Sankofa Critical Review
Sankofa is a movie about, above all else, the unification and spiritual oneness of all African peoples no matter where they are in the world and no matter what oppression they face. To develop this theme, the movie takes us through the lives of several Africans that were taken from their homes and enslaved. It stars a young woman, Mona, who knows very little of her identity as an African at first, but is transformed into a slave named Shola who works on a plantation where she gains first hand knowledge of the struggles of her people. She meets slaves who are African born and who fight to rebel in order to resist the temptation to assimilate and forget their true, singular identity as Africans. In the beginning, the main character Mona was seemingly apathetic and ignorant toward her heritage. She was disrespectfully taking obscene pictures in a fortress that had been a part of the slave trafficking out of Africa during the Atlantic slave trade. After wandering into the fortress’ dungeon, she is transformed into an American born slave on a plantation in the southern United States. The movie takes us through her trials as a slave as well as developing the hardships and oppression suffered by several African born slaves on the same plantation. The movie illustrates the many individual niches of the slaves who interact to create a troubled community that supports each other through cooperation, but which also is being torn apart. While there are a couple of slaves that are close to the masters called “head slaves”, most perform roles as midwives or are the leaders of rebellions against the masters. One mixed race slave is even a devout member of the Christian church under the exclusive control of a white minister who encourages the slave to try and instill the Christian faith in his peers. One goal achieved by the movie in showing the slaves in their specific roles in the community is to demonstrate the struggle to stay united...
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