Wawa Aba – Symbolism and Importance

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Wawa Aba is an Adinkra symbol meaning seed of the wawa tree. In Africa, this symbol signifies toughness, durability, and strength.

What is Wawa Aba?

The Wawa Aba is an African symbol featuring a circle with a vertical line running through it, two curved lines on the bottom, and two on the top. In Akan, the words ‘wawa aba’ means ‘seed of the wawa (tree).’

The Wawa tree, (Triplochiton scleroxylon), is known by many names including:

  • African whitewood
  • Abachi
  • Obeche – In Nigeria
  • Wawa – In Ghana
  • Ayous – In Cameroon
  • Sambawawa – In Ivory Coast

A large, deciduous tree, the Wawa is mostly found in the tropical areas of Central and West Africa. However, the wood is popular throughout the country for its use in carpentry and building.

Symbolism of Wawa Aba

wawa aba symbol meaning

The Wawa Aba symbol signifies the perseverance, toughness, and hardiness of the wawa seed and plant.

In Akan culture, the wawa tree is viewed as a symbol of someone who is strong and resilient, physically, or mentally. To the Akans, the tree serves as a reminder to persevere even in the most difficult of times. 

In 2008, the official match ball for the MTN Africa Cup of Nations was named Wawa Aba to show the people’s belief in the society’s strength and the team spirit.

The Uses of the Wawa Tree

Wawa wood is fairly light and soft for a hardwood tree, with a pale-yellow color. It’s used for making furniture, veneer, picture frames, moldings, and musical instruments such as guitars. A number of American musical instrument manufacturers have used Wawa wood to manufacture limited edition guitars.

The Wawa tree is home to the African silk moth called Anaphe venata. The caterpillars feed on Wawa leaves and then spin cocoons, which are used to make silk.

The wood of the Wawa is utilized in its natural habitat and can only be found in some areas of Africa. However, it’s classed on the IUCN Red List as ‘least concern’.

FAQs

What does Wawa Aba mean?

Wawa Aba means ‘seed of the wawa tree’.

What does Wawa Aba symbolize?

The Wawa Aba symbol represents resilience, perseverance, hardiness, and toughness. It’s a reminder to push through hard times.

What is the Wawa tree?

The Wawa tree (Triplochiton scleroxylon) is a tree belonging to the genus Triplochiton of the Malvaceae family. 

What are the uses of the Wawa tree?

Wawa wood is extensively used for manufacturing boxes, sculptures, crates, pencils, peeled and sliced veneer for exterior and interior parts of fiber, plywood, particle boards, and blockboard.

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.

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