Celebrating 60

Celebrating 60

#ASC | 60 | SANKOFA 


2019 marks our 60th year of being one of the leading centers in the world for the study of Africa, African languages, and support for African Art, Area, and Cultural studies. We move forward rooted in all that we have learned from our engagement with our Los Angeles community; the world abroad and our partner institutions. Through activism, community engagement, and collaboration with top Africanist artists, educators, scientists, researchers, physicians, public health experts, and students we have created a foundation and platform for the continuance of African centered scholarship. We want to thank our community, our family, for supporting us throughout these past six decades.

We look back over the years inspired by what we have learned. We root our 60th year in the Ghanian concept of Sankofa. The word Sankofa is from the Asante Twi language of the Akan people of Western Africa. The word itself means, “to return and get it” (san – “to return”; ko – “to go”; fa – “to fetch, to seek and take”). The Sankofa symbol is associated with the proverb, “Se wo were fi na wosankofa a yenkyi,” which translates to “It is not wrong to go back for that which you have forgotten.” The most prominent of the Asante Adinkra symbols for the concept of Sankofa “depicts a mythical bird flying forward with its head turned backward. The egg in its mouth represents the ‘gems’ or knowledge of the past upon which wisdom is based; it also signifies the generation to come that would benefit from that wisdom.” We honor the wisdom of the Akan people and regard this symbol as a reflection of our quest for wisdom, acquired by reflecting on these past 60 years, in order to help build a stronger future. Find out more about the meaning of Sankofa.


NEXT UP: Come celebrate Africa Day with us on Saturday May 25th at the Fowler Museum!

This year, we not only celebrate the 61st Africa Day, but also the 60th anniversary of our own African Studies Center at UCLA—or ASC, for short. Our Africa Day celebration will not only represent all that is Africa day, it will also reflect on 60 years of the ASC’s own history of intellectual expansion and activism, appreciate our diverse and supportive community, and look forward to decades of innovation to come with longtime friends of the Center and new allies. Come enjoy refreshments, live music and dance performances, a fashion show and make art in the Children’s Village! Admission is free and all are welcome and encouraged to attend.


Africa Day was first celebrated in 1958 by newly independent African countries to commemorate African sovereignty and celebrate the continent’s progress in countering colonial influence. In 1958, only eight African nations were independent of colonial rule. A mere five years later, on May 25, 1963, the Organization of African Unity (later renamed the African Union, and more commonly known as the AU) was formed with over 32 independent African countries in attendance. Today, Africa Day is celebrated internationally every 25th of May, with communities worldwide honoring African independence and celebrating the dynamic and diverse countries within the continent. To learn more check out: https://www.sahistory.org.za/topic/history-africa-day-25-may

Chin chin, puff puff, meat and vegetarian pies, and beef suya provided by Sumptuous African Restaurant.



Published: Tuesday, February 26, 2019