Women have been an integral part of defending the honor and civilization of Africa even though most people would view them as weaker vessels. They are in no way weaker, in fact, they would be viewed as subtler and without fear. From Queen Sheba from biblical times to the infamous Nana Yaa Asentawa, they have proven to men that what a man can do, a woman can do better.
In this article, we look at 5 women who have been instrumental in defending Africa’s honor and civilization
Nana Yaa Asentawa
Asentawa was the Queen Mother of the Edweso tribe among the Ashanti people of modern Ghana. She was a very brave fighter who gathered her own army in March 1900 to go up against the British colonial forces based in Ghana. The British were poised to take the sacred Ashanti Golden Stool but while others had given up the fight Asentawa stood her ground.
It took loads of British reinforcements to conquer the Queen Mother and take her along with 15 of her close advisers on exile to Seychelles. The war is still remembered till date in Ghana as the “War of the Golden Stool” and it was one of the last few to be led by a woman. A museum was dedicated to Nana Yaa Asentawa on August 3, 2000. The museum is located in the Ejisu-Juaben District of Ghana.
Amanirenas of Kush
The Kingdom of Kush is the present day Sudan and Amanirenas was the Queen between 40 B.C. to 10 B.C. She is famous for leading the Kush army against the Roman army in a war that was fought for 5 years. the Roman ruler at the time, Caesar Augustus had already conquered Egypt and made it his colony and was looking to take over Kush as well.
She went up against the Roman colony of Egypt and took two major cities, Philae and Syene. She led the line along with her son taking many captives and defacing so many statues of the Roman Ruler. After both armies had fought for a while they signed a treaty which gave the Kushites back their land and saw taxes to the Roman government canceled.
Candace of Ethiopia
The widely accepted view of Empress Candace of Ethiopia is one portrayed by Chancellor Williams. According to his account, the Empress gathered her armies when she heard that Alexander the Great was on his way to conquer her land. She awaited him with her army at the first cataract standing her throne which rested on two African elephants. As Alexander approached he knew he didn’t want to lose his winning streak not to talk of losing it to a woman. This made him halt his armies at the first cataract and return to Egypt.
Another view of the Great Empress is that she had a private meeting with Alexander the Great and warned him to leave peacefully else risk his head being cut off and rolled down a hill if he lost. It is left to the imagination which of the stories really happened. Empress Candace was one of the most revered war tacticians to ever walk the earth.
Queen Ranavalona of Madagascar
Queen Ranavalona the First of Madagascar ruled over the Indian Ocean island between 1788 and 1861 and goes down in history as one of the few African leaders who challenged colonial rule. She was regarded by her people as favored by the gods and she definitely showed it when she outlawed Christianity. Firstly, the teaching of Christianity was banned in schools then missionaries had to leave the area or go into hiding.
She reigned for 33 years, a period which she ensured that she maintained the political and economic structure of her people. She was viewed by the Europeans as a tyrant while her people saw her as a very patriotic leader. Not much is known about her history as it was written by the Christian missionaries.
Queen Makeda of Sheba
She is famous for being the Queen to have stolen the heart of one of the most powerful kings in biblical history. At the time of her reign, Ethiopia was the second wealthiest country in the world, only behind Egypt. Her wealth is evident in the account of her journey to Israel as it is recorded in the Bible that she visited King Solomon with numerous gifts.
Makeda had a son with King Solomon named Ebna la-Hakim which is translated “son of the wise.” He became the premier Imperial ruler of Ethiopia as well as the first in a line of the Aksumite kings. Makeda and her son are recorded by history to have brought with them the biblical Ark of Covenant to their home country. Queen Makeda is symbolic to the rise of Orthodox Christianity in Ethiopia due to her role in the Old Testament.