Mako icon

How to pronounce Mako

The meaning and philosophical significance of Mako

Mako means “peppers.” It is a symbol of inequality and uneven deveopment.

Mako is a shortened form of the Akan proverb “Mako nyinaa mpatu mmere,” literally “All peppers (presumably on the same branch) do not ripen simultaneously.”

This proverb admonishes the greater ones to help the less fortunate with the implicit understanding that fortunes could reverse so that they would also need someone’s help. As the Akans say, “Mmerɛ dane,” literally, “Time changes” so any advantage one may have now may not persist forever.

“Mako nyinaa mpatu mmere” could also be an exhortation to those behind to strive for advancement and not resign to fate. That someone has attained greatness shows that it is attainable. Yes, some may shoot ahead first but eventually others can catch up—eventually all the peppers will ripen.

Akan proverbs on inequality

1. Nsatea nyinaa nnyɛ pɛ

Anglicisation: Nsatea nyinaa nnye pe Literal meaning: All fingers are not the same.

2. Wosene wo yɔnko a ɔtan wo

Anglicisation: Wosene wo yonko a otan wo Literally meaning: If you are greater than your friend he hates you.

Akan proverbs on pepper (mako)

1. Mako nnyɛ dɛ a ɛnte mma wo yɔnko sɛ ɔnwe

Anglicisation: Mako nnye de a ente mma wo yonko se onwe

2. Mako yɛ ya nanso aboa bi ne ne mma te mu

Anglicisation: Mako ye ya nanso aboa bi ne ne mma te mu

3. Apatuprɛ se odi mako na ɛyɛ ne ya mpo a, ɔde yɛ ne to aduro

Anglicisation: Apatupre se odi mako na eye ne ya mpo a ode ye ne to aduro

4. Apatuprɛ se odii mako nyinaa akyi no, ɛnyɛ ne su nyinaa na ɛyɛ awerɛhoɔ

Anglicisation: Apatupre se odii mako nyinaa akyi no, enye ne su nyinaa na eye awerehoo


The image of the symbol was taken from the Kasahorow Adinkra Library.

Adinkra Chart: Explore West African Symbols