What is the meaning of the African word Adinkra? Just like most civilizations around the world, the African setting is made up of several African symbols that stand for different things. Some of these are ancient representations that have survived through generations to this day, and they range from West African symbols all the way across continents in related cultures.
So, what do Adinkra symbols mean? While looking at these things, it is important to note that the images may have different meanings in varying settings. For example, African symbols of love in one region may differ from others. In addition, Adinkra symbols from Ghana, which represent aphorisms or concepts, are also popular and deserve a mention for that.
African symbols and meanings
Apart from pure African symbols for love, God, protection, and more, African American symbols are an example of related cultures, which, at their core, are still relevant because they borrow heavily from the continent. The following are some of the symbols in the region.
1. Ako Ben
This is a war horn that stands for readiness and wariness in case one is called to arms. Based on the traditional horn of the chief, this horn is said to sing praises for the leader through the mouths of the enemies.
Dono the drum is an image that represents goodwill or kindness and diplomacy.
3. Gye Nyame
Ever heard people say "Except God fear no one?” Gye Nyame is one of the famous symbols for God that directly translates to this common saying, or in other words, "Unless God allows it to happen."
4. Denkyem crocodile
This animal mark signifies adaptability, the same way the crocodile lives in water, yet it comes out of the water to breathe air.
Adinkra symbols Sankofal, and it can be interpreted in two ways. It may mean to go back and take something for one who speaks Ghana’s Akan language. Alternatively, it may be referring to the Asante Adinkra symbol that is normally associated with a proverb that states that it is okay for one to go back for something forgotten.
6. Bin Nka Bi
As a representation of peace and harmony, Bin Nka Bi means "Bite not one another." This image from the western part of the continent is normally related to a proverb that is translated to mean that if you do not harm someone, then there is no reason for him or her to harm you.
7. Akoma Ntoaso
This is one of the African symbols for love, and it is clearly showing that since it is a depiction of linked hearts. Unsurprisingly, therefore, it stands for understanding and agreement.
8. Bese Saka
This is essentially a bunch of Kola nuts that symbolize wealth. In the Akan tribes, it was a favorite fruit and a representation of wealth that fetched a high price.
9. Ananse Ntontan
Ananse Ntontan is one of the ancient African symbols for wisdom, creativity, and complexities of life.
10. Osrane Ne Nsoroma
Among Adinkra symbols, Osrane characterizes the moon, while Osrane Ne Nsoroma is an image for the moon and the star. Osrane Ne Nsoroma symbolizes love, commitment, faithfulness, and patience.
11. Nyame Nwu Na Mawu
What is the African symbol for life? Nyame Nwu Na Mawu is one of those African symbols for God that may be a bit misunderstood. However, it actually means that the human soul is immortal. Since God never dies, the soul never dies, as well as it reunites with Him in the afterlife.
12. Akoko Nan
This is a hen’s leg and is among the many African symbols of protection. It stands for parental protection and care, and it is derived from the fact that a hen treads on her chicks without killing them.
In Swahili, Imani means Faith, that is, totally believing in the Creator. Also called Adwera, which is a river plant, this image shows cleanliness, chastity, faith in God, and purity.
This is a styled wooden comb that was popular among the Akan women, and it is related to feminine traits. These traits include beauty, hygiene, love, tenderness, caution, kindness, and consideration, among other virtues.
What is the African symbol for strength? This mark shows strength and humility. The word itself comes from the horns of a ram, which are known to be strong.
Kuntinkantan image is used to warn people against boasting and arrogance.
Away from these, there are various unique East African symbols from different communities. For example, the Turkana people of Kenya associate wealth with livestock and not land like in some places. Colors play an important role too in the region. For instance, black is normally used for somber occasions while red may be associated with danger and the occult.
African symbols give the people a sense of identity as well as a way of life that is acceptable for themselves. It is for that very reason that various meaningful symbols have been preserved to date, and some believers go to the extent of making jewelry or inking themselves with these images. Which one is your favorite one? Share with us your opinion in the comments section below.