Kalakuta Republic was the name musician & political activist Fela Anikulapo Kuti gave to the communal compound that housed his family, band members, & recording studio. The word "Kalakuta" was a caricature of a prison cell named Calcutta that Fela Kuti inhabited. The compound was burned to the ground on 1977 after an assault by a thousand armed soldiers...

Walden Bello, reporting for Foreign Policy in Focus, observes that Africa was self-sufficient in food production after declaring independence from its colonial rulers in the 1960s. Yet today, hunger and famine in Africa have “become recurrent phenomena” across the continent.

According to BBC analyst Martin Plaut, Africa was also a food net exporter between 1966 and 1970, with an average of 1.3 million tons of food exported each year. In stark contrast, almost all of today’s African countries are dependent on imports and food aid, a dramatic shift that took less than 40 years to transpire.

Which begs the question: how did an entire continent go from being a net food exporter to a net food importer, from food abundance to mass starvation, in such a short period of time?

In her book The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, Naomi Klein details how global power players use times of crisis and chaos as a pretext for imposing destructive free-market policies that advance the interests of the wealthy. As far back as the 1970s, economists inspired by free-market guru Milton Friedman were inspiring U.S.-backed coups and military juntas to push an unpopular radical free-market agenda onto the unwilling populations of countries like Chile, Brazil and Argentina.

But Klein highlights a significant shift in strategy that took place in the mid-1980s, when economists recognized that a financial crisis “simulates the effects of a military war—spreading fear and confusion, creating refugees and causing large loss of life” — the same shock-inducing conditions that left societies ripe for disaster capitalism.

Throughout the ’60s and ’70s, Western financial institutions went on a lending spree at extremely low interest rates, mostly to developing countries that were encouraged to borrow. By the late ’70s and early ’80s, U.S. interest rates soared to levels as high as 21 percent, devastating the fragile economies of developing nations that had taken on massive debt.

Klein compares the impact of this “debt shock” to “a giant Taser gun fired from Washington, sending the developing world into convulsions.” African countries could barely afford the sky-high interest payments, let alone the actual debt and were thrown into a downward spiral of financial crises. This is where the story of Africa’s famine truly begins.

‘The Dictatorship of Debt’

The erosion of African agriculture is due in large part to policies imposed on debt-ridden African countries by the World Bank and the IMF—financial institutions set up in the aftermath of World War II with the stated aim of deterring financial crises like the ones that pushed Weimer Germany toward fascism.

The donor nations of the IMF and World Bank divvy up power within each institution based on the size of a country’s economy, allowing a handful of privileged nations, led by the U.S., to dominate decision making. As a result, Klein explains that the pro-corporatist administrations of Reagan and Thatcher in the ’70s and ’80s were “able to harness the two institutions for their own ends, rapidly increasing their power and turning them into primary vehicles for the advancement of the corporatist crusade.”

Driven by the ideology of the so-called free market, the IMF and World Bank attached conditions to desperately needed debt relief that required developing nations to implement Structural Adjustment Programs (SAPs), what Naomi Klein calls “the dictatorship of debt.”

SAPs forced governments to impose a neoliberal package of austerity, privatization and massive deregulation. For Africa, this meant cutting government subsidies to small farmers, eliminating tariffs and price controls, selling off food and grain reserves (which kept countries from starving in cases of drought or crop failure), increasing cash crop exports of raw materials to the west, and allowing foreign imports from the US and Europe to flood their markets.

Although the IMF and World Bank argued that restructuring was necessary to reduce Africa’s debt and foster economic growth, their policies produced the opposite effects: soaring debt and economic stagnation.

