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Description of Nyame Nwu na Mawu
The phrase “God won’t die for me to die” is what the Nyame Nwu na Mawu symbol is supposed to translate to. This sign, which takes the form of a cross, is meant to convey both the existence of God and the eternal nature of the human spirit. They do not perish due to the fact that after death, the soul travels back to God. Since God does not perish, it follows that the soul does not either. The spiritual dimension of life, as well as the imperative to seek out a relationship with the divine, are both brought to mind by the presence of this symbol.
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General Adinkra description
Adinkra SymbolsThe Adinkra symbols come from West Africa, specifically a region that is modern-day Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire. The symbols belonged to the Asante (or Ashanti) peoples, who would print them on cloth, as well as pottery and metalwork. The Asante people resisted British colonial rule when it arrived in West Africa. It may be for this reason that much cultural tradition and symbolism survives to this day. The word ‘adinkra’ means ‘farewell’ or ‘goodbye’ in the Twi language, spoken by the Asante people. For this reason, Adinkra cloth was worn often on special occasions, particularly funerals. The Adinkra symbols are closely tied to the history, beliefs and traditions of the Asante people. Each symbol represents a small number of simple concepts, meaning that Adinkra cloth would traditionally be printed using bespoke patterns, telling a story about the wearer that could be read by those knowledgeable enough to understand the underlying symbolism. The Adinkra symbols, and their meanings, have survived to the present day. Cloth displaying Adinkra symbols is now mass-produced in bright colors, using modern techniques and is very popular both in Africa and the wider world. This is not to say that the traditional weaving and printing methods have died out. It is still possible to find Adinkra cloth that has been made by hand, printed using natural inks and traditional techniques.
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