Queen Mother Nana Yaa Asantewaa
She is not a household name but a powerful figure in history non the lest. As queen mother of Ejisu in the Ashanti Empire (now modern day Ghana), Asantewaa would lead the charge against the British Empire (even against other chiefs, mostly male, who wanted to surrender to the British) in a fierce battle, which lasted for several months. Only after the British called in reinforcements, to the tune of 1,400 additional men, were Queen Asantewaa, and the other warrior chiefs, captured and pushed into exile.
In spite of her shortened victory, Queen Asantewaa would be the last woman to lead an army in major war in Africa. She would also be remembered for (allegedly) giving this speech to the menfolk, challenging their manhoods and rousing them into action:
“Now I have seen that some of you fear to go forward to fight for our King.
If it were in the brave days of Osei Tutu, Okomfo Anokye, and Opolu Ware, leaders would not sit down to see their King taken away without firing a shot.
No white man could have dared to speak to a leader of the Ashanti in the way the Governor spoke to you this morning.
Is it true that the bravery of the Ashanti is no more? I cannot believe it. It cannot be!
I must say this, if you the men of Ashanti will not go forward, then we will. We the women will. I shall call upon my fellow women. We will fight the white men. We will fight till the last of us falls in the battlefields.”
Who should play her: Uzo Aduba (Crazy Eyes on “Orange is the New Black”) would provide the gumption needed to play a woman able to command the respect of a room full of testosterone filled men.
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