Katsina is claimed to be the home of heritage and hospitality, so Delicious Naija went to go see what that was all about. A trip to the history-heavy Kusugu Well solidifies Bunmi’s place as a tourist and her ride on the significant horse had her feeling a little like royalty. Then it was food time! The real reason we’re here…
Lucky Bunmi got to share a meal of Tuwo Shinkafa & Miyan Kuka with the famous Northern musician, Sani Danja (Man, you should see that plate of Tuwo – salivating galore!) And then she was off to Hajara Sanni Lawal’s home, a young wife, mother, civil servant, teacher, MAGGI Star and all-round boss! She taught Bunmi how to make millet-based Fura & Nunu and a local cous cous based meal called Brabisco. So, if you’re on that healthy train, this Katsina episode was totally for you!
Hajara Sanni’s husband says he rushes home everyday and hardly eats outside… that’s #goals and we knew the recipe was going to be lit! Definitely going to get the family to eat dinner Daura-style soon. We really enjoyed this episode and you should catch up on Delicious Naija episodes on the Maggi YouTube channel.
The food journeys of Delicious Naija can always be watched at 7:30pm Saturday on Africa Magic (Family), at 5pm Sunday on NTA and at 5:30pm Friday on Arewa24.
Delicious Naija is back with a trip to Ibadan, ‘the city at the edge of the savannah’ – capital of Oyo State. After a visit to Mapo Hall for a good dose of history, Bunmi is off to visit with her good friend Saka. Yes the very same warm and funny Nollywood actor & comedian Saka is Bunmi’s first host. They visit the lush Agodi Park & Garden and then move on to have a meal that is always in the same sentence with Ibadan. You guessed right: Amala!
But the trip isn’t complete without making a meal traditional to Ibadan and so the MAGGI Star of this episode, Grace Obagunwa, teaches us how to make the local Ishapa soup. This mother, wife and teacher tells us the perks of being on good terms with your mother-in-law, one of which is learning traditional recipes like Pounded Yam and Ishapa Soup!
The food journeys of Delicious Naija can always be watched at 7:30pm Saturday on Africa Magic (Family), at 5pm Sunday on NTA and at 5:30pm Friday on Arewa24.
Samba Yonga is a Media Communications specialist running her own firm Ku-atenga Media. A trained journalist, Samba initially worked with one of the daily papers but found the job extremely boring. She then joined a media company that worked in development communications, this opened up more opportunities in development communication role.
Samba also recently co-founded the Museum of Women’s History in Zambia with Cultural Specialist Mulenga Kapwepwe and eight other women in Zambia. The Museum of Women’s History in Zambia aims to highlight women’s role in the history of the country.
SLA contributor Kudakwashe Mulenga sat down with Samba Yonga to find out how she navigated her career to end up running her own businesses.
You took on several roles at a fairly young age, did you face any challenges?
I know the narrative of the ‘struggle of women’ is real —most people ask me how being a woman has impacted my work. I am aware that there are inequalities everywhere and work towards addressing them. In my case, I think I am very fortunate that women are encouraged to take on the work that I do. I have also been very lucky to be surrounded by people that encourage me and recognise my ability.
We also live in an environment that is malleable, meaning you have to work around your situation. You have to create life hacks and develop market-creating skills for your business. On my end, we largely had to develop the market and I think it is the same with a lot of people in the creative/communications sector here in Zambia.
You are co-founder of the Museum of Women’s History in Zambia, tell us about that.
I co-founded the museum with a group of women who want to highlight the importance of women’s narrative in history. In the work I do I network with a lot of people and I took an interest in Zambian history. My work involved research to a great extent. And I would find intriguing stories about the past that I had never learnt in school even at college level.
I then found a lot of things that were not in the mainstream narrative and that I felt should be known by all. As I researched more I found more and more interesting information. I met and listened to experienced cultural actors such as Mulenga Kapwepwe. I followed her work and also collaborated with historians such as Marja Hinfelaar, she was responsible for digitizing the National Archives of Zambia.
Last year, I undertook a research in collaboration with a Swedish organization on these buried narratives. We met with communities who confirmed narratives of women having an active role in Zambia’s history but not being documented.
One of my favourite ones is of the Mukuni Kingdom in which there is actually a dual leadership. Bedyango, as confirmed by Chief Mukuni was the Matriarch of the kingdom. Mukuni was a wandering ruler of the north who was strong and mighty. Bedyango realized that this was a threat to her kingdom and she offered a dual leadership instead.
