Google+ Badge BLACK SOCIAL HISTORY

Thursday, 23 July 2015

BLACK SOCIAL HISTORY : AFRO-SIERRA LEONEAN " MADAM YOKO OR MAMMY YOKO " 2WAS A LEADER OF THE MENDE PEOPLE IN SIERRA LEONE : GOES INTO THE " HALL OF BLACK HEROES "

           BLACK    SOCIAL  HISTORY                                                                                                                                                                                                        








































































Madam Yoko


Madam Yoko or Mammy Yoko (ca. 1849–1906[1]) was a leader of the Mende people in Sierra Leone. Combining advantageous lineage, shrewd marriage choices and the power afforded her from the secret Sande society, Yoko became a leader of considerable influence.[1][2] She expanded the Mende Kingdom and at the time of her death, she was the ruler of the vast Kpa Mende Confederacy.[3][4]

Biography

Madam Yoko, originally called Soma, was born around 1849 in the Gbo Chiefdom.[2][5] She changed her name to Yoko at her Sande initiation ceremony, during which time she became known for her graceful dancing.[2] Yoko's first marriage, which was unsuccessful, was to a man named Gongoima.[5][6] After leaving Gongoima, Yoko's second husband was Gbenjei, Chief of Taiama. Although Yoko remained childless, Gbenjei made her his great wife, giving her economic power within her household.[6][7]
Following Gbenjei's death, Yoko married Gbanya Lango. In 1875, Gbanya was detained by British colonial officials in Taiamawaro.[2] Yoko went directly to Governor Rowe to appeal for her husband's release.[2] Rowe was impressed with Yoko's appeal and Gbanya was flogged, and then released.[2] Following this incident, Gbanya made Yoko his great wife and began sending her on diplomatic missions.[6] With the Sande, Yoko was able to wield significant power, not only amongst women, but Mende society as a whole.[8] As a leader in this women's secret society, she made political alliances and took younger initiates as "wards" — later marrying them into other aristocratic lineages in an imitation of the trajectory of her own rise to power.[2] In 1878, following her third husband's death, Yoko became the chief of Senehun.[9] By 1884 she was officially recognised as "Queen of Senehun".[7] This recognition came not only from her own people, but also from the British.[1] She died in 1906, rumoured to have committed suicide.[7] Having no descendants of her own, she was succeeded by her brother Lamboi.[2]