In a 2004 study commissioned by the Halifax Initiative, writer Asad Ismi meticulously documents the consequences of SAPs on the African continent. Between 1980 and 1993, he found a total of 566 structural adjustment programs were forced onto 70 developing countries, including 36 of Africa’s 47 Sub-Saharan nations. Since the implementation of SAPs in the 1980s, Africa’s debt soared more than 500 percent, with an estimated $229 billion worth of debt payments transferred from Sub-Saharan Africa to the west, four times the original debt owed. According to the IMF’s World Economic Outlook Database, African debt still stands at $324.7 billion, with the overwhelming majority, $278.5 billion, owed by Sub-Saharan Africa, demonstrating that SAPs have pushed Africa into perpetual debt, with no end in sight.

What does this have to do with famine? Well, perpetual debt forces governments to divert spending to debt repayment, rather than investing in basic infrastructure like healthcare and education, which is relatively non-existent in Sub-Saharan Africa. With only 10 percent of the world’s population, the Sub-Saharan region comprises 68 percent of all people living with HIV. Yet, according to Ismi, “Africa spends four times more on debt interest payments than on health care.”

The same holds true for the agricultural sector. SAPs initiated the collapse of African food security, diverting land, water and labor away from small-scale farming toward the production of cash crops, whose earnings were used to pay off debt.

Ironically, as they demanded that African states eliminate subsidies for small-scale farmers, the United States and Europe continued to provide their agricultural sectors with billions of dollars in subsidies, forcing peasant farmers to compete with an influx of cheap, subsidized commercial staples from the west—clearly a losing battle.

In 2004, Project Censored described this U.S. practice as “underselling starving nations,” a process that ensures U.S. commodities cost less than their small-scale counterparts, essentially pricing local farmers out of the market. Walden Bello points out that the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Agreement on Agriculture cemented these lopsided policies, making developing countries the permanent dumping grounds for cheap surplus production from the global north. Thus, between 1995 and 2004, agriculture subsidies in developed countries went from $367 billion to $388 per year.

The few subsidies the IMF did permit were strictly reserved for African commercial agriculture goods for export to Europe and America. For Kenya, where a quarter of the population lives on less than a dollar a day, this meant ditching government support for subsistence farmers and diverting resources to the production of raw exports (cash crops) for the west, like tea, coffee, tobacco and cut flowers. Earnings from exports were then used to service the country’s massive debt.

Posted at 8:30pm.

Growth is necessary for the people of the African continent to rise from the suffocating shadows of poverty, however that growth does not have to include designs on superpower status. So many conflicts have, and continue to ravage our nations. Wars have continued for decades grinding progress, and hope, to a standstill. Death is jealous master; education, healthcare, innovation, art all stand outside in the cold, as death takes center stage. Though many brave African souls push forward, denying violence purchase, condemning the claims warfare has placed on their lands, the crusade for dominance on the African continent continues to plow through families, villages, towns, and countries leaving carnage in its wake. So, if decades of conflict have not brought us into the sun, then perhaps a different way, a new approach is needed. Maybe, if we shift our focus from Nigeria or South Africa’s rapid growth to the growth of our weak, our poor, and our undervalued—if we govern from the *original position—perhaps then we will have true power.

galeriehamid:

image

During the height of the African slave trade in the 18th and 19th century, very few pieces of African art were collected by Europeans. It is not surprising when one group of people decides to dehumanize and exploit another group of people, collecting the art of the exploited people becomes a low priority on the list. One surprising reason why some African art was collected during this time period was by missionaries who wanted to frighten their parishioners with the “heathen art’.

This may seem a bit outlandish now that we have images from all over the world available at the click of the button thanks to the internet, but try to put yourself in the shoes of an Anglo-European in the 18th century. More than likely they would have had very little, or even more likely no exposure to outside cultures. Many people are quite naturally afraid of what is different, so it is no surprise that the church decided to use this fear to their advantage.

