Feb 3 & 4 | Bonwire & Ntonso | Kumawu, Ashanti Region
Bonwire & Ntonso
Bonwire is the original home of the Kente cloth. During our visit we interact with local artisans to learn more about their craft including the names and meanings of the various Kente patterns. Participants enjoy purchasing genuine Kente cloth at Bonwire directly from the artisans who made them.
Ntonso is home of the Adinkra print. Adinkra are symbols that represent concepts or aphorisms. Local artisans at Ntonso give tours of the step-by-step process of using dye to print the Adinkra symbols onto fabric.
The Kumawuman Museum Network is one of the hidden cultural gems in Ghana as a whole and the Ashanti Region in particular. Historically and culturally, much of Ghana is organized around the traditional area (“Oman”) under the leadership of a Paramount Chief (Omanhene). Within that traditional area are satellite villages and towns that surround the capital of the Oman. The Kumawuman Museum Network is based on this concept. Kumawu is the capital of the Kumawu Traditional Area or “Kumawuman.” Kumawu is a town that pre-dates the formation of the Ashanti Kingdom, and was one of the founding states of the Ashanti Empire over 300 years ago. The museums of interest are the Kumawu Palace Museum, Bodwease Palace Museum, Bodomase Palace Museum and the NYU CTED Arts Area.
Sun, Feb 5 | Manhyia
Kumasi is where tradition meets modernity. The Ashanti Kingdom in Ghana is one of Africa’s oldest and most powerful kingdoms with rich history and culture that have survived centuries of wars and colonialism. For dozens of years, the kingdom put up a fierce resistance against the British invasion. Today, the kingdom survives as a constitutionally protected, sub-national proto-state and traditional state in union with the Republic of Ghana. We interact with the local Ghanaian individuals and leaders in Kumasi and attend church service at House of Faith.
Mon, Feb 6 | Save Our Lives | Assin Manso
SAVE OUR LIVES
ASSIN MANSO–The River of Last Bath
CAPE COAST & ELMINA
Visit the castles with their churches and dungeons in Elmina Castle, built in 1482 by the Portuguese first as a trading post, remains the oldest European building south of the Sahara. The castle changed hands several times and finally ended up in British hands in 1872. Like many of European encounter with Africa, what started out a trading post, later became one of the most important stops in the Atlantic Slave Trade. Like Elmina, the Cape Coast Castle, was established by the Portuguese in 1555 as a trading post, later became a major transition post during the Atlantic Slave Trade.
Fri, Feb 10 | Royal Museum for Central Africa
Royal Museum of Central Africa
The Royal Africa Museum colloquially known as the Africa Museum, is an ethnography and natural history museum situated in Tervuren in Flemish Brabant, Belgium, just outside Brussels. It was built to showcase King Leopold II’s Congo Free State in the 1897 World Exhibition. It was originally designed to a particular story, a story of the king’s benevolent exploits. However, it has been redesigned to tell a more comprehensive story of Leopold’s exploits as one might find in King Leopold’s Ghost by Adam Hochschild.
An immersion trip that uses inter-group dialogue strategies facilitated by experienced leaders. It is designed to affect the whole person—mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical.
- Multidimensional—It seeks to affect the whole person—mind, heart and body. The first two—mind and heart—are easily understood. History, and the telling of it, impacts how we think and feel(1). What has been neglected until recently is the physical impact of enduring racism, injustice, and trauma and re-traumatization. We know emotional trauma has physical impact. (2)
- Multidisciplinary—The history of race, racism and of Africans in the New World is tainted by so many mixed motivations that to unravel it requires serious engagement with all the various arguments that shaped the existing narratives. Those arguments have at times been theological, scientific, historical, sociological, psychological, etc. The readings and discussions will cover history, science, theology, sociology, psychology among other disciplines.
- Immersion— The trip is designed to put participants in contact with the daily realities of life in the country. Whenever possible, we will interact with local professionals, artisans, educators, etc.. This is not intended for tourists, who would like to stay in fancy hotels and sip their Piña Colada. This is first and foremost an educational opportunity constructed to stimulate the whole person. It is meant to be a transformational experience. We will visit many places, perhaps even more places than the average tour, but our framework and the motivation for these visits are different. We seek to educate and transform.
(1)L Comas-Díaz and F M Jacobsen, “Ethnocultural Allodynia,” The Journal Of Psychotherapy Practice And Research 10, no. 4 (2001 Fall 2001): 246–52.
(2)Allison Crawford, “If ‘The Body Keeps the Score’: Mapping the Dissociated Body in Trauma Narrative, Intervention, and Theory,” no. 2 (2010): 702, https://doi.org/10.1353/utq.2010.0231.