However, when the colonial authorities arrived they refused to recognize the woman as a leader and that is how Chief Mukuni became the more prominent leader. This information was never documented and many people don’t know about it though the dual leadership is still practiced today. This showed me how we are not using our own information to strengthen our communities. This is the concept for the museum.
The reception has been really good and we didn’t expect it. We just opened our virtual space and so many people have reached out with resources including stories and collections.
A lot of history in Zambia is oral and the establishment of the museum has encouraged people to contribute. Our main goal is to get this information into the curriculum and make it part of mainstream knowledge.
Who in your museum do you think every African should know?
Immediately it is Bedyango the custodian and Matriarch of the Gundu kingdom, which is now Mukuni Village. She is a modern day example of a feminist. Bedyango is an example of someone who was able to stand for justice and used proven methods of leadership that progressed her kingdom. There is no other person who is a great example.
Another notable one is Mumbi of the Shila people and she was responsible for the protection of the now Bemba people. Mumbi played the role of what could now be referred to as a modern-day diplomat.
There are many examples and these show a very different perspective of women. Our history has obscured such figures and has limited the positions and roles that women played. We would like women and girls today to realize their own capabilities to achieve their dreams from the women of the past.
Let us talk about your other baby Ku-atenga media, what does it do?
Ku-atenga is primarily a communications consultancy. I have a background in communications both corporate and development. These unique skills allowed me to have a good understanding of what communication entails and what responses work for Africa. We combine these skills to create communications packages for Africans. Now there is huge interest from outside Zambia and Africa for African content.
We design communication tools and content for different organizations at Ku-atenga. We have done work with varied local and international organizations. And more recently we are getting involved in doing more transformative communications that would effect change. I am now more interested in communicating real impact rather than organizational messaging. The idea is to create or design communication as a direct response to these facts and numbers.
Ku-atenga and the museum are seemingly different in purpose, how do you constantly draw inspiration for both of these projects?
They might seem different but they actually intertwine a lot. For example, the problem of girls not staying in school is a structural problem but it is also largely societal. It can be traced back to the norms of a society.
If we research a bit on a culture we will note that some of these norms didn’t previously exist and there can be ways to unlearn certain things. So this feeds back into the museum’s objectives of understanding new ways of cultural communication. Now you see, the two projects are related.
Do you have any New Year’s resolutions you’d like to share?
In 2017, the main focus is the museum. We would like to have the physical museum later in the year and have a physical space for people to go to. But there are a lot of other fun communications and content production projects in the pipeline too.
By the way, I do not do resolutions simply because I am not a planner in that sense. I just simply get on with it. I act on prompting and that’s how I have always operated.
If you’d like to share your story with She Leads Africa, let us know more about you and your story here.
While digital content has made it easier for people across the globe to access previously underrepresented stories, there is still a significant gap when it comes to online and offline content focused on authentic African stories. After the birth of a new generation of their family tree, Anna, Lucy, Jainaba and YaAdam came together to ensure that more African children knew about their rich history and culture.
Why did you believe that Princess Halima needed to be created and how did you find yourself being the one to make it happen?
We are half Gambian and Tanzanian and wanted to bring Africa to the forefront and educate our readers that Africa is a continent full of rich history, and not the misconceived idea that Africa is a single country. We want our readers to find an escape into Africa’s vast richness and history while following Princess Halima in all her adventures. And most importantly, we want to empower young minds with knowledge that will pique their interest to one-day jump on a plane and make the journey to Tanzania, Ghana, or Nigeria or any other country in Africa!
The Royal Adventures of Princess Halima project was inspired by the birth of the first baby (grandchild) in the family, Halima Bah. Halima is of Guinean, Gambian, Tanzanian descent. With such a rich combination of African culture and history, we thought the best way to educate Halima about her many homelands was to start the series of books through which she will get to not only discover her heritage, but also learn about the African continent as a whole.
Why don’t you believe that books such as Princess Halima have been created before in the market?
You will find that most stories about Africa are told through animal characters. It boils down to controlling our own narratives and images of ourselves in the world. Storytelling is one of the most important traditions humans possess to influence, shape beliefs and behaviors. We could not exist without the values, the wisdom and the courage shared from past generations through the art of storytelling. As such, this campaign is an effort to control the stories and images of our beautiful continent.
What makes Princess Halima different from all of the other educational content out there on the market?
