Women in Africa
In this article, we will cover some of the amazing African women in history such as Queen Nzinga and Yaa Asantewaa who don’t get nearly enough attention. We will also delve into the daily lives of females, their roles in society, and their importance to many African people today. Hopefully, this article will provide you with a new perspective on these important figures.
The cursory glance into the existing literature on women in Africa in the past will almost always point to the reality of a subservient personality a woman is supposed to possess. The mindsets of women are programmed to accept these unequal circumstances right from birth. It was only in the late 90s that we saw a public sensitization to send a girl child to school. There were quotes like “If you educate a man, you educate one person but if you educate a woman, you educate a whole nation”.
There are a number of women who were able to stand out of the status quo and make a huge difference.
It is interesting to note that the fight for women’s emancipation and women’s rights started a long time ago. Yaa Asantewaa, the queen of Ejisu in Ghana was into that fight. These were some of the things she did. She was a politician, a human rights activist, and an intellectual according to the website http://nanayaaasantewaa.de/. A story is told of an event where the British colony asked for the Golden Stool (a symbol of Ashanti Kingdom), to further establish the British authority over them. The male local authority could not outrightly say no. This cowardice exhibited by the men disgusted Yaa Asantewaa so much that she organized the women to fight to defend the golden stool. She led the famous war of the Golden stool in 1900 that will forever be spoken about in the history books of Ghana.
This act of bravery is not to downplay the stereotypical lenses through which women were seen. One of the reasons for Yaa Asantewaa’s success may be the fact that she was in a position of privilege as a queen mother. One can only imagine how hard it will be for a regular woman in the African community to rise up to cause a change.
Queen Ana Nzinga is known to be one of the greatest rulers in Africa, having held off the Portuguese invasions for 30 good years.
I believe the acts of these women suggested the idea of pushing for equality in gender in the African context.
Coquery-Vidrovitch, C. (n.d.). African women: A modern history. NovaCat. Retrieved July 7, 2021, from https://novacat.nova.edu/search%7ES13?/i9780813323602
NYA Awards. (n.d.). Nana Yaa Asantewaa. Retrieved July 7, 2021, from http://nanayaaasantewaa.de/who-is-nana-yaa-asantewaa/
Seigel, R. (2021, January 29). Powerful Facts About Nzinga, Africa’s Fierce Warrior Queen. Factinate. https://www.factinate.com/people/facts-queen-nzinga/