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  • Foto van schrijverPieter Derycke

About the Sankofa bird logo

I think it is fitting to let someone talk about the logo of the blog. Saki Mafundikwa has a TED talk about African signs and alfabets. His favourite African symbol is the Sankofa symbol. It is also my favourite. You have two versions of the same symbol. The bird one and the more stylized more or less heart shaped one.

They both mean the same: “go back and take” in Akan, a language of Ghana. The bird is flying forward but looking backward. It is associated with the proverb “Se wo were fi na wosankofa a yenkyi,” which translates “It is not wrong to go back for that which you have forgotten.”

It symbolizes one taking from the past what is good and bringing it into the present in order to make positive progress through the benevolent use of knowledge. It is a very fitting metaphor for one of the major themes in evolutionary medicine: a mismatch between our biology and our lifestyle, and the lessons we can learn from our ancestral lifestyle.

In a broader sense, it could also serve as a metaphor for evolution by natural selection. Because evolutionary medicine tells us more about human health than the mismatch principle.

“Have you ever lost anything? A key, a book, a tool, a letter?”


“Can you remember how you went about trying to find it?”

“I tried to remember where I was when I had it last.”

“Of course. If you know where you lost something, then you know where to look for it, don’t you?”


“This is what I want to show you now: where and when you lost the secret that is known to every other species on this planet.”

(from “My Ishmael” by Daniel Quinn)

Learn from the past for building the future.



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