Princess Halima is a brave, curious and courageous African girl that is intrigued by the wonders of the world but specifically her continent of Africa. As a Princess, she luckily gets to travel across the continent visiting cousins, friends and family. During each visit she takes time to explore all that these beautiful countries have to offer from the culture, fashion, languages, parks and historic sites etc. These adventures and experiences shape her worldly view, and those of her readers.
For your business to get to the next level, would you prefer funding or a high value mentor? Which one would you choose and why?
We would prefer both but to be completely honest, at this point we would select funding over a mentor. We have built a machine over the past two to three years that is working for us. Every member of our team handles different aspects to ensure we are reaching our goals and meeting deadlines.
What is the most important thing you’ve learned on your journey that you want to share with young African women entrepreneurs?
The most valuable lesson we have learned is patience. We have also gained an understanding that although we are passionate about this project and believe in its power, it will still take time for others to jump on board. In addition, we have learned that while we have received significant support from our African communities it wasn’t that overwhelming support we anticipated. However, it doesn’t mean that the interest and love isn’t there, it just takes time for others so see your vision and feel your passion for something you so strongly believe in.
What story can you not wait to tell next?
We are excited to tell the story of our homeland, The Gambia also known as the Smiling Coast. The smallest country in mainland Africa is going through some transitional changes right with the results of a recent election which has birthed the movement #GambiaHasDecided. This movement speaks to the ultimate pride, honor and fight Gambians have. Princess Halima’s story will capture its beauty and strength.
Favorite story or nursery rhyme as a child
Favorite story Shaka Zulu, was scared of it but loved it at the same time.
What did you want to be when you grew up
Work in the international development(United Nations) field like our mother.
Any travel tips for when you’re on the go with young ones
Get them a good book like ours, you can’t go wrong with The Royal Adventures of Princess Halima
What author are you most inspired by
Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie from Nigeria
Ebook or hard copy
Hard copy! I love the smell of books and closing the book upon completion gives me a sense of accomplishment.
In our modern quest to being Motherland Moguls, sometimes it’s refreshing to peek back into history for validation. There, we find stories of women who just didn’t take no for an answer. These women also overturned the status-quo and created worlds that they believed they deserved to live in. There are countless women in our continent’s history that were kings of their own castles, literal and metaphoric, despite the odds.
This is the case for these five Ethiopian women who insisted on their individuality at any price and still brought repute and victory to their country and continent.
Yodit Gudit, c. 900
The Commander in Chief.
For the woman who courts controversy and knows that sometimes she needs to be ruthless.
This rebel queen reigned over a sovereign kingdom just outside the sprawling Axumite Empire, which at its height spanned all the way from Ethiopia to present day Yemen.
When her territory was threatened with occupation by the Empire, Yodit initiated an offensive. Her tactics didn’t just expel enemy troops from her lands but chased them all the way back to the seat of their kingdom. She chased ruling elites of the Empire from town to town, until she brought about the complete dissolution of the Axumite Kingdom. Yodit’s rule marked the beginning of a dynasty that introduced a new bloodline, breaking nine centuries of rulers who traced their kinship back to Queen Sheba and King Solomon.
She is notorious in written and spoken accounts of ancient Ethiopian history for her zeal for vengeance. In fact her last name, Gudit, is an epithet that translates to an infernal capacity for destruction. While her legacy is controversial, it is undeniable that she was resourceful in leveraging military might as well as fear tactics to take on a behemoth Empire that was much more endowed in artillery and troops than she was.
Empress Taytu Betul, c. late 1800s
Military strategist and pioneering Motherland Mogul.
Empress Taytu’s goals for the woman who accepts diversity in business development.
When Italy invaded Ethiopia the first time, the empress didn’t sit back while her husband, Emperor Menelik, drove troops to the war front. Instead she led 5,600 infantry and cavalier men into battle and took the stead of military counselor to the generals in command. Leading up to the decisive battle of Adwa, she suggested a decisive strategy to weaken the opposing troops –cutting off water supply to the Italian fort rather than attack it directly.
After a humiliating defeat of the Italians, diplomats looked to the peace treaty to achieve their colonial ambitions through a deceptive technicality that would allow them to have protectorate rights over Ethiopia. Taytu stopped at nothing to revoke the treaty, which she did successfully.
In peacetime, wife and husband capitalized on their separate strengths to build a formidable and forward-bound nation out of the newly reconstituted Ethiopia. While Menelik travelled to quell rebellions within the country, Taytu stayed in the new capital, Addis Ababa, a city she had selected herself.