As one specific example, Governor H. Glover took a piece of art he labeled ‘taken from a heathen temple in a small town which was destroyed’ by the governor himself. This art was displayed for missionaries and church attendees. Whether Glover was manipulative or actually thought the Africans he encountered to be heathen is not something we can know, but his actions are of course deplorable none the less. Read More

 

Posted at 8:30pm and tagged with: african history, african art, africans, black history, colonisation, history,.

curatedafrica:

imageimageimage

Cabo Verde (formally Cape Verde) was originally uninhabited when the Portuguese came and colonized the volcanic archipelago in the 15th century. (Please note: uninhibited doesn’t not imply undiscovered or unused) Ribeira Grande (on the Santiago island) became the first European settlement in tropical Africa.  By the 16th century Cabo Verde was a major center of the Transatlantic Slave Trade.  Cabo Verde also had its fair share of pirate attacks. 

image 

The pillary in the Cidad Velha (formerly Ribeira Grande and Portuguese for “Old City” a UNESCO World Heritage Site) where slaves were chained and tortured.

After the decline and eventual end of the slave trade in the 19th century the islands of Cabo Verde served as a stop for resupplying ships and was also commercial ports.

Movements for independence from the Portuguese began in the 1960s by Cape Verdeans and Portuguese Guineans soon armed rebellion demanded independence and grew into a war in Portuguese Guinea. Fourteen years later independence was declared although politics and relations were tense.  True independence from Portugal was not completely gained until July 5, 1975.

(Sources: Pictures | Cidad Velha | Misc Facts )

Posted at 8:30pm and tagged with: african history, history, blog, african blog, cabo verde, colonialism, colonisation, independence day, cape verde, africa, black history,.

There is no African, myself included, who does not appreciate the help of the wider world, but we do question whether aid is genuine or given in the spirit of affirming one’s cultural superiority. My mood is dampened every time I attend a benefit whose host runs through a litany of African disasters before presenting a (usually) wealthy, white person, who often proceeds to list the things he or she has done for the poor, starving Africans. Every time a well-meaning college student speaks of villagers dancing because they were so grateful for her help, I cringe. Every time a Hollywood director shoots a film about Africa that features a Western protagonist, I shake my head — because Africans, real people though we may be, are used as props in the West’s fantasy of itself. And not only do such depictions tend to ignore the West’s prominent role in creating many of the unfortunate situations on the continent, they also ignore the incredible work Africans have done and continue to do to fix those problems.

-Uzodinma Iweala, “Stop Trying to ‘Save’ Africa”

(Source: carried-away)

Posted at 8:30pm and tagged with: africa, dead aid, donor, african people, history, african history,.

“As members of a ruling aristocracy, the Americo-Liberians, as they called themselves, were immensely proud of their American heritage. They developed a lifestyle reminiscent of the antebellum South, complete with top hats and morning coats and masonic lodges. They built houses with pillared porches. gabled roofs and cromer windows resembling the nineteenth-century architectural styles of Georgia, Maryland and the Carolinas. They chose as a national flag a replica of the American Stars and Stripes, with a single star, and used the American dollar as legal tender.

Just like the white settlers in Africa, the Americo-Liberians constructed a colonial system subjugating the indigenous population to rigid control & concentrating wealth and privilege in their own hands. Despite their origins as descendants of slaves of the Deep South, the regarded black Liberians as an inferior race, fit only for exploitation. The nadir of Americo-Liberian rule came in 1931 when an international commission found the senior government officials guilty of involvement in organised slavery. 

When other West African states shed colonial rule in the 1960’s the Liberian system stayed pretty much the same. Liberian law stipulated that only property owners were entitled to vote, so the vast majority of indigenous Africans were effectively left without one.  Small numbers were assimilated into the ranks of ruling elite: ‘country boys’ adopted by costal families; girls selected as wives or concubines; ambitious ‘hinterlanders’ climbing the ladder. During the 1970s a few were co-opted into government. Local administration in the ‘hinterlands’ was largely run by indigenous officials. But essentially Liberia remained an oligarchy where 1 percent of the population controlled the rest - some 2 million people.”

