African woman holding a wooden instrument with a bowl of fruits in the foreground

Walking With My Ancestors: Cape Coast Castle by Ama Oforiwaa Aduonum

Walking with My Ancestors: Cape Coast Castle (2019), the award-winning and nationally recognized performance piece, is about a mother’s search for guidance from the spirits of her ancestors in the dungeons for enslaved Africans. The story takes the audience through a ritual journey that includes dance, music, and drama and leads to revelation, reconciliation, and rebirth. Walking with My Ancestors offers fresh perspectives on the experiences of the “forgotten” enslaved Africans and demonstrates how today’s racial and cultural problems connect with truths of our shared and painful pasts. The work is timely. It provides platforms for deepened conversations about identities, diversity and inclusion, immigration and migration, border crossings, citizenship, parenting, homeland, diaspora, and the “ghosts of slavery.” Ultimately, Walking with My Ancestors is a human story about triumph over adversity, hope, resilience, emotional justice, and survival.

About The Artist

Ama Oforiwaa Aduonum, award-winning and nationally recognized playwright and performer, is a professor of music at Illinois State University (ISU), where she teaches classes in ethnomusicology and Black music and directs the African Drumming and Dance Ensemble.

She is also a Queen Mother in Ghana, responsible for engaging the youth, especially young women, towards their progress and success. She graduated from Fisk University with a Bachelor of Music in Vocal Performance and from Florida State University with Master and Doctoral degrees in ethnomusicology.

Illinois Arts Council greyscale logo of a textile overlaid by a winged figure silhouette

This program is partially supported by a grant from the Illinois Arts Council Agency.


For further information on this event, contact the Museum Information Desk at or (217) 333-2360

All participants are welcome. To request disability-related accommodations for this event, please contact Brian Cudiamat at or (217) 244-5586.