6 Powerful Royal Women Leaders In Africa

Kingship has no explicit gender, still…

In a predominately patriarchal world led by dictations of the westerners where women liberation and equal representation seem farfetched due to certain entrenched ideologies, a few societies have witnessed a switch in the reigns of power. The uncommon rise of women rulers: queen regents, empress regents and the likes although seemingly novel, has brought about much more liberal views.

Women kings are playing significant roles in their respective kingdoms bringing about change and therefore uplifting the lives of their subjects. In view of this, today we zoom in on Africa as we spot 6 Powerful Royal Women Leaders In the continent:

1. Queen Sylvia Nagginda of Buganda (Uganda)

HRH Sylvia Nagginda Luswata, Queen of Buganda Kingdom was born to John Luswata Ssebugwawo and Rebecca Nakintu

in 1964 in the United Kingdom but raised in Uganda.

She is the wife of the King of Buganda, King Ronald Muwenda Mutebi II.

Before meeting and eventually tying the knot in 1999, Her Royal Highness the Nnabagereka Sylvia Nagginda was already scaling heights and leaving her mark as a high-flying career girl.

At age 18, resident in the United States Nagginda had bagged three degrees; A Bachelor of Arts from New York University, an Associate Degree from City University of New York and a Master’s Degree from New York Institute of Technology.

The then anonymous driven career woman, proceeded to build a career in Consultancy, working in various U.S. sectors including public relations, international nonprofits, and healthcare and human services.

Upon commencement of royal duties, HRH Sylvia Nagginda Luswata, has been a strong advocate of public service: she has served as

Good Will Ambassador for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in Uganda, core member of the African Philanthropy Forum and an Advisory Board member of the Global Thinkers Forum.

Sylvia Nagginda Luswata. Queen, Buganda Kingdom, Uganda is Founder & Patron, Nnabagereka Development Foundation, focused on children, youth and women empowerment – the first Nnabagereka (Queen) in the history of the Buganda Kingdom to set up a fully-fledged Office.

2. King Peggy of Ghana

True life fairytale! Former American secretary turned king! Peggielene Bartels’ story is what dreams are made of.

Born in 1953 in Takoradi, southern Ghana, she studied in England before moving to the United States, where she became an American citizen in 1997.

For more than 30 years, Peggielene worked  as a secretary at the Ghanaian Embassy in the United States, but one phone call in a summer night in 2008 changed her whole world.

She became King Peggy — the first female king of Otuam, a small fishing village on the coast of Ghana, reigning over approximately 7,000 people.

“It never ever occurred to me [that I’d be Otuam’s king],” says Bartels, . “I realized that on this earth, we all have a calling. We have to be ready to accept it because helping my people has really helped me a lot to know that I can really touch their lives,” she adds. “I would have really regretted it if I hadn’t really accept this calling.” She tells CNN.

“Most of the time, a king is the one who has all the executive power to do things, while the queen is mostly in charge of the children’s affairs and reporting to the king,” she says. “So I really love this.”

After inheriting the throne, Bartels didn’t give up work at the Embassy of Ghana, rather has been living two very different lives.

King Peggy’s real-life fairy tale was documented in a book written by her and  author Eleanor Herman

Her life journey has also been documented in a book and a Hollywood film.

3. Princess Adebusola Oluwatuyi, Princess regent Osolo of Isolo, Akure, Nigeria.

HRH Adebusola Abisoye Oluwatuyi, Regent Osolo of Isolo in Akure, Ondo State, Nigeria.

Born in Isolo in Akure South Local Government, Ondo State, Princess Adebusola 

became the Regent of Isolo on the 10th of October, 2013 after the demise of her late father Kabiesi Oba Kayode Oluwatuyi, the 16th Osolo of ISOLO, Akure, after 34 years on the throne. She is the first daughter to ascend the throne.

in 2017, Her Royal Highness Adebusola vacated the throne to pursue other endeavours, however one year later kingmarkers gathered once more to chose their 17th Osolo, a disagreement arose between the community’s kingmakers and the Deji of Akure, the 17th Osolo-elect, Oba Edward Adewole was dethroned and Princess Adebusola Abisoye Oluwatuyi was asked to take over the stool for a second time.

