Was Mona in the film Sankofa originally a house slave?

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In the film Sankofa , Mona is an African American fashion model on a shoot in Ghana, Africa. A white photographer is taking pictures of her in front of a castle that was originally used to imprison those Africans who had been captured or bought and were to be taken...

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In the film Sankofa, Mona is an African American fashion model on a shoot in Ghana, Africa. A white photographer is taking pictures of her in front of a castle that was originally used to imprison those Africans who had been captured or bought and were to be taken to the New World as slaves. Mona is unaware and unconcerned about her African ancestors and doesn’t realize that the castle has been used to inflict great cruelty on her forebearers.

Mona is accosted by an African drummer who insists that Mona return to her past. When she retreats into the castle with the other tourists, she finds that she is trapped inside and finds herself in the body of one of her ancestors, Shona, who has been captured and is being transferred to a slave ship. Mona/Shona pleads with the white slave-drivers that she is an American, but they ignore her, strip her, and brand her.

Shona is taken to the American South, where she works as a house slave on a sugar plantation. She suffers dehumanizing punishments and rapes, and she learns from fellow slaves on the plantation to resist the white slave-owners at every turn. The slaves revolt and wait for their legendary flight back to Africa, which their African tradition has told them to expect.

Mona finds herself on the beach back in Ghana, but now she is a changed person. She has become aware of how her ancestors were captured and enslaved in Africa and sent to the New World to labor in plantations under horrific, inhumane conditions. She walks past the white photographer, who is now conflated with the white plantation owners as someone who wants to use her body for his own profit.

So no, Mona the model was never a house slave, but her ancestor Shona was a house slave, and Mona experiences Shona’s life through being trapped in Shona’s body and time period. Mona had to return to the past to re-experience the violence and heartbreak of the African holocaust, and how her ancestors were ripped from their villages and brought to the New World to suffer endless depredations, humiliations, and torture as slaves to white plantation owners. She can’t be completely whole without first becoming aware of her origins on the African continent and honoring her ancestors’ suffering.

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