“Economic development in the 1960s and 1970s helped underpin the system, as well as provide new opportunities for the elite’s self enrichment. The mainstay of the economy had initially been rubber. In 1926 the Firestone Tyre an Rubber Company leased a million acres for ninety-nine years at six cents an acre to the American demand for car tyres. But iron ore exports from massive, high grade deposits in Bomi hills then overtook rubber as the major course of foreign investment and government income. By 1970 Firestone and the Liberian Iron Mining Company were providing the government with 50 percent of greatly increased revenue.  A third source of income came form registration fees from the world’s largest ghost fleet of ships: Liberia possessed only 2 ships of its own, but allowed more than 2,500 vessels plying the seas to fly the Liberia’s flag of convenience without the border of inspection for a suitable fee.

Liberia’s economic advances, however, served only to highlight the growing disparity between the ostentatious lifestyle of the rich elite and the overwhelming majority of impoverished tribal Africans. In 1979 - the same year that William Tolbert (the last of the line of Americo-Liberian presidents) spent an amount equivalent to half the national budget while acting as host to an OAU heads of state conference - demonstrators took to the streets in protest against a  50 percent increase in rice, the staple food of most Liberians. The price increase had been authorised by Tolbert in the hope of encouraging local production. But since one of the chief beneficiaries was the President’s cousin, Daniel Tolbert, who owned the country’s largest rice importing firm, it  was seen as another move to enrich the elite. On Tolbert’s orders armed police and troops opened fire on the demonstrators, killing dozens of them. 

In the following months Tolbert struggled to contain a rising tide of discontent, colliding not just with the poor but with a new generation of educated elite. He allowed the formation of an opposition party, but when opposition politicians called for a general strike, he had them arrested and charged for treason and sedition and banned the party. 

On the night of 12 April 1980 a group of seventeen dissidents soldiers led by a 28-year-old master sergeant named  Samuel Doe, scaled the iron gate of the presidents seven-story Executive Mansion, over powered the guards and found Tolbert in his pyjamas in an upstairs bedroom. They fired three bullets into his head, gouged out his right eye and disembowelled him. His body was dumped in a mass grave along with twenty-seven others who died defending the palace. Ministers and officials were rounded up, taken before military tribunal and sentenced to death. 

Amid much jubilation, watched by a crowd of thousands laughing  and jeering and filmed by camera crews, thirteen high ranking officials were tied to telephone poles on a beach in Monrovia and excited by a squad of drunken soldiers, firing volley after volley at them. A great shout arose from the mob. ‘Freedom! We got our freedom at last!’ The soldiers rushed forward to kick and pummel the corpses.

Thus the old order ended.

Taken From

Martin Merdith’s The Fate of Africa

Posted at 8:30pm and tagged with: liberia, history, Africans, African Americans, African people, Martin Medredith, african, africa history, liberian history, William Tolbert, william tolbert,.

Murtala’s greatest legacy with regard to Nigeria’s International standing was his determination to place the nation in the vanguard of support for majority rule in South Africa. In a region dominated by abhorrent apartheid regime of South Africa, Nigeria’s willingness to provide funds to liberation movements and stand up to Europeans and U.S. interests was decisive. During its first weeks in office, the Murtala government demonstrated its resolve to implement a more radical, independent, and self-confident approach. By virtue of its size, Nigeria since independence had regarded itself as a spokesman and leader front the continent. The decolonisation of Africa was always at the heart of its foreign policy, but the massive increase in oil revenue now offered the means to assert that influence. 

Murtala made Nigeria’s position clear at a summit of the Organisation of African Unity in January 1976:

“Africa has come of age. It is no longer under the orbit of ant extra-continental power. It should no longer take orders from any country, however powerful. The fortunes of Africa are in our hands to make or mar. For too long have we been kicked around; for too long have we been treated like adolescents who cannot discern their interests and act accordingly. For too long has it been presumed the African needs ‘experts’ to tell him who are his friends and who are his enemies. The time has come when we should make it clear that we can decide for ourselves; that we know our own interests and how to protect those interests; that we are capable of resolving African problems without the presumptuous lessons in ideological dangers which, more often then not, have no relevance for us, not for the problem at hand.”

