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5 African Women Who Deserve Global Celebration For Fighting Oppression Way Before The 1900s

We frequently commend prominent figures, for example, Michelle Obama, Oprah, Kamala Harris and Angela Rye and that is all great and well. In any case, we now and then overlook how the solid and apparently daring ladies in time long past occasions made ready for the previously mentioned to sparkle.

The women mentioned above deserve all of the accolades that they receive because of the hard work they’ve accomplished to get to where they are now.

Let us also take the time to celebrate the unsung heroes who fought tirelessly and in some cases, lost their lives to effect equality and strive towards ending slavery, segregation, racism and quelling the additional effects of enslavement.

Learn about 5 enslaved women who could’ve become trailblazers:

Sanité Bélair

Sanité ‘the tigress’ Bélair was a revolutionary and freedom fighter. She was born Suzanne Bélair in 1781 in Verrettes now known as L’Artibonite.

She was one of the few female soldiers who fought during the Haitian Revolution; initially as a Sergeant then later earning the rank of lieutenant.

Bélair along with her husband Charles spearheaded the uprising of the enslaved population of L’Artibonite against their masters.

In 1802, Sanité and Charles were executed by firing squad.

Despite their grim demise, the Bélairs are hailed as pivotal figures in the Haitian Revolution.

Queen Nanny

Queen Nanny, born in Ghana in western Africa, to the Ashanti tribe. She was brought to Jamaica as a slave and ended up being a Maroon leader in Jamaica during the late 17th and early 18th centuries.

By 1720, Nanny had become the leader of this Maroon settlement, where she trained her Maroon warriors in the art of guerilla warfare due to incessant tension between her people and the British.

During a period of 30 years, she contributed towards the escape of more than 1,000 slaves and helped them resettle in the Maroon community.

In a battle that occurred in 1733, Nanny was killed.

Currently being the only female among Jamaica’s seven national heroes, Nanny is hailed by many for her active role in fighting slavery and protecting the black community.

Yaa Asantewaa

Yaa Asantewaa was the Queen mother of Ejisu in the Ashanti Empire during the 1900s. She was born on October 17, 1840.

In 1900, Yaa spearheaded the Ashanti War against British colonialist dubbed the War of the Golden Stool.

Yaa also used her oratory skills to inspire village chiefs to fight back against colonialists.

In 1902, Yaa along with King Prempeh and additional Ghanaian chiefs were exiled to Seychelles.

Queen Nzinga

Queen Nzinga of Ndongo, otherwise known as Njinga Mbande or Ana de Sousa Nzinga Mbande was born in 1583, during the time the Atlantic Slave trade was booming and the Portuguese were gradually establishing control over Angola.

Most of the local chiefs assisted the Portuguese either in slave raiding or taking possession of lands and in return, receiving items such as mirrors, guns, even wines and other material items.

Nevertheless, the queen did not. Instead, she became a military strategist and a warrior. She defeated the Portuguese at Ngoleme and later at the Battle of Kombi.

Afterwards, the queen and the Portuguese signed a peace treaty.

She proclaimed her territory a free country where all lived equally and she became renowned for her bravery and heroism in fighting slave trade. The queen also resettled former slaves and protected her people from oppression.

Until her death in 1663, she showed compassion to her people and is forever lauded for her exceptional leadership qualities.

Nehanda Nyakasikana

Nehanda Charwe Nyakasikana was a svikiro, or spirit medium of the Zezuru Shona people in Zimbabwe.

Nyakasikana was a pivotal member in convincing her people to lead an uprising against the British South Africa Company’s colonization of Mashonaland and Matebeleland.

More specifically the June 1896 the First Chimurenga or Second Matabele War.

In 1897, Nyakasikana was captured and charged with murder.  She was charged with ordering the beheading of Native Commissioner Pollard.

Subsequently, she was hanged.

Nyakasikana later became a representation of the nationalist struggle for liberation in the 1960s and 1970s.  Her name is now prefixed by the heading of Mbuya, or grandmother.


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