A month ago, I had the opportunity to watch a Roverman Productions stage play titled “Sankofa”. “Sankofa” is a word in the Twi language of Ghana that translates as “Go back and get it” (san– to return; ko– to go; fa- to fetch, to seek and take).
Sankofa also refers to the Asante Adinkra symbol represented either by a bird with its head turned backward taking an egg off its back, or as a stylized heart shape.
The play tells a story of two highly honored Ghanaian professors who have traveled to Australia to confer an honorary degree on a Ghanaian Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Professor Fergusson. Unknown to them, Professor Fergusson was once their student whom they failed at the University.
This play is a reflection of what goes on in some of our Ghanaian Universities. The Ghanaian Nobel Peace Prize laureate and the daughter of one of the professors used to date while in the University even though the professor disapproved of their relationship. This got the Nobel Peace Prize laureate into the bad books of the professor. As a result, the professor failed him during examinations. To make matters worse, the professor’s daughter had to run away from her dad because he wanted her to pursue a course in Mathematics which the girl didn’t have a flair for.
It is also a reflection of how our society looks down on some people as a result of misconceptions they have about them. When these two professors arrived in their hotel in Australia, Professor Fergusson welcomed them in his jogging outfit. When the receptionist told them he was the professor who they’d be conferring the honorary degree on, they instantly made a mockery of him. This was because, Professor Fergusson didn’t look like the usual professors we’re used to who mostly wear glasses,always serious looking, fairly old, expunge big jargons and always seen in official attire. They even laughed out loud when they realized Professor Fergusson pursued a humanities course and not a science related course. Unknown to them, this professor they were writing off will be the one to foot their hotel accommodation bill because, they didn’t confirm their room reservation.
In the end, the two professors who failed this Nobel Peace Prize Laureate had to accept the inevitable truth that, the gentleman whose destiny they wrongly determined has rewritten his life story and is now a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate on whom they will be conferring an honorary degree on.
I believe some of us can see ourselves in the plot of this play. There are times in school when our teachers single out some individuals who perform brilliantly in examinations as those who’d succeed in life. They give these so called “brilliant students” preferential treatments at the detriment of others. As a result, some students who don’t make it onto the list of “brilliant students” lose self-confidence and live under the illusion that they’re not good enough. They sometimes live in self-pity for the rest of their lives and are unable to accomplish the purpose for which God created them.
If you find yourself in this situation, I’m here to tell you that, the fact that someone has judged you based on his/her criteria doesn’t make it the final judgment. The fact that you were able to fertilize an egg and come into being after competing with nearly 100 million sperms is enough proof that you were born for a great purpose. Look beyond the facts people present to you about your life and look to God who created you and knows you best even before you were conceived.
If anyone tries to write you off, boldly blurt out Labi Siffre’s song- Something Inside So Strong
The higher you build your barriers
The taller I become
The farther you take my rights away
The faster I will run
You can deny me
You can decide to turn your face away
No matter, cos there’s…
Something inside so strong
I know that I can make it
Tho’ you’re doing me wrong, so wrong
You thought that my pride was gone
Oh no, something inside so strong
The more you refuse to hear my voice
The louder I will sing
You hide behind walls of Jericho
Your lies will come tumbling
Deny my place in time
You squander wealth that’s mine
My light will shine so brightly
It will blind you
Something inside so strong
Brothers and sisters
When they insist we’re just not good enough
When we know better
Just look ’em in the eyes and say
I’m gonna do it anyway [x4]
Image Source: graphic.com.gh