The Amazons of the Dahomey, a female military regiment in the 18th century, fought the French colonial army. Their name inspired the collective Amazones of Africa. Their flagship song “I play the Kora” symbolizes their struggle: this African musical instrument was traditionally reserved for men.
African Amazons Chant the Cause of Women
It is a project that brings together some of the greatest voices on the African continent: among others, the great lady Angélique Kidjo, who no longer needs an introduction, the Nigerian singer Nneka, the Malian woman Mariam Doumbia (du duo Amadou and Mariam) and many others.
In the end we have several generations of African singers and a message: stop the violence against women all over the world. It is a very nice project whose benefits will go to the benefit of the Panzi Foundation, Dr. Denis Mukwege. The surgeon known as “the man who repairs women” has devoted his life to women victims of violence in the DRC.
Their flagship title “I play the Kora”, “I play the Kora” is the symbol of their fight for gender equality. Why? Because it is derived from the name of a musical instrument: the Kora.
The Kora: a musical instrument reserved for men
The Kora, like the balafon or the tam-tam, is an African musical instrument. And traditionally, centuries ago, it was played by griots, storytellers, poets, and so on. And this instrument had a peculiarity: it was exclusively reserved for men, women had no right to touch it. Today, because of its history, the greatest kora players remain men. If you do not know the Kora, its sounds are rather delicate and they approach the harp.
The Amazons of Dahomey: an army of women
The choice of this name “the Amazons of Africa”, is in fact a nod to true warriors of Africa: The amazons of Dahomey. It is a military regiment that was composed only of women in the 18th century. These women were elites of the army of King Behanzin who ruled on Dahomey, now Benin. They fought hard against the French forces during the war of colonization which was a real ordeal for the colonial troops.
Because these thousands of warriors were conditioned to defeat or die, generally during the fighting, they decapitated their enemies and brandished their heads to frighten the opponents. But their valor in combat was not enough because Benin eventually capitulated against the colonial army. To whom they have nevertheless given some trouble.
So who said that women did not know how to fight?