Why do you use African Symbols?

Posted by Content Producer, Black Lion Leather on 3rd Jun 2019

Why do you use African Symbols?

The wisdom and history of a people can be found embedded in the language and symbols of their culture.

This is especially evident in the Adinkra symbols from the Asante people of Ghana in West Africa, and may be part of why the symbols are popular across the African diaspora. There are over 900 Adinkra symbols. Black Lion Leather has selected some specific Adinkra symbols for our products. We also showcase one of the oldest Kemetic (currently called ancient Egypt) symbols called the “Ankh”.

The list below uses the symbolic meanings, but note that each Adinkra symbol also has a literal and proverbial meaning as well. The language used to name each symbol (excluding the Ankh) is Asante Twi from the Akan language group.



  • ANKH: the symbol of the Ankh is heavily encoded. From this perspective, the Ankh encodes not only the meaning of life, but the creation of life itself.



  • AKOFENA: Literal translation: The state ceremonial swords. Symbolic meaning: Courage, Bravery, Valor



  • DWENNIMMEN: Literal translation: Ram's horns. Symbolic meaning: Humility together with Strength.

Gye Nyame


  • GYE NYAME: Literal translation: Except God. Symbolic meaning: Omnipotence and immortality of God (Creator, Most High, Universe).



  • SANKOFA: Literal translation: Return and get it. Learn from the past. Symbolic meaning: Use past experiences to build the future.

M. Asante, & A. Mazuma (Eds). (2009), Encyclopedia of African Religion, Thousand Oak, CA., Sage Publications Inc.
G.F. Kojo Arthur. (2017), Cloth As Metaphor, Bloomington, IN., IUniverse.
Websites:  Adinkra Alphabet; Adinkra.org; Afroetic.com