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Sankofa (film)

The DVD cover
Directed by Haile Gerima
Written by Haile Gerima
Starring Kofi Ghanaba
Oyafunmike Ogunlano
Alexandra Duah
Release dates
Running time
124 minutes
Country Burkina Faso / Germany / Ghana / U.S.A. / U.K.
Language English

Sankofa is a 1993 Burkinabé drama film directed by Haile Gerima centered on the Atlantic slave trade.


The story follows Mona, a contemporary American model on a film shoot in Ghana. She has a session at Cape Coast Castle, which she does not know was historically used for the Atlantic slave trade.[1] There she encounters a mysterious old man, Sankofa, played by Kofi Ghanaba, the renowned Ghanaian musician.

Mona is transported to the past where, as a house servant named Shola on a plantation in the South of the United States, she suffers abuse by her slave masters. Nunu, an African-born field hand, and Shango, a West Indian lover of Shola, resist and rebel against the slave system. (Shango is named after a Yoruba god.) Nunu comes into conflict with her own mixed-race son; fathered by a white man, he has been made a head slave. Inspired by Nunu and Shango's determination to defy the system, Shola joins them in fighting back against her masters.

After her trials, Shola returns to the present as Mona, deeply aware of her African roots.[1]



The film was nominated for the Golden Bear at the 43rd Berlin International Film Festival.[2]

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