1st Edition

African Women Legends and the Spirituality of Resistance

    This volume focuses on African indigenous women legends and their potential to serve as midwives for gender empowerment and for contributing towards African feminist theories. It considers the intersection of gender and spirituality in subverting patriarchy, colonialism, anthropocentricism, and capitalism as well as elevating African women to the social space of speaking as empowered subjects with public influence. The chapters examine historical, cultural, and religious African women legends who became champions of liberation and their approach to social justice. The authors suggest that their stories of resistance hold great potential for building justice-loving Earth Communities. This book will be of interest to scholars of religion, gender studies, indigenous studies, African studies, African-indigenous knowledges, postcolonial studies, among others.

    Foreword by Elias Kifon Bongmba

    Part 1:  Women-Centred Origins and Solidarity with Mother Earth 

    1 “ My Bones Shall Rise Again!”  African Legendary Women and the Spirituality of Resistance

    Musa W. Dube

    2 “Powerhouse of Feminism”: Sitting with the Nine Daughters of Gīkūyū and Mūmbi at the Ecological and Gender Hearth

    Mary Wanjiku Kihuha

    3 Wangari Maathai’s Environmental Spirituality as Grounded in African Indigenous Community Wisdom

    Fancy Cheronoh

    Part 2: Rain Queens, Wife God and Priestess of Southern Africa

    4 The Modjadji Rain-Queendom of South Africa: Women as Guardians of the Traditional Mantle

    A Lefatshe Moagi and Mr. B. Mtombeni

    5 Towards makewana eco-theology: Motherhood, wife god and rain priestess

    Fulata Lusungu Moyo and Joyce Mlenga

    6 Isangoma and Wosana the Rain Priestess: women as vehicles to the sustainability of African Indigenous Religions

    Senzokuhle Doreen Setume

    Part 3: Legendary Women and Political Rebellion 

    7 Kimpa Vita: Revolutionary Prophetess and Martyr of the Kongo Kingdom

    Maleke Marthe Kondemo

    8 Wallata Petros of Ethiopia: Wife, Mother and Freedom Fighter

    Meklit Mitiku Mamunu

    9 Mbuya Nehanda: Priestess and Freedom Fighter of Zimbabwe

    Molly Manyonganise

    10 Nwanyeruwa: leading the nigerian women's war of 1929

    Martina I. Oguntoyinbo-atere

    Part 4:  Sister Kings, Regent Queens and Queen Mothers

    11 Makhadzi:  The Salient Venda Cornerstone of Indigenous Public Leadership

    Yvonne Winfildah Takawira-Matwapa

    12 The Indomitable Queen Labotsibeni of Eswatini: Where Gender and Religion Meet in a Patriarchal Space

    Sonene Nyawo

    Part 5:  Founders of African Independent Churches 

    13 Lenshina Alice Mulenga: The Spirit of Resistance and Liberation

    Dorothy Tembo

    14 Mma Christinah Nku: Legendary spiritual woman

    Linah Simimba Ndhlovu

    15 Mai Chaza//Matenga: A Legendary African Woman Leader in Zimbabwean Spirituality

    Amos Muyambo and Joseph Muyangata

    Part 6:  Legendary African Women Writers 

    16 “We should all be feminists”: A critical analysis of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s African feminist resources for gender activism in Africa

    Pauline Mateveke

    17 Redefining Liberating Motherhood in Leymah Gwobee's Mothering Leadership

    Mairo Anthony


    Musa W. Dube, the William Ragsdale Cannon Distinguished Professor of the New Testament, is a Humboldtian awardee (2011) and winner of the Gutenberg Teaching Award (2017). She is a biblical scholar based at Candler School of Theology, Emory University, USA. Dube is also Professor Extraordinaire in UNISA, Centre for Gender Studies.

    Telesia K. Musili is a lecturer in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at the University of Nairobi, Kenya. She is a national coordinator of the Circle of Concerned African Women Theologians.

    Sylvia Owusu-Ansah is Dean of the School of Theology at Perez University, Ghana. She is Vice-President of the Missiological Society of Ghana based at Trinity Theological Seminary and Head Pastor of Revival Temple, Perez Chapel International La.