Sankofa (1993) - full transcript

A self-absorbed Black American fashion model on a photo shoot in Africa is spiritually transported back to a plantation in the West Indies where she experiences first-hand the physical and psychic horrors of chattel slavery, and eventually the redemptive power of community and rebellion as she becomes a member of a freedom-seeking Maroon colony.

Africa listen ooh!

The Almighty created--

The Almighty created the drummer.

What did He create?
The Divine drummer.

What do you want here?

Where do you come from?

Here is sacred ground, covered
with the blood of people who suffered.

It is from here that our people were
snatched and taken by the white man.

Get away from here.
Leave this ground.

And you, you!
Return to your past.

This ground is holy ground.
Blood has been spilled here before.

It was from here that we
were bought and sold

to America, to Trinidad,
to Jamaica.

The white man forcefully snatched
away our people. It was genocide.

They treated us with contempt.

They disgraced us, put us to shame.
Go back. It is special ground.

If you must be here, be aware.
Blood has been spilled here.

It's alright. Go! Move!

Where do you come from?

It's enough, go.

Go back to the past--
to the source.

Get away from here. Go, go, go.
What do you want from here?

Get away from here. Go.

Go back to your past.
You, you'll see.

Leave me alone-- Let go of me!

You're a good woman, Shola.
Eat some of this food, too.

So, you gonna do what I asked you?
I have everything ready you know.

You call that evil? What do you
think be goin' on here day and night?

You don't call that evil?
You not killin' no one.

You don't call that evil?
You not killin' no one.

That's the price you have to pay
for freedom sometimes, you know.

The nearer you get to the white man,
the more you gonna eat what's left

and you're liable for dead.

Don't bother to tell 'em not to eat
cause they'll go tell the white man.

Nathan, they catch Kuta. We
have to do something about it.

Me, I'm minding my own business. I'm
in enough trouble already you know.

One of them days
you going to find out.

Naughty boy.

I'm your mother, I'm your
mother, I gave to you

You are useless, should I have a
walking stick that's longer than me?

You are useless.

Ah, Oh, mother.
Mother with Child.

Warriors, Saviors of nations.
One of us is suffering.

Let's go and see Akyemfo whom
we consult in time of need.

Now is the time to rise up in arms.
A mother is about to take a child.

Cobra! We are not
afraid of the devil.

Cobra, we are not
afraid of the devil.

A day will come when
men will be made women.

Generous mother hold on, people!
Do not let her take the child away!

Warriors, stand
firmly behind me.

Mother cannot take a child away
like this. Oh generous mother.

Oh, Almighty Spirit, I thank you.
Nana Akonadi, Good mother, thank you.

You delivered this child safely unto
me. I name him Kwame, the witness.

Who's baby is this?
My Mother Abenaa's baby.

Put him under the palm tree?
Thorns abound under the palm tree.

Put him under the silk tree?
The silk will fall on my baby.

Take you and go which part?

Which part you want me take
you go? You nah see how me stay.

Shola why you can't
be like one of we? Eh?

Why you can't crawl on
your belly like a snake,

through the trees,
through the grass.

One of dem day the whole
uh we gwine eat frog.

That is the only way
we'll get our freedom.

The whole uh we gwine
have to eat frog.

You know, the snake will eat
whatever is in the frog's belly.

Hug me -- hug me -- hug me.

Well done, well done,
come hug me my child.

Brave men are scarce.

You've done very well.

Good news from the hills.

Since we last met we celebrate
the birth of seventeen children.

Ten girls and seven boys.

We have ten machetes,
eight forks,

seven pick axes.

All we need is seeds.

We come to talk with you,
get you together.

To take you away
to the hills one by one.

We know what you
are suffering down here

cause we serve our
own god in the hills.

You serve you people down
here serve the white man god.

This thing is not to be known

cause we are one people --
we'll take you one by one

until we all get together on
the hills where everybody free.

Warriors rise up.
Let's rise up warriors.

The snake shall have whatever
is in the belly of the frog.

Tonight in the cave.

What you want me to do?

You can't find somebody
else to love?

You have to love a headman?

Shola me I do this
for still you know

cause them headman they
don't even love their mother.

I wan you to give him this.

He's gonna throw up when you give
him but is true he's wicked.

He has so much wickedness in him.

Same time. When you give him this
make sure you give in him the day.

Don't give him at night cause he
gonna go sleep and don't wake up.

Remember what I say, give'im
little, don't give' him at night.

Well I can't understand how a woman
like you will love a man like that.

Look how much man are
about the place.

Remember you know,
give' im little little.

O, Almighty God.
Mother Earth.

The spirits of Asona ancestors.
Come here's your drink.

I thank you for guiding my
brothers and sisters here safely.

You deserve the Obirikisi Birim and
Okrikraku that we sacrificed for you.

That's why we've got them back.
Whatever we aim at, help us achieve.

Only peace, we thank you.

The spirits of Asona, we thank you,
of the Ekouona clan, thank you.

The Spirit of Prempeh, Ani Abena,
come and eat with us.

The spirit of Prempeh, Ani Abena,
come and get your drink.

Don't stop. Don't stop.

Just go one, run Shola.
Don't stop now, go on, run.

We're not goin slave no
more, just go on running.

Speak the truth? No.

First time I used to 'fraid
for dead but no, not now.

Then long after my father go dead
and that is the time I get more

confused, I couldn't really
understand what did really go on.

You know my sister dead, my father
dead, all I could see was them body.

I realize say this was kinda
different things you know.

I had a friend name Jake. I
remember Jake, you woulda love him.

Jake was the first man, first man
who really put me down, tell me

'bout people like me, you live up
in the hills like normal human beings.

Yeah me and him used to sit
down and plan out we escape,

you know, one morning,
I wake up and

I see Jake hang from a tree.

That was the time when I realize
say better if I did dead you know

Yeah, because if I dead, I'd only
go to the people who I love.

I'm fed up. Go ahead -- Die.

Ah, my god, I'm hurting, my womb --
The pain of birth.

My God, oh, my God, Oh
the pain, the pain of it,

my womb, my womb.
It's miserable, it's miserable.

Tumey don't die on me.

My grandfathers of Asono.

My grandmothers of Ekoona. Don't
have anybody but my only fruit.

My backbone, don't die.

Whose baby is this?
My mother Abenaa's baby.

Put him under the palm tree?
Thorns abound under the palm tree.

Put him under the silk tree?
The silk tree will fall on my baby.

Whose child is --

What have I done?
What is the matter?

What have I done?

You call me a witch?

If I wanted to kill you,
wouldn't I have done it?

The spirit of my ancestors, my only
child accusing me of being a witch.

I swear the oath of my ancestors.
You're better dead! You have to die!

Alright. I goin tell Jumma.

Noble Ali said James up on the hill
by himself. Now's the right time.

My child welcome back.
Embrace me.

My child, it's alright, don't
cry. It's alright, all is well.

My child don't cry.