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Akoma ntoso, meaning ‘linked hearts’, is an Adinkra symbol (and proverb) of togetherness, unity, and agreement. It was seen as an embodiment of harmony in African communities.
What is Akoma Ntoso?
Akoma ntoso, pronounced as ‘a-coma-in-toso’, is a Ghanaian symbol and proverb which literally translates to ‘linked hearts’ or ‘united hearts’. It features four ‘hearts’ resembling half-circles, all connected to one circle in the center.
Symbolism of Akoma Ntoso
The Akans regarded Akoma Ntoso as a symbol of understanding, agreement, and togetherness. The four hearts are said to symbolize the immortality of the soul as well as mutual sympathy. As a concept, it’s used to promote unity among communities and families. Like chains, the bonds connecting the four hearts are unwavering, and together, they form a unique, strong, and undeniable force.
The symbol also represents people working together to achieve a common goal. For this to happen, they must all agree with one another or if not, they should at least be open to understanding others’ points of view and opinions. Therefore, the symbol serves as a reminder of the unity and teamwork required to achieve positive outcomes.
Akoma Ntoso in Use Today
In the modern world, the Akoma Ntoso symbol continues to be used as a symbol of agreement and understanding. It’s found in various jewelry designs, printed on clothing, and used for wall art and pottery. It’s also the official logo of the Ghana Stock Exchange which was founded in 1989.
The Akoma Ntoso symbol can be seen as one of the Adinkra symbols on the African Burial Ground National Monument, where people from various cultures are all brought together by shared memories of lost ones, affections, and the African culture.
The words ‘Akoma ntoso’ mean ‘linked hearts’. The symbol embodies agreement, understanding, and harmony.
Akoma ntoso is an Akan term, the native language of the Akan people of Ghana. Most Ghanaians speak Akan.
Akoma means ‘heart’ in Akan.
Understanding, agreement, togetherness, unity, and harmony.
What Are Adinkra Symbols?
Adinkra are a collection of West African symbols that are known for their symbolism, meaning and decorative features. They have decorative functions, but their primary use is to represent concepts related to traditional wisdom, aspects of life, or the environment.
Adinkra symbols are named after their original creator King Nana Kwadwo Agyemang Adinkra, from the Bono people of Gyaman, now Ghana. There are several types of Adinkra symbols with at least 121 known images, including additional symbols that have been adopted on top of the original ones.
Adinkra symbols are highly popular and used in contexts to represent African culture, such as artwork, decorative items, fashion, jewelry, and media.