Adrinka Symbols

The symbols below are representative of our African heritage. These visual graphics carry profound meanings of our spiritual life.

NYAME YE OHENE (God)

"God is King "
Symbol of majesty and supremacy of God

GYE NYAME

"Except for God"

Symbol of the supremacy of God

NYAME DUA (Worship)

Translation: "tree of god" – altar
Symbol of God's presence and protection

The Nyame Dua is a sacred spot where rituals are performed. Erected in front of the house or compound, it is crafted from a tree that has been cut where three or more branches come together. This stake holds an earthenware vessell filled with water and herbs or other symbolic materials for purification and blessing rituals.

NKONSONKONSON (Community)

"Chain Link"
Symbol of unity and human relations

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

ADINKRAHENE (Biblical Teaching)

"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.

NKYINKYIM (Transformation)

"Twisting"
Symbol of initiative, dynamism and versatility

SESA WO SUBAN (Transformation)

"Change or Transform Your Character "

Symbol of life transformation

This symbol combines two separate adinkra symbols, the "Morning Star" which can mean a new start to the day, placed inside the wheel, representing rotation or independent movement.

NYAME NTI

"by God's grace"

Symbol of faith and trust in God

Similar to Gye Nyame
According to The Adinkra Dictionary by W. Bruce Willis: "This stalk is depicted as the staff of life in many cultures. It symbolizes to the Akan that food is a basis of life and that they could not survive if not for the food that God has placed here on Earth for their nourishment. "

ODO NNYEW FIE KWAN (Marriage Matters)

"Love never loses its way home"

Symbol of the power of love

NSAA (Excellence)

A type of hand-woven fabric

Symbol of excellence, genuineness, authenticity

According to "The Adinkra Dictionary" by W. Bruce Willis, the nsaa symbols reflects a saying: "nea onnim nsaa oto n'ago", which he translates as "He who does not know authentic Nsaa will buy the fakes."
The quality of Nsaa has come to represent quality of workmanship in general.

AKOKO NAN (Discipleship)

"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.

FIHANKRA (Adult Ministry)

"house/compound"

Symbol of security and safety

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

EBAN (Love)

"fence"

Symbol of love, safety and security

The home to the Akan is a special place. A home which has a fence around it is considered to be an ideal residence.

The fence symbolically separates and secures the family from the outside. Because of the security and the protection that a fence affords, the symbol is also associated with the security and safety one finds in love.

FAWOHODIE (Family Ministry)

"independence"

Symbol of independence, freedom, emancipation

"From the expression: Fawodhodie ene obre na enam.
Literal translation: "Independence comes with its responsibilities."

BESE SAKA (Pastor & Staff)

"sack of cola nuts"

Symbol of affluence, power, abundance, plenty, togetherness and unity

The cola nut played an important role in the economic life of Ghana. A widely-used cash crop, it is closely associated with affluence and abundance. This symbol also represents the role of agriculture and trade in bringing peoples together.

MPATAPO (Reconciliation)

"knot of pacification/reconciliation"

Symbol of reconciliation, peacemaking and pacification

Mpatapo represents the bond or knot that binds parties in a dispute to a peaceful, harmonious reconciliation. It is a symbol of peacemaking after strife.

AKOBEN (MOF)

"war horn" Symbol of vigilance and wariness Akoben is a horn used to sound a battle cry.

DUAFE (Women’s Ministry)

"wooden comb"

Symbol of beauty and cleanliness; symbols of desirable feminine qualities

The meaning of this symbol is characterized slightly differently in "The Adinkra Dictionary" and "The Values of Adinkra Symbols"; the former emphasizes more abstract qualities of feminine goodness, love and care, while the latter has a more literal interpretation, looking one's best and good hygiene. In any case, the duafe was a prized possession of the Akan woman, used to comb and plait her hair.

MPUANNUM (Elders Council)

"five tufts" (of hair)

Symbol of priestly office, loyalty and adroitness

"This symbol is said to be the hairstyle of joy. It is the traditional hairstyle of the priestesses. ... The design of the adinkra symbol mpuannum resembles the way the priestesses' hair was tied. ...
It also represents the devotion and faithfulness one displays when doing a task required of one. In addition, mpuannum means loyalty or the embodiment of lofty duty to a desired goal." 
- W. Bruce Willis, The Adinkra Dictionary

ANANSE NTONTAN (Creativity)

"spider's web"
Symbol of wisdom, creativity and the complexities of life

Ananse, the spider, is a well-known character in African folktales.

NEA ONNIM NO SUA A, OHU (Senior Ministry)

"He who does not know can know from learning"
Symbol of knowledge, life-long education and continued quest for knowledge
Source: Cloth As Metaphor by G.F. Kojo Arthur

NEA OPE SE OBEDI HENE (emerging leadership development)

"he who wants to be king "

Symbol of service and leadership

From the expression "Nea ope se obedi hene daakye no, firi ase sue som ansa" meaning "He who wants to be king in the future must first learn to serve." 
Source: Cloth As Metaphor by G.F. Kojo Arthur

ME WARE WO (Volunteer, small group)

"I shall marry you "

Symbol of commitment, perseverance

From the expression "No one rushes into the job of mixing the concrete for building the house of marriage."

SANKOFA (History)

 "translation" "return and get it"

Symbol of importance of learning from the past