Léonie Abo

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Wassis Hortense Léonie Abo
Born 16 August 1945
Malungu, Belgian Congo
Nationality Congolese
Occupation Guerrilla fighter, Writer
Spouse(s) Pierre Mulele
Children Eulalie, Ghislaine

Wassis Hortense Léonie Abo (born 1945) was an activist during the Kwilu Rebellion. She was a writer who was the wife of the communist rebel Pierre Mulele.


Wassis Hortense Léonie Abo was born in 1945 in a place called Malungu in what was then the Belgian Congo.[1] She was brought up by adopted parents as her mother died giving birth to her; as a result of this last event she was given the name "Abo", which means "sorrow" in the Bambunda language.[2] She witnessed her adoptive father taking a stick to his wife that resulted in her beating ending with a broken arm. She was well educated starting school at seven and moving on to a missionary school at nine.[3] She was an early trained midwife and by the age of fourteen she was supervising births.[4]

She entered an abusive arranged marriage in Gaspar Mumputo in September 1959. She had been told about the temptations of the flesh by the nuns who educated her and she remembered her wedding night being filled with pain and blood.[4] Her marriage ended after June 1962 when her husband took her and her prospective lover to court. She was sent to jail for a month. Abo was tricked into joining a group of rebels by her brothers.[3] In January 1964 she was still part of that group when they rose as part of the Simba Rebellion against the government.

The rebel Pierre Mulele married her and they spent five years alongside guerrillas loyal to Mulele. She was treated with disproportionate respect because of her husband. She was disappointed when her husband took another wife and planned to take a third. In 1968, after her husband's assassination, she fled to Congo-Brazzaville as she feared for her life. Abo has made a great effort to record the works of herself and Pierre Mulele.[5] The Belgian book Une Femme du Congo (A Congolese Woman), by Ludo Martens, tells Abo's life story.[6]


  1. ^ Wassis Abo, Oxford Index, Retrieved 26 March 2016
  2. ^ "Leonie Abo". Retrieved 4 January 2017. 
  3. ^ a b Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr.; Professor Emmanuel Akyeampong; Mr. Steven J. Niven (2 February 2012). Dictionary of African Biography. OUP USA. pp. 45–46. ISBN 978-0-19-538207-5. 
  4. ^ a b K. Bouwer (10 September 2010). Gender and Decolonization in the Congo: The Legacy of Patrice Lumumba. Palgrave Macmillan US. pp. 129–139. ISBN 978-0-230-11040-3. 
  5. ^ Gender and Decolonization in the Congo: The Legacy of Patrice Lumumba (2010), Tosin Abiodun, NotEvenPast, Retrieved 26 March 2015
  6. ^ Ludo Martens (1995). Abo: une femme du Congo. Editions Aden. ISBN 978-2-87262-103-3.