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African History

From Kenyan Coffee to a Search for Kikuyu Women Warriors

As those of you who follow me on Twitter, Facebook, and/or Instagram know, one of the delights of my week in the summer is my Thursday morning trip to the farmers’ market. I chat with the vendors about the plums or the tomatoes or the asparagus, I load up on veggies for the coming week,…

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Yennenga the Svelte–the Mother of the Mossi

I’ll warn you up front, the story of Yennenga the Svelte is going to feel more like a fairy tale than a historical biography. We know her story only from the oral traditions of the Mossi people, which may have some non-historical additions and embellishments. But then again, they may tell the story exactly the…

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The Question of the Queen Mother

Speaking of the linguistic booby traps that await the unwary in the pursuit of global history, as I believe we were, I offer you the example of the Queen Mother. In English, the term “Queen Mother” generally refers to the widow of a king* who is the mother of a reigning monarch. The term has…

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