Posted by Balkiss Adesokan Bakare on Saturday, September 3, 2016 Under: Feature Articles



All through history, the evolution of mankind has been punctuated with the exploits of many powerful women from whose bowels, entire nations were sired and the legend of others who led armies into war and on whose word, empires rose and fell. Many contemporary women stirred the consciousness of humanity through their crusading campaigns for gender equality and women empowerment.

Throughout time however, no matter the cause or venture- the common thread between these women, their raison d'etre has always been their survivalist proclivities in keeping the zest of feminity alive in a male dominated world. They were all imbued with that indefatigable spirit of gender preservation.

In Greek mythology, we are told of the Amazonians- a barbarian tribe of women archers on horseback whose quest for survival meant they had to cut off a breast to shoot better while roaming a vast territory known as Scythia, stretching from the Black Sea to Mongolia. Their legend inspired several fables- both real and imagined and their fearsome aura still inflames passions that stir the pheromones of many a young woman.

Closer home in Africa, we have had many women who personified the true spirit of African durability and fecundity- that spirit that makes the African woman a special breed: indefatigable, indomitable and exceptional. The African female has survived despite the odds, and many have indeed left indelible prints of the sands of time.

History tells us of Nzinga of Ndongo who valiantly fought and held off Portuguese control of present-day Angola for over thirty years during the early 17th century.

From Ghana came Yaa Asantewaa, the Queen Mother of Ejisu who led the Ashanti rebellion known as the War of the Golden Stool against British colonialism.

Funmilayo Ransome Kuti came to limelight in South West Nigeria as a woman nationalist and activist. She was one of Africa's foremost crusaders who spoke truth to power at a time when the female voice was mute and belonged only in the kitchen.

This indomitable spirit of excellence has been handed down generations. Wangari Mathai, the Kenyan environmental and political activist won the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize for her work in environmental conservation of the African continent. 

Nadine Godimer, the South African daughter of a Jewish immigrant was a writer, political activist and recipient of the 1991 Nobel Prize in Literature. During the dark days of apartheid, she became a loud voice in the anti-apartheid movement, struggling to reverse the government's treatment of blacks.

A new breed of strong women is rising already. Lupita Nyong'o- the thespian implanted herself in the consciousness of Africa through her dexterity on the tube and has held our attention since then. The first Kenyan to win an Oscar, she inspires young girls all over the continent who see and perceive that spirit, that Africaness in her. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie from Nigeria is also doing exploits in her field and so are several other young women.

The inspiring story of these women has served to remove the barriers to excellence of the younger generation of girls. The inner strength and beauty of these women has ensured that where ever the girl child is in Africa, she has someone to look up to, to aspire to greatness because her role model conquered.

From Timbuktu, Mali to Kebbi, Nigeria from Alamata, Ethiopia, to Tsiombe Madagascar, the indomitable spirit of the African woman is alive in the little girl hungry by the road side, being abused by an uncle or helpless in a maternity ward somewhere.

That spirit will keep her going -till help comes her way. That's the one virtue of the African female- she is indomitable and indefatigab

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