Business owner Ellen Manu-Bimpeh has been showcasing exquisite jewelry, apparel, and artwork that reflect the African culture at her store Sankofa African Arts & Jewelry now at a new location, 2433 Telegraph Ave. in Oakland.
Handpainted drawings. Silver and amber jewelry. Kente and Bubuo cloth. Dashikis. African soaps and oils. Evening and everyday handbags.
Sankofa is filled wall-to-wall with African masks, sculptures, and artwork. A colorful array of earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and rings are displayed in jewelry cases, some designed by Bimpeh herself. She also sells printed purses made by her daughter Kike with kente cloth.
Bimpeh opened Sankofa 20 years ago in Albany before moving to Frank Ogawa Plaza in downtown Oakland. Earlier this year, she had to close her store downtown before finding a new location.
Now in Koreantown after searching for months, she says, “I didn’t want to give up because this is something I love to do.”
The word “sankofa” means to return back to the roots, Bimpeh says. Many African cultures are represented at Sankofa – sculptures from Kenya, Ghana, Gambia, Nigeria, and Ivory Coast; paintings by a Rwandan artist; mod cloth from Ghana; and Fulani earrings from Northern Africa.
Bimpeh adds, “I want to represent the African [culture]. Bringing the African community and arts here remind us of our ancestors.”
For more information about Sankofa African Arts, call (510) 444-0149.