A Look at Women in African History with Africa's Future in Mind
Africa is a great continent with a history of remarkable events, people, and cultures interwoven into the very fabric of its existence. This great continent has had its fair share of everything thinkable (and unthinkable), and yet, she keeps traversing every hurdle in her way and making high jumps into great achievement.
Africa has seen years and civilizations of colonialism, slavery, and mass destruction, yet she stands ever beautifully, against all odds! And yet, African history would never be complete without mentioning women who have fought to bring her to her prime.
Africa's history is blessed with the likes of Gisèle Rabesahala (7 May 1929 – 27 June 2011), who stood in uncommon times as a politician and activist. As the first woman to hold a ministerial post in Madagascar, Gisèle gave women a voice and the ability to make a difference in Africa. She dedicated her life to the emancipation of the oppressed, and that in it gave her people hope and liberty.
The Mulatto Solitude
Another famous personality in Africa's history was the Mulatto Solitude. Born of a rape by a white sailor on an African slave around 1772 in French Guadeloupe, she got the nickname from her pale skin and eyes. The Mulatto Solitude spoke up in the time of slavery, led an uprising, and lost her life in 1802. As a result, she set her people free from the captivity of their minds.
Miriam Makeba (4 March 1932 – 9 November 2008) was a strong African woman popular as "Mama Africa." She was a South African actress, singer, and civil activist that did it all and excellently. Miriam was in her own class of elegance, and her work continues to endear people all over the world to Africa's heritage.
Malian Aoua Keita (12 July 1912 – 7 May 1980) made an indelible mark in her time as a politician in a time when women were to be quiet. Her voice rose above and beyond in fights for human rights and anti-colonialism. Africa still enjoys the benefits of her cry for freedom.
African history will be incomplete without the mention of Yennega, the 12th-century warrior princess of Burkina Faso. Although she had a royal legacy, she left this to chart her own course and become the mother of the Mossi people. She was an embodiment of grace, elegance, and feminine strength, and remains an icon for African women.
Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti (25 October 1900 – 13 April 1978) was a Nigerian woman that sounded bells in the history of Africa. An educator, political campaigner, and women's rights activist, Funmilayo had a reputation for transforming limitations into stepping stones and received countless prizes for her bravery. source: www.bbc.com
The Women Soldiers of Dahomey
Who says women can't defend what they love the most? A look at the Women Soldiers of Dahomey proves the exact opposite. These were brave and ruthless female soldiers that were the first line of defense of the Dahomey Kingdom in the 17th and 18th centuries. They were so brave that the Europeans nicknamed them the "Amazons" for their fearlessness.
Njinga Mbandi made a name for herself in Africa's history as a defender of her people that fought so bravely against colonialism until she died in 1663. Queen Njinga held the two Kingdoms of Ndongo and Matamba with her diplomacy, skill in negotiation, and tactical wisdom, so much so that in a man's world, men bowed to her rulership and grace.
Ethiopia's Taytu Betul is an exceptional focal point within Africa's history. In a male-dominant country, her ability to lead as Empress (1889 – 1913) required more than just looks. She named the capital city of Addis Ababa and made great decisions for her people that saw them through many world civilizations.
African women do not lag in academic prowess. Wangari Maathai (1 April 1940 – 25 September 2011) made this certain beyond doubt. She was not only the first woman in East and Central Africa to receive a Ph.D., but also a political, environmental, and social activist that raised her voice in the face of wrong for light to shine in Kenya and all of Africa. She was also the first African woman to receive a Nobel Prize, receiving the Peace Prize in 2004.
There is a future that is full of promise for Africa. This age and civilization is ready for change, development, and foresight. They may not all know it yet, but every woman has so much potential for excellence and greatness.
Africa's light resides in every woman, young and old, and your voice is good enough to resound in all corners of the earth. You are an overcomer, you are Africa, and you are above all that you've heard about yourself. African women are beautiful, industrious, elegant, unique, and distinctive. Every African woman is exactly what Africa needs right now! Africa can be greater, and you can be the next mark in history.