Taken from 

Shehu Musa Yar’Adua: A Life of Service.

General Murtala Ramat Muhammed (November 8, 1938–February 13, 1976) was a military ruler (Head of the Federal Military Government) of Nigeria from 1975 until his assassination in 1976. He is widely recognized as a hero in the country.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Murtala_Mohammed

Posted at 8:30pm and tagged with: Murtala Muhammed, Nigeria, History, Africa, Nigerian History, african history, Politics, African Politics, Political blog,.

nigerianostalgia:

Ethnicity is one of the keys to understanding Nigeria’s pluralistic society. It distinguishes groupings of peoples who for historical reasons have come to be seen as distinctive—by themselves and others—on the basis of locational origins and a series of other cultural markers. Experience in the postindependence period fostered a widespread belief that modern ethnicity affects members’ life chances. In Nigerian colloquial usage, these collectivities were commonly called “tribes.” In the emergent Nigerian national culture, this topic was discussed widely as “tribalism,” a morally reprehensible term whose connotations were similar to American terms, such as “discrimination,” “racism,” or “prejudice.” Nigerian national policies have usually fostered tolerance and appreciation for cultural differences, while trying at the same time to suppress unfair treatment based on ethnic prejudice. This long-term campaign involved widespread support in educated circles to replace the term “tribe” or “tribal” with the more universally applicable concept of ethnicity. Nevertheless, older beliefs died slowly, and ethnic identities were still a vital part of national life in 1990.

The ethnic variety was dazzling and confusing. Estimates of the number of distinct ethnic groupings varied from 250 to as many as 400. The most widely used marker was that of language. In most cases, people who spoke a distinct language having a separate term for the language and/or its speakers saw themselves, or were viewed by others, as ethnically different. Language groupings were numbered in the 1970s at nearly 400, depending upon disagreements over whether or not closely related languages were mutually intelligible. Language groupings sometimes shifted their distinctiveness rather than displaying clear boundaries. Manga and Kanuri speakers in northeastern Nigeria spoke easily to one another. But in the major Kanuri city of Maiduguri, 160 kilometers south of Manga-speaking areas, Manga was considered a separate language. Kanuri and Manga who lived near each other saw themselves as members of the same ethnic group; others farther away did not.

Read More

Posted at 9:19pm and tagged with: ethnicity, nigeria, tribes, igbo, hausa, yoruba, africa, african history, nigerian, nigerian history, african people, culture, language, blog, political blog,.

nok-ind:

Yemaya

Yemaya is one of the Orisha (great goddesses) of Yoruba spirituality and mythology, She is now goddess to many diaspora. In her original homeland, Nigeria she was said to be the daughter of the sea.

She is adorned in seven skirts of blue and white and like the seas and profound lakes she is deep and unknowable. In her path of Okutti she is the queen of witches carrying within her deep and dark secrets. Her number is seven for the seven seas, her colors are blue and white, and she is most often represented by the fish who are her children. Her name, a shortened version of Yeyé Omo Eja means “Mother Whose Children are the Fish” to reflect the fact that her children are uncountable.

Yemayá lives and rules over the seas and lakes. She also rules over maternity in our lives as she is the Mother of All. She is considered the source of all water, the source of all life and was prayed to for fertility and for aid with childbirth.  All life started in the sea, the amneotic fluid inside the mother’s womb is a form of sea where the embryo must transform and evolve through the form of a fish before becoming a human baby. In this way Yemayá displays herself as truly the mother of all.

Yemaya traveled with many of her people on the slave ships, comforting them during their forced migration to the New World.  Through this passage her role expanded to Mother Ocean, she evolved and adapted to support the needs and changes of her children.

She Who Gives Birth to All of Life, Yemaya is aligned with the power of creation flowing through all that is.  In this aspect, she assists with remembering, reclaiming and activating our own innate creative power, realizing our true and natural ability to create and experience magnificence within our life.