She pioneered industrial growth by setting up the first wool factory in Ethiopia after consulting with experts from Turkey and India. She encouraged the growth of cosmopolitan life by opening the country’s first modern hotel that served both local and international cuisine.
Senedu and Yewubdar Gebru c.1930s
Freedom fighter and vice president of parliament.
Freedom fighter and virtuoso pianist.
These sisters show that two heads can be better than one in the marketplace.
The repertoire between this sisterly duo includes guerilla warfare, virtuoso classical music, ten books, five languages and leadership of the country’s largest institutions. They were among a handful of their generation to win scholarships patronized by their home city governor to study in Europe.
Quite like our present day shift towards repatriation, they chose to return to their country and become teachers. Soon after, Fascist Italy invaded for the second time. Rather than join their families in safe exile, these sisters took up arms alongside their countrymen. They joined the Black Lion movement to expel Italians out of Ethiopian territory. Before Ethiopia was liberated by 1940, they spent two held captive in a jail on an Italian island. There, they snuck in material to learn Italian to cast off lethargy.
Upon return to their motherland, they took separate paths but continued to share a passion for life. Senedu became a national figure in the multitude of public roles she assumed. As a headmistress of a renowned all-girls school, she became a compelling role model. She cultivated a generation of girls into leadership under her strict tutelage. As the first woman in parliament, she was also known for her bold challenges to order and outspoken rhetoric. This earned her vice presidency in later years.
The younger sister, Yewubdar, joined a monastery, adopted the name Emahoy Tsegue-Mariam and continued to hone her expertise in classical music. To this day she lives in Jerusalem and travels worldwide to play her self-written numbers on the piano.
Asnaketch Worku, c. 1950s
We all love women who calmly ignore societal dictates on what is “proper feminine behavior”. Asnaketch is the one for the women in industries that are considered unfeminine.
This woman was a force of nature. Her charm on and off stage held her audience’s attention in a fit of willful siege. Asnaketch was a theater actress and a dancer to boot, but she was most revered for her music. The mastery with which she spun her hoarse and sonorous voice with the searing sound of the kirar (a traditional string instrument) into bewitching tales of love, loss and independence held many in awe.
She belonged to a school of music, azmari, that at the time was considered immodest. This was due to its explicit nature compared to the characteristic conservatism of Ethiopian culture. Asnaketch paid no mind to the stringent mores of womanly propriety. She had a tailor on hand to weave her daring costumes, raised children that weren’t her own and held a cigarette with as much effortless cool as she played her kirar.
In 2014, Nigeria’s Supreme Court annulled the Igbo custom that bans a daughter from inheriting her father’s estate. This marked a decisive victory in women’s rights in Igbo culture. It also serves as a reminder to the rest of the country and the Motherland that African women should be treated as equals. Harmful traditions need to be done away with.
President Barack Obama, on his state visit to Kenya which coincided with the ruling, also discussed the need to reconcile traditions with evolving societies. In one of his addresses to the country, Obama stated, “Treating women as second‐class citizens is a bad tradition. It holds you back…These traditions may date back centuries; they have no place in the 21st century.”
It’s a complex situation
Changes in a society don’t mean we need to abandon traditions all together. Each culture has its values, and some of those values should remain untouched. Forbidding daughters from inheriting their father’s’ estate was a custom that perpetuated inequality.
But, traditional Igbo culture as a whole is not one that seeks to subjugate women. We have to be able to distinguish between healthy practices and unhealthy ones.
Equality is actually part of Africa’s traditions
Historically, Igbos are democratic people. Laws were made and disagreements were settled by popular vote. Before the colonial era, Igbo women played an active role in politics. They took part in village meetings with men. They had their own markets and business networks, their own community meetings to discuss issues affecting women. They also had the right to strike against and boycott anything that threatened women’s interests.
Women’s meetings were called mikiri and it was during these meetings that women shared their experiences as businesswomen, mothers, and wives. Mikiri was not only a support system, but also a forum to maintain women’s markets and enforce market rules (which also applied to men). If a man was found guilty of breaking market rules or abusing his wife, the women would gather around his property. They would dance, sing, bang on his doors, and throw mud at his house to express their objection. They could even beat him up a little. This was Igbo women’s most effective form of protest and it was called “sitting on a man”.
British rule lead to the end of female institutions like mikiri in Nigeria. Back then British culture did not recognize women in its own political institutions. So, its colonial administration failed to recognize the culture of women’s participation in politics in Igboland. They wrote it off as another “savage African practice”.
