By Natasha Eck
As I contemplate February’s commemoration of the contributions of Black Diasporic peoples, I’m prompted to reflect on how I can honour and embrace this gratitude throughout the entire year. My lineage transcends the confines of a single month, weaving through generations with narratives and insights that resonate profoundly with me today. While I hold reverence for this designated month, my focus is drawn towards a continual exploration of my ancestral roots, particularly now as I’m drawn to uncovering the fragments of my paternal grandmother’s legacy.
Comfort Adoley Addo, a proud member of the Ada-Ga Adangne tribe from Labrador and Ada Foah, graced this world with a vibrant life that spanned 103 years. She holds a special place in my heart as the only grandparent I had the privilege to meet in person. I still vividly remember the moments spent in her presence, filled with awe, I closely observed the gentle contours of her face and the strength exuding from her hands. In return, she seemed equally intrigued by me, studying my features with a sense of recognition, as if glimpsing echoes of herself within me. Conversing with me in Ga, her words conveyed not just literal meaning but also deeper significance, transcending mere speech to connect directly with my spirit. It was a profound exchange, beyond anything I could have imagined.
Fifteen years after my grandmother’s passing, a serendipitous encounter at Makola market in Ghana during a recent visit illuminated the ways in which I am always guided and connected. A woman there, upon learning of my family’s tribe, recognised our shared lineage and bestowed upon me a gift of fabric, wrapping my head as a gesture of kinship. When she called me Sister I felt a profound sense of belonging. Later, to a few days ago I was led to read my grandmother’s funeral program, which revealed that Comfort had spent some of her years trading textiles in Makola market. The alignment of the paths I’m led to follow with ancestral memories struck me deeply.
Established in 1924, Makola Market was the first wholesale and retail spot in Accra, making it a staple of both community and commerce dominated by women traders who sell fresh produce, manufactured products, and imported goods. Storytelling was central to the process of trading fabric. Saleswomen infused their fabrics with stories and traditions, and in doing so, they made visible the intangible: in their hands, traditions and beliefs became powerful symbols of status and identity.
The journey of rediscovering these connections has ignited a profound curiosity within me. I eagerly anticipate where this path will lead and how it will shape my artistic expression moving forward. I remain open to guidance, trusting in the wisdom of my ancestors and the grace of the Creator. May my inner spirit stay receptive, clear, and steadfast. Asè.
What if you could trace the footsteps of ancestral memories, unraveling the threads of your lineage to illuminate your path forward?
Natasha Eck is an Arrivals Alum and SeedPool artist, dancer, Kemetic Yoga practitioner, educator, and advocate for the health and wellness of girls and women.
Learn more on her website: www.kemeticflow.com