YSYF will be hosting our Women’s History Month Campaign to spotlight powerful/influential woman in Ghanaian history. Today we highlight Queen Mother Yaa Asantewaa, also known as Ghana’s Warrior Queen.

Born on April 17,1840, Yaa Asantewaa was a skilled farmer before becoming a Queen Mother in the 1880’s. The Queen Mother is a role passed down the matrilineal line in Ashanti culture and held many duties, including guarding the Golden Stool. The Golden Stool is a symbol of the cultural system and power in the Ashanti kingdom. It’s believed to carry the soul of the Ashanti Kingdom and nation by the Ashanti tribe. A former British Governor of Gold Coast audaciously demanded to sit on the stool and requested the Ashanti elders to surrender the Golden Stool. This was a preposterous request to the Ashanti Kingdom; Yaa Asantewaa soon after led the rebellion to protect the honor of her people and their traditions. In 1896, people from the Ashanti tribe began to rebel against the British presence in their lands, but the British captured and exiled the King of the Ashanti alongside another vital leader to the Seychelles Islands to acquire the Golden Stool. Although there were many disputes on how to handle this matter by the remaining leaders, Yaa Asantewaa refused to give the stool away and led the Ashanti army as their Commander in Chief. On March 28, 1900, this date became known as the Anglo-Ashanti wars’ fifth and final war against the British also recognized as the “Yaa Asantewaa War of Independence or The War of the Golden Stool”. The Ashanti tribe fought valiantly for their integrity and heritage in hopes to resist oppressors, although they did not successfully win the war; they succeeded to spread the message of their zeal towards preserving their customs and traditions. Queen Mother Yaa Asantewaa’s leadership and passion were uncommon to see from female leaders of the time, she has inspired the creation of an achievement award called the “Nana Yaa Asantewaa Awards” (NYA) honoring women who advocate the same values and leadership of Asantewaa. A museum was even opened in the Ejisu-Juaben region of Ghana to acknowledge and commemorate her influence. Yaa Asantewaa is recognized for her bravery and unwavering commitment to protecting her people and culture. She’s easily considered as one of the most inspiring women in Ghana and should be recognized globally for her leadership.


Figure 1. Feel free to click here and check out the 2 minute BBC News clip “Yaa Asantewaa, Ghana’s Warrior Queen” which shares her story in animated form.