Sankofa Amharic (ሳንኮፋ), is a 1993 Ethiopian-produced drama film directed by Haile Gerima centered on the Atlantic slave trade. The storyline features Oyafunmike Ogunlano, Kofi Ghanaba, Mutabaruka, Alexandra Duah, and Afemo Omilami. The word Sankofa derives its meaning from the Ghanaian Akan language which means to "go back, look for, and gain wisdom, power and hope," according to Dr. Anna Julia Cooper. The word Sankofa stresses the importance of one not drifting too far away from one's past in order to progress in the future. In the film, Sankofa is depicted by a bird and the chants and drumming of a Divine Drummer. Gerima's film showed the importance of not having people of African descent drift far away from their African roots. Gerima used the journey of the character Mona to show how the African perception of identity included recognizing one's roots and "returning to one’s source" (Gerima).


The film starts off with an elderly Divine Drummer, Sankofa (played by Kofi Ghanaba), beating on African drums chanting the phrase "Lingering spirit of the dead, rise up." This is his form of communication with the ancestors of the African land, specifically Ghana. He believes that his drumming is essential in bringing the spirit of his ancestors who were killed in the African diaspora back home. The story then goes on to show Mona (Oyafunmike Ogunlano), a contemporary African-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 because she has been disconnected from her African roots for so long. While Mona is on the beach modeling, she encounters the mysterious old man Sankofa who was playing the drums at the beginning of the film. Sankofa persistently reminds Mona to return to her past and is very belligerent when it comes to keeping the place of his ancestors’ sacred, so he attempts to kick white tourists out of the slave castle. When Mona decides to go take a look inside the castle herself, she gets trapped inside and enters a sort of trance in which she is surrounded by chained slaves who appear to have risen from the dead. Mona attempts to run out of the slave castle and is met by white slave masters who she tries to reason with by claiming that she is of American descent and not of African descent. The slave masters pay no attention to Mona's claim and push her to a fire, strip off her clothing, and put a hot iron on her back.