How does Sankofa address the theme of African cultural survival?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One of the elements of African culture that survives the brutality of slavery is the belief in community.  African culture stressed community and a sense of solidarity.  When White slave traders encountered the indigenous people, they fostered a sense of individualism that helped to create slavery to be an unimaginable condition.  When slaves were brought to America, families were broken up and slaves were encouraged to be as self- interested as possible.  The film displays how slaves stick together, foster resistance, and seek to make their shared conditions better for one another.  This element of cultural identity survives, even when so many members of the culture do not.

Another aspect of African culture that survives in the plantation South is the use of natural conditions to assist in accomplishing goals.  African culture stresses a respect for the land, enabling it to be used for the betterment of the tribe or community. Shango and Nunu take to the hills in order to attack their slaveowners, representing how Africans are able to use and respect nature in order to make life better for the tribe. Nature is where they are able to launch their attack.  It is the natural world that assists in their attempts to make life better for themselves and other slaves.  This aspect of African culture is shown to survive in the world of slavery, lasting when so much did not.