This Mother Goddess brings the blessings of new energy, new creativity, new opportunities and new experiences.  Yemaya also lovingly assists and supports the rebirthing process, cleansing and purifying the old energy, releasing that which has served its purpose, allowing for renewal and new beginnings.

Goddess Yemaya reminds us that to exist is to be in a constant state of change, everything is constantly adapting, changing and evolving.  If requested, she will help remove resistance to change, helping us to adapt when necessary, helping us to embrace our natural evolution so that we may realize and experience the true essence of our ever ascending consciousness.

The most predominant expression of Yemaya is that of a gentle and nurturing Divine Mother.  Although strongly protective, in the aspect of Mother Goddess, Yemaya is the essence of infinite, all encompassing love, love that endures the eternal depths of time, spans the breadth of Universal Space and traverses with us through each and every incarnation and through all that transpires in between. Goddess Yemaya is a beloved Divine Mother who will help any and all who call upon her to move beyond perceived limitations and realize the full magnitude and magnificence of their True Potential.        

Legacy

In the African diaspora, Ymoja has remained a popular divinity. She is Imanje or Yemanja in Brazilian Macumba, where she is ocean-goddess of the crescent moon. In Cuba she is Yemaya, appearing in many variants: Yemaya Ataramagwa, the wealthy queen of the sea; stern Yemaya Achabba; violent Yemaya Oqqutte; and the overpowering Yemaya Olokun, who can be seen only in dreams. She is Agwe in Haiti, La Balianne in New Orleans. She is syncretized with La Sirène in haiti. She is syncretized with Our Lady of Regla and Mary, Star of the Sea; in Brazil, she is Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, whose followers wear crystal beads and greet her appearance with shouts of “Odoya.

Posted at 9:00pm and tagged with: africa, african history, african women, yemaya, mythology, yoruba history, nigeria, nigerians,.

nok-ind:

Yemaya
Yemaya is one of the Orisha (great goddesses) of Yoruba spirituality and mythology, She is now goddess to many diaspora. In her original homeland, Nigeria she was said to be the daughter of the sea.
She is adorned in seven skirts of blue and white and like the seas and profound lakes she is deep and unknowable. In her path of Okutti she is the queen of witches carrying within her deep and dark secrets. Her number is seven for the seven seas, her colors are blue and white, and she is most often represented by the fish who are her children. Her name, a shortened version of Yeyé Omo Eja means “Mother Whose Children are the Fish” to reflect the fact that her children are uncountable.
Yemayá lives and rules over the seas and lakes. She also rules over maternity in our lives as she is the Mother of All. She is considered the source of all water, the source of all life and was prayed to for fertility and for aid with childbirth.  All life started in the sea, the amneotic fluid inside the mother’s womb is a form of sea where the embryo must transform and evolve through the form of a fish before becoming a human baby. In this way Yemayá displays herself as truly the mother of all.
Yemaya traveled with many of her people on the slave ships, comforting them during their forced migration to the New World.  Through this passage her role expanded to Mother Ocean, she evolved and adapted to support the needs and changes of her children.
She Who Gives Birth to All of Life, Yemaya is aligned with the power of creation flowing through all that is.  In this aspect, she assists with remembering, reclaiming and activating our own innate creative power, realizing our true and natural ability to create and experience magnificence within our life.
This Mother Goddess brings the blessings of new energy, new creativity, new opportunities and new experiences.  Yemaya also lovingly assists and supports the rebirthing process, cleansing and purifying the old energy, releasing that which has served its purpose, allowing for renewal and new beginnings.
Goddess Yemaya reminds us that to exist is to be in a constant state of change, everything is constantly adapting, changing and evolving.  If requested, she will help remove resistance to change, helping us to adapt when necessary, helping us to embrace our natural evolution so that we may realize and experience the true essence of our ever ascending consciousness.
The most predominant expression of Yemaya is that of a gentle and nurturing Divine Mother.  Although strongly protective, in the aspect of Mother Goddess, Yemaya is the essence of infinite, all encompassing love, love that endures the eternal depths of time, spans the breadth of Universal Space and traverses with us through each and every incarnation and through all that transpires in between. Goddess Yemaya is a beloved Divine Mother who will help any and all who call upon her to move beyond perceived limitations and realize the full magnitude and magnificence of their True Potential.        
Legacy
In the African diaspora, Ymoja has remained a popular divinity. She is Imanje or Yemanja in Brazilian Macumba, where she is ocean-goddess of the crescent moon. In Cuba she is Yemaya, appearing in many variants: Yemaya Ataramagwa, the wealthy queen of the sea; stern Yemaya Achabba; violent Yemaya Oqqutte; and the overpowering Yemaya Olokun, who can be seen only in dreams. She is Agwe in Haiti, La Balianne in New Orleans. She is syncretized with La Sirène in haiti. She is syncretized with Our Lady of Regla and Mary, Star of the Sea; in Brazil, she is Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, whose followers wear crystal beads and greet her appearance with shouts of “Odoya.