Igbo traditions and values like democracy and mikiri that promote equality. These values should have stood the test of time, rather than the laws that prohibit a woman from claiming what is rightfully hers.
So what can we do?
There’s clearly a need to decide which customs hold us back and which ones benefit our communities as a whole. Maybe we should follow the example of the recent Nigerian supreme court ruling. We should compare our traditions to our constitutions. If a cultural practice encourages inclusivity, it should stay. If it violates the rights of a particular group, it should go.
Women should be part of Africa’s growth story. Sustainable development is only possible when everyone gets a seat at the table. We should all be active participants in socio‐economic and political initiatives.
History is such a fascinating subject. It is very enlightening to be able to study people, places and events which occurred before you because they help shape modern thought and explain the current status quo.
We often hear about great heroes and heroines throughout history who have impacted on our world but African women in particular have not received as much spotlight. As Motherland Moguls, we acknowledge and pay our respects to those who have paved the way before us. You’ll notice these women had different methods of achieving their goals but for us what stands out is what we can take away from their stories.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, we hope you enjoy our selection nonetheless. Let’s delve into important lessons from our African heroines who remind us that the struggle is not a new one, but indeed we can come out on top as game changers:
Lesson #1: Bravery
Yaa Asantewaa was the gatekeeper of the golden stool a symbol of Ashanti supremacy. When her father and brother were exiled by the British colonialists in the 19th century, she charged the Ashanti people to fight for their freedom. Whilst many were afraid to fight, she demonstrated immense bravery even calling on her fellow women to fight if the men would not. She was instrumental in the independence fight leading an army of 5,000 in battle against the British.
Lesson #2: Be ingenious
Being a woman was not an excuse for Margaret Ekpo. In the early days of her political activism, she found herself being the only woman at a political rally she attended. Unimpressed by this, she tried to get other women to become more involved in political matters.
Unfortunately, most men would not permit their wives to do so. She later invested heavily in the salt business during a period of scarcity. Having the upper hand, she refused to sell salt to women who would not join the Aba Market Women Association. As you can guess, she soon had the turnout she was looking for and was able to promote economic empowerment for women through the association.
Lesson #3: Your pitfalls can become your crowning glory
Ahebe Ugbabe is a woman who doesn’t get as much shine as she should in African history. She is hailed as the first female KING of Igboland. Yeah, I wrote that right…king, not queen. What’s most remarkable about her story is that she was able to turn lemons hurled at her into some good ol’ lemonade.
Sacrificed to be married to a village deity as penance for her father’s sins, she managed to escape to another community and later returned to be installed as a warrant chief, eventually becoming king!
Lesson #4:Re-invent yourself where necessary
Queen Nzinga of Angola is remembered for her brilliant political prowess. She ruled over the Mbundu people through the aid of the Portuguese colonialists. Prior to her ascension to the throne, women were not allowed to do so.
She thus adopted the name Dona Ana de Sousa which had Christian and Portuguese affiliations to ring in their support. At some other point, she is reported to have taken on the title Rainha de Andogo meaning ‘Queen of Andongo’.
This queen had so much kickass, we have outlined not one but two lessons from her story.
Lesson #5: Elevate yourself when others try to put you down
At a conference with the Portuguese authorities, an attempt to humiliate Nzinga was thwarted when she made a conscious effort not to be put down.
Offered a seat on a mat as a sign of disrespect, Queen Nzinga sat on her servant’s back to negotiate the peace discussions.
Funmilayo Ransome Kuti
Lesson #6: Raise a new generation of thinkers
A phenomenal woman, Funmilayo Ransome-Kuti was an influencer, activist for women’s rights and human rights campaigner. Founder of the Abeokuta Women’s Union, she has been immortalised in history as one of the delegates who negotiated Nigeria’s independence from Britain.
She dropped her Christian name ‘Frances Abigail’ in response to the racism she personally encountered in Britain. There is no doubt that she influenced her offspring with her revolutionary ideas as several of them went on to become radical voices against different forms of injustice.
Queen Amina of Zaria
Lesson #7: Be badass!
Queen Amina is hailed as a brilliant military strategist and warrior who performed incredible feats leading her troops into battle, conquering new territory and fortifying the kingdom of Zaria.
Referred to as a legend, Queen Amina’s badassery also extended to the control of trade and the erecting of walls surrounding Zaria city.
We hope you’ve been doubly inspired and motivated to perform great feats in your chosen professions and the world around you. So, adjust your crowns and let’s get to writing our own amazing stories that will remain ingrained in the sands of time!