She is a graduate of Sociology from Adekunke Ajasin University Akungba Akoko. Ondo State.

On settling down and how she adjusted to being on the throne: “I am used to the system because I was born on the throne. I tried to create a unique leadership style for myself that is acceptable to my people.”  Princess Adebusola says.

4. Queen Makobo Modjadji VI South Africa

Makobo Caroline Modjadji VI, Rain Queen of the Balobedu, royal kingdom of Modjadji, South Africa.

Rain Queen Modjadji VI, a direct descendent of one of the royal houses of Monomotapa, which ruled over the Zimbabwean people in the 15th and 16th century, the sixth in a line of the Balobedu tribe’s Rain Queens, took over the reigns of kingship in April 2003 aged 25; succeeding her grandmother Mokope Modjadji V. Makobo and

making history as the youngest Queen in the history of the Balobedu tribe.

The Modjadji (ruler of the day), or Rain Queen, is the hereditary queen of Balobedu, a people of the Limpopo Province of South Africa. The succession to the position of Rain Queen is matrilineal – the eldest daughter of the reigning Queen automatically becomes heir, males are not entitled to inherit the throne.

Queen Makobo Modjadji VI was also the first Rain Queen to have received formal education, she even completed high school.

As the name suggests, it is believed that rain Queens like Makobo Modjadji had the ability to control the clouds and rivers. She was responsible for bringing rain and directing an annual rainmaking ceremony in her royal compound.

The Queen passed on June 12, 2005 aged 27, no official cause of death was given. As of 2020, no new Queen has been crowned, a new rain Queen is expected to be crowned when she turns 18.

The legend of the Rain Queen told from generation to generation gained global popularity following books King Solomon’s Mines and She by author H. Rider Haggard, which drew the world’s attention to the role of the Rain Queen of the Balobedu people.

5. Falowo Moyinoluwa was installed as the regent of Ibulesoro kingdom of Ifedore Local Government Council in Ondo State, Nigeria after the demise of her father who was the king.

The 24-year-old female graduate does have older brothers and ordinarily, her brothers would have inherited the throne of their father instead of her, who was thought to be experienced.

“My beloved father married two wives and my mother happens to be the second. In our tradition, the first wife’s son is automatically the crowned prince while the second wife produces the crown princess and I happened to be the only female child of my mother and so became the crown princess, and regent”.

“In our tradition, being a crown prince does not automatically make you an heir to the throne as it is opened to contests from the ruling families and the kingmakers are always skeptical of making a crown prince the regent as he might become power-drunk and refuse to exit the stage when the time comes to do so,” she explained.

Moyinoluwa is a graduate of Microbiology from the Ondo State University of Science and Technology.

 “Yes I am referred to a male king as though I am my father, I rule in his place and what they see is a man. That is one of the reasons why I cannot get pregnant, I am not seen as a female,” she said

Her rulership, however, is for the short term. She is only on the throne until the kingmakers are able to choose a new king from the three ruling families in the kingdom

6. Her Royal Majesty Taiwo Oyebola Agbona 

Common in Ondo, Ekiti, Osun and Oyo states, a regent is appointed to rule a kingdom because the mornarch is minor, absent or incapacitated.

Born into the royal family of HRM Oba J. B Agbona, Orimoro 11, the Alaaye of Aaye, who died on the 4th of May, 2017, Taiwo, the first daughter of the king was chosen to ascend the throne for a period of time pending the final decision of the king makers on the appointment of a king.

 24th of March, 2018, the 23-year-old graduate of Medical laboratory Science became a Regent of Aaye town in Ifedore Local Government, Ondo state after being “chosen by oracle” to succeed her late father as king.

On her experience on the throne, she says it has impacted her life tremendously:

“Before, I am a normal person, but it has shaped me into a better person. It has also taught me how to be hardworking because you really need to be hardworking and think fast because you can be called upon anytime by your people,” she said.

The beautiful regent is a graduate from Achievers University in Owo, Ondo where she studied medical laboratory science. HRM says her traditional role is preparing her for a bigger role in politics.

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