The African Queen
Rosa Parks, Sojourner Truth, and Harriet Tubman were unquestionably strong female leaders that were defiant against societal norms, but we cannot forget the ultimate Queen of defiance. Back in the 1600’s, Nzinga Mbande was the sister of the King to Ndonga (now known as Angola). Nzinga’s brother decided to put her in charge of negotiations with the slave-hungry Portuguese. Even though her brother wasn’t the strongest of leaders (if enough money was transferred, he was known to have an open-door policy regarding the slave trade), it incensed Nzinga that these unwelcome colonizers tossed the King in jail. She marched up to the Governor’s office to demand the release of her brother and in an act of trying to demean her, the Portuguese refused to give her a chair to sit in. Nzinga was not having it. She called over her servant who got on all fours so this Queen could sit. After negotiations were finished, Nzinga stood up and promptly slit the throat of her servant right in front of a rather horrified Governor and his administrators. As they sat there in utter disbelief, Nzinga informed them that the Queen of Ndonga never sits in the same chair twice. (Boom!)
Portuguese officials rightfully decided to release her brother.
Unfortunately for him, Nzinga got pretty comfy in her position (I mean, she was known to have at least 50–60 men in her own personal harem) and her weak armed brother was of no help so, she killed him. From there she moved south, started a new country, conquered the infamous ruthless cannibal tribe known as the Jaga, began offering sanctuary to runaway slaves and defector soldiers, and waged war on the Portuguese for the next THIRTY-FIVE YEARS! Thankfully, the Portuguese relented and called a truce in 1656.
Nzinga lived well into her 80’s and it was said that when she died she was clutching her favorite set of bow and arrows. To this day, Nzinga Mbande is still seen as a symbol of African resistance in Angola and the Western African countries.