the-history-of-fighting:

Dahomey’s Warrior Women

Speaking of West Africa, the Dahomey Warrior Women involves a fascinating history that spans nearly 200 years. It was during this time that the elite squad of female warriors fought and died for the border rights and inter-tribal issues in the ancient kingdom of Dahomey.

These women, who outranked their male counterparts, were given far more privileges, including the ability to  come and go from the palaces as they pleased (unlike the men). They were so revered for their warrior prowess, The Smithsonian explains, that men were taught to keep their distance:

“Recruiting women into the Dahomean army was not especially difficult, despite the requirement to climb thorn hedges and risk life and limb in battle. Most West African women lived lives of forced drudgery. Gezo’s female troops lived in his compound and were kept well supplied with tobacco, alcohol and slaves – as many as 50 to each warrior, according to the noted traveler Sir Richard Burton, who visited Dahomey in the 1860s. And “when amazons walked out of the palace,” notes Alpern, “they were preceded by a slave girl carrying a bell. The sound told every male to get out of their path, retire a certain distance, and look the other way.” To even touch these women meant death.”

Yet as colonialist ambitions grew in the region, the Dahomey female warriors eventually grew sparse. Fierce combat missions to crush the independent kingdom eventually succeeded, and in the 1940s, it is said that the last of the female warriors died.

www.care2.com

Posted at 8:01pm and tagged with: African history, African people, woman, history, black history, black consciousness, dahomean,.

the-history-of-fighting:

Dahomey’s Warrior Women

Speaking of West Africa, the Dahomey Warrior Women involves a fascinating history that spans nearly 200 years. It was during this time that the elite squad of female warriors fought and died for the border rights and inter-tribal issues in the ancient kingdom of Dahomey.
These women, who outranked their male counterparts, were given far more privileges, including the ability to  come and go from the palaces as they pleased (unlike the men). They were so revered for their warrior prowess, The Smithsonian explains, that men were taught to keep their distance:
“Recruiting women into the Dahomean army was not especially difficult, despite the requirement to climb thorn hedges and risk life and limb in battle. Most West African women lived lives of forced drudgery. Gezo’s female troops lived in his compound and were kept well supplied with tobacco, alcohol and slaves – as many as 50 to each warrior, according to the noted traveler Sir Richard Burton, who visited Dahomey in the 1860s. And “when amazons walked out of the palace,” notes Alpern, “they were preceded by a slave girl carrying a bell. The sound told every male to get out of their path, retire a certain distance, and look the other way.” To even touch these women meant death.”
Yet as colonialist ambitions grew in the region, the Dahomey female warriors eventually grew sparse. Fierce combat missions to crush the independent kingdom eventually succeeded, and in the 1940s, it is said that the last of the female warriors died.
www.care2.com