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Adinkra Symbols
Adinkra are traditional symbols that pass on the wisdom
of Ghana and West Africa.

ADINKRAHENE "Chief of the adinkra symbols"

symbol of greatness, charisma and leadership

This symbol is said to have played an inspiring role in the designing of other symbols. It signifies the importance of playing a leadership role.


AKOBEN "war horn"

Symbol of loyalty, devotion and service.

"Akoben" is a wind instrument used in summoning warriors to the battlefield. The symbol signifies alertness and readiness to serve a good cause. It encourages people to be ready at all times to serve their nation even in times of war. It also stresses the need for loyalty to one's nation.

akoko nan

AKOKO NAN "the leg of a hen"

symbol of nurturing and discipline

The full name of this symbol translates to "The hen treads on her chicks, but she does not kill them." This represents the ideal nature of parents, being both protective and corrective. An exhortation to nurture children, but a warning not to pamper them.


AKOMA "the heart"

symbol of patience and tolerance

According to Agbo, when a person is said to "have a heart in his stomach," that person is very tolerant.

akoma ntoso

AKOMA NTOSO "linked hearts"

symbol of understanding and agreement

bin nka bi

BIN NKA BI "No one should bite the other"

symbol of peace and harmony

This symbol cautions against provocation and strife.

dame dame


symbol of intelligence and ingenuity

The name of a board game.


DENKYEM "crocodile"

symbol of adaptability

The crocodile lives in the water, yet breathes the air, demonstrating an ability to adapt to circumstances.


DWENNIMMEN "ram's horns"

symbol of humility together with strength

The ram will fight fiercely against an adversary, but it also submits humbly to slaughter, emphasizing that even the strong need to be humble.


EPA "handcuffs"

symbol of slavery and captivity

You are the slave of him whose handcuffs you wear.

ese ne tekrema

ESE NE TEKREMA "the teeth and the tongue"

symbol of friendship and interdependence

The teeth and the tongue play interdependent roles in the mouth. They may come into conflict, but they need to work together.


FIHANKRA "house/compound"

symbol of security and safety

Typical of Akan (Asante) architecture, the communal housing compound has only one entrance and exit.

funtunfunefu denkyemfunefu


symbol of democracy and unity

The Siamese crocodiles share one stomach, yet they fight over food. This popular symbol is a remind that infighting and tribalism is harmful to all who engage in it.

gye nyame

GYE NYAME "Except for God."

symbol of the supremacy or omnipotence of God

This symbol popular symbol is found throughout Ghana and is used for decorating cloth, art and in all other aspects of Ghana's rich culture. It reflects the deep religious character of the Ghanaian people.

hwe me dua

HWE MU DUA "measuring stick"

symbol of examination and quality control

This symbol stresses the need to strive for the best quality, whether in production of goods or in human endeavors.

hye wonhye

HYE WONHYE "that which cannot be burnt"

symbol of imperishability and endurance

In times of old, some priests were noted for their ability to dance through fire without burning their feet. In the same way, some people can overcome all forms of hardship or difficulties - being


KINTINKANTAN "puffed up extravagance"

symbol of arrogance


MMUSUYIDEE "that which removes bad luck"

symbol of good furtune and sanctity


NKONSONKONSON "chain link"

symbol of unity and human relations

A reminder to contribute to the community, that in unity lies strength.


NKYINKYIM "to turn or twist oneself"

symbol of versatility

This symbol stresses the need to be able to adapt to life, moving oneself around difficulties in order successfully fulfil one's duty.


NSOROMMA "child of the heavens [stars]"

symbol of guardianship

A reminder that God is the father and watches over all people.

nyam biribi wo soro

NYAME BIRIBI WO SORO "God is in the heavens"

symbol of hope

A reminder that God's dwelling place is in the heaven, where he can listen to all prayers.

nyame nnwu na mawu

NYAME NNWU NA MAWU "God never dies, therefore I cannot die"

symbol of perpetual existence

This signifies the immortality of man's soul, believed to be a part of God. Because the soul rests with God after death, it cannot die.

odo nnyew fie kwan

ODO NNYEW FIE KWAN "Love never loses its way home"

symbol of the power of love

owo foro adobe

OWO FORO ADOBE "snake climbing the raffia tree"

symbol of steadfastness, prudence and diligence

Because of its thorns, the raffia tree is a very dangerous challenge to the snake. His ability to climb it is a model of persistence and prudence.


SANKOFA "return and get it"

symbol of importance of learning from the past

It is no taboo to return and get it when you forget. You can always undo your mistakes.

tamfo bebre