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Taytu Betul, regarded as one of Ethiopia's greatest leaders, was the wife of Emperor Menelik II. She was instrumental in defeating Italian imperialists and also founded Addis Ababa, Ethiopia's capital city.
He was a no-nonsense military officer who helped Ethiopia's Menelik II consolidate power over the southern territories. But Gobena Dache's legacy is not without controversy.
The Emperor of Mali, Kanku Musa, is probably the wealthiest man ever to have lived on Earth. His opulence enabled him to turn Timbuktu into a stunning city. His reign lasted between c. 1313 and c. 1337.
Though Sultan Njoya Ibrahim acceded to the throne when the Germans were imposing themselves in Cameroon, he managed to reign with relative freedom. The King of Bamun was known to be a pacifist and a great inventor.
Princess Yennenga was not the typical princess, she was a fearless warrior and an experienced horseback rider. She left a lasting legacy in Burkina Faso.
With little formal education and living under apartheid, Hamilton Naki rose from being a gardener to being a respected lab technician whose legacy lives on.
Dedan Kimathi was one of the leaders of Mau Mau, Kenya’s armed independence movement. He is regarded as a revolutionary leader who fought against British colonialists until his execution.
Born in the UK with all the privileges that came with being white, Helen Joseph risked her life challenging the South African apartheid regime. And she led the way for many a woman in the struggle for change.
Sengbe Pieh, a farmer and trader from Sierra Leone was taken into slavery in 1839. During the voyage to the so-called New World, he led a mutiny aboard the Amistad, an event that galvanized the abolitionist movement.
Born a prince and educated in Germany, King Rudolf Douala Manga Bell was passionate about German culture. When German colonists shortchanged his people, he protested. In the end, German colonial rulers hung him for his act of resistance.
Abla Pokou is an Akan queen who led her people from modern-day Ghana to Ivory Coast around 1770, where she founded the Baoule nation. Legend says she sacrificed her son to the river so that her people could cross over.
He was a religious teacher who became the leader of a revolution: Usman dan Fodio, respectfully referred to as Sheikh, criticized the elites and changed the political system in present-day northern Nigeria.
The decision to award a conservationist with the Nobel Peace Prize came as a surprise in 2004. Yet it underlined the role of Wangari Maathai’s Green Belt Movement in building a peaceful and self-sustained society.
The name Shaka Zulu has become synonymous with battle. His army devastated anyone who stood in his way. DW spoke to historian Maxwell Shamase who says Shaka's legacy has been misrepresented.
Liberia, the nation of freed slaves, was built on the oppression of natives when William Tubman was elected president. Besides uniting his people, he prepared the country for a prosperous future – that was not to be.
When Tanzania became an independent state, it was Mwalimu Julius Nyerere who was hailed as its founding father. But without Bibi Titi Mohamed, he would have lacked an important mobilizing force that secured his success.
At a time when men dominated most aspects of life, Amina the queen of Zazzau emerged. A skillful Hausa warrior, she commanded a vast army which conquered many territories and greatly expanded her kingdom.
Eduardo Mondlane had a vision of a free, united and independent Mozambique, unshackled from the Portuguese colonial authorities. Though he was assassinated while in exile, his legacy lives on.
Léopold Sédar Senghor is considered as one of Africa's greatest statesmen, poets and intellectuals. After a spell of imprisonment during the Second World War, he became the first president of Senegal.
In the Moroccan city of Fez, Fatima al-Fihri founded a mosque which developed into the famous al-Qarawiyyin university. Today it is recognized as the oldest existing university in the world.
The novel Efuru established Nigerian author Flora Nwapa as the first African woman to publish a book in English. Her work set the stage for the emergence of female writers in Nigeria and other African countries.
Kimpa Vita attempted to unify the kingdom of Kongo through an African Christianity. For a short period, she was successful. Today she is referred to as being the mother of African unity.
More than five centuries after his reign, Oba Ewuare’s legacy is still alive in Benin City. He is remembered for his mystical powers, promoting arts and the bronze figures that have stood the test of time.
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