Statue of Yennega, Burkina Faso. Image Credit: WikiCommons.

By Johanna Strong

Yennega, queen regent of the Mossi Kingdom, was thought to have lived between the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. She was the daughter of the King of Gambaga, what is the northern part of the present-day Republic of Ghana.

She was known for being a military leader of her father’s cavalry, to the point that her father refused to find her a husband because he didn’t want to lose her military leadership.// In her frustration and outrage, she ran away to the woods near her home, where she met Riale and fell in love.

She and Riale had one child, Ouedraogo. Through Yennega’s initiative, Ouedraogo founded the Mossi Kingdom with Yennega as the queen regent. Her descendants still hold political power among the Moose people in Burkina Faso today.

Recommended Reading

Kini-Yen Kinni, Pan-Africanism: Political Philosophy and Socio-Economic Anthropology for African Liberation and Governance (Bamenda and Buea, Cameroon: LANGAA RPCIG, 2015)

UNESCO, Yennega: Princess of Gambaga (2014)

‘Yennega’, UNESCO: Women in African History.

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