Ndaté Yalla Mbodj
Ndate Yalla Mbodje
|Children||Sidya Leon Diop|
|Parent(s)||Brak (King) Amar Fatim Borso Mbodje, and Lingeer (Queen) Awo Fatim Yamar Khuri Yaye Mboge|
Ndaté Yalla Mbodje (1810–1860) was the last great lingeer, or queen, of the Waalo, a kingdom located in what is now North-West Senegal. She was a great Queen at the head of an immense army that fought against French colonization and the invasion of the Moors.
Queen Ndate was crowned on October 1, 1846 in Ndar (now called Saint-Louis) the capital of the Waalo kingdom. She succeeded her sister, Queen Ndjeumbeut Mbodj. The second year of her reign was marked by her strong opposition to the free passage of the Sarakole people (also called Soninke) granted by the governor. In a letter to the governor, she stated, “We guarantee and control the passage of cattle in our country and we will not accept it the other way. Each leader governs his country as he pleases.”
During her rule she fought against the Moors, who were slowly encroaching on her territory and against the French colonialist army led by General Louis Faidherbe. Her 10-l ear resistance against colonization culminated in 1855 when she faced Faidherbe and his army of 15,000 armed men that were bent on colonizing her kingdom, with her army of women warriors. Outnumbered and overpowered, the Queen was defeated. Remaining strong in the face of defeat and the capture of her son, Ndate said this to her principle dignitaries while enemy troops were invading her kingdom: “Today, we are invaded by the conquerors. Our army is in disarray. The tiedos of the Waalo, as brave warriors as they are, have almost all fallen under the enemy’s bullets. The invader is stronger than us, I know, but should we abandon the Waalo to foreign hands?”
Queen Ndate’s son Sidya Leon Diop, continued his mothers’ anti-colonialist work until he was captured and exiled to Gabon in 1878.
Ndate Yalla Mbodj, along with several other African heroines, played a crucial role in the struggle for African liberation. Oral historians (also known as griots) have recorded her bravery, and she remains a symbol of female empowerment. During her life and afterwards, Mbodj was a symbol of resistance against French colonialism. Queen Ndate Yalla Mbodj died in Dagana, where a statue erected in her honor still stands.
Women of Waalo
Like much of the African continent at the time, traditional wolof society was matriarchal. It was not until the introduction of Islam and colonization by Christian Europeans, that these societies adopted patriarchal ideology. During the 19th century, rulers of the Wolof people were called Brak; the mothers, sisters and daughters of these rulers were called Lingeer. These Lingeer (Queens) were politically and militarily prepared to lead their people. They were trained in armed combat and knew how to defend the kingdom. In March 1820, Moorish warriors took advantage of the Brak’s absence to invade the Waalo capital. They were quickly foiled by a group of armed female warriors led by the Lingeer Fatim Yamar. Ashamed of their defeat, the Moors returned to deal a final blow. Outnumbered and overpowered, the Lingeer and her companions decided to burn themselves alive rather than be dishonored. Before doing so however, Fatim Yamar helped her two daughters escape so that they could continue her legacy. Educated as warriors, these daughters later ruled the kingdom. Their names were Ndjeumbeut and Ndate Yalla.
- "Queen Ndate Yalla Mbodj: Senegalese Queen leading the Resistance against French Colonization". African Heritage. 8 June 2015. Retrieved 17 September 2015.
- Sane, Anta (June 2015). "Gender Inequality in the Process of Good Governance: The Case of the Senegalese Parliament" (PDF). CODESRIA. Retrieved 17 September 2015.
- http://matricien.org/geo-hist-matriarcat/afrique/heroine/ndate-yalla-mboj Le Projet Matricien. Retrieved 15 October 2015