Queen Mother, Yaa Asantewaa (1840–1921)
“We will fight the white men. We will fight till the last of us falls in the battlefields.”
Those are the famous words from a speech Yaa Asantewaa made to the chiefs when they were weighing the options of war with the British. Yaa Asantewaa was the queen mother of the Edweso tribe of the Asante (Ashanti) in what is modern-day Ghana. She was a successful farmer and mother who became famous for leading the Ashanti rebellion against British colonialism in 1900 to defend the Golden Stool, the Asante nation’s spiritual symbol of unity and sovereignty. The Yaa Asantewaa’s War, as it is presently known in Ghana, was one of the last major wars on the continent of Africa to be led by a woman. She remains a much-loved figure in Asante history and in the history of Ghana as a whole for the courage she showed in confronting injustice during British colonialism.