SANKOFA is an interactive precolonial black history media workshop that primarily involves local children in Crown Heights, Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brownsville and East New York. The workshop provides participants with a general knowledge of African civilizations prior to slavery and colonialism, with a focus on developing media production skills such as photography and videography. The project is directed by Priscilla and Preston, the two founding members of the Tehuti Ma’at Association.
While living in Africa for a year in 2013, we gained the knowledge of the great empires and kingdoms that flourished in Africa before colonialism. Inspired by the “Pedagogical Use of the General History of Africa UNESCO project” in combination with the transformational effect this knowledge had on our individual lives, we developed this workshop to share this knowledge along with our skills in media marketing, photography and the visual arts.
The workshop is geared toward encouraging the children to connect the ancient past with their present reality. They begin discussing and examining negative narratives in media historically and in present pop culture. This portion of the workshop is to show the importance of producing their own media and telling their stories.
Participants leave able to connect the events from the past to our present, and having an understanding of the significance of the past as it pertains to our future. They analyze the values in past African civilizations and how they relate to the values we deem important in the modern Western world and create visual representations of their analysis.
The production of media is ongoing throughout the entire workshop as a method of breaking their subconscious inclination to consume information as opposed to producing. The children learn interviewing techniques and digital storytelling basics to share the history they are learning. They document this via poetry, rap, visual art, interviews and any other expressions they choose. The content will be shared via the Facebook page for the participants in each of the communities to interact with one another.
There are lessons in photography and videography, teaching them aspects ranging from composition to DSLR basics. They will see how to create a YouTube Channel as we create one for that group/community center. They will be provided with an information sheet in their activity packet at the end which will recap what they have learned.