Walking in the shoes of Yennenga: Being Pro-choice

Published March 24, 2021, 2:14 p.m. by Soukeyna Djahira Pitroipa

As a student applying to US universities, you get usually confronted with multiple essays which will show off your imagination, character, and determination to pursue your academic journey in a certain institution. Therefore, I had to face all these questions that were supposed to help me reflect on my inner self, my identity as a black woman (pronouns: she/her), and as a Burkinabe from the Mossi tribe. What a better way to show all these aspects of my personality through an empowering female historical figure as Yennenga which was the founder of the beginning of the greatest tribe in Burkina Faso the Mossi which has a great lineage of male Naaba (Chiefs) full of wisdom and good governance. We tend to forget the existence of Yenenga when talking about the story of the mosse, we start by telling people how Ouedraogo built the first mossi kingdom, Tenkodogo, where he established the strongest kingdom ever seen on the land of the “honest man”. But, did he just jumped off a horse like a colonizer and established that kingdom? Or maybe thanks to witchcraft did he just appeared to create that kingdom? 

 

However, there is a more rational reason for the birth of the Tenkodogo Kingdom. Indeed, Yennenga through her feminism, courage, and strength, transcended the barriers of the patriarchy in order to be able to choose for herself and not let her father dictate her life story. It is when I did researches and discovered so many aspects of her life that I started analyzing how she should be integrated as an important feminist historical figure and how she also relates to my life story. You will understand more what is my point and what I mean by reading the essay that I wrote: 

 

‘’The sun was up, brighter than ever meaning that it was the hottest time of the day, midday, the time to rest and eat lunch by the trees’ shadow. I took a look at my time traveling watch and it showed the 15th century, unknown year, an unknown place. I was surrounded by the forest and suddenly behind the bushes, I heard noises, I stood up holding my sandal with one hand ready to attack, but a human silhouette appeared; It was a woman. She was wearing amazon clothes, had a staff in her right hand, and a calabash in her left hand. She was beautiful and at the same time intimidating. She also had an elegant way of walking, as if all eyes were on her at all times, which let you know that she was a member of a royal family. She walks toward me offering the calabash full of freshwater and spoke in Mooré the language of the Mossi tribe: ‘’ Niou’’(drink).

 

 I was shocked, how come this stranger could speak my tribal language? Immediately, I asked about her identity, and she presented herself as Princess Yennenga coming from the Gambaga Kingdom to this new land. Then, everything started to make sense I came back in time when Princess Yennenga fled home from her dad’s expectations to build her own destiny in the future ‘’Burkina Faso’’ land. We sat under a tree’s shadow and she started telling me her story of how she fled from home in a man disguised, on a white horse and rode non-stop until ending up in this deserted land. She wanted to get married, build a family but her father had different plans for her: becoming a warrior, and leading wars because she was an excellent fighter and cavalier. But, he neither listened nor understood her life’s choices so she chose to travel to build her future elsewhere. The conversation went smoothly, she told me about her culture in the Gambaga Kingdom, her important role as an amazon princess. Also, she told me how sometimes she felt there was something else she was destined to do. She felt trapped in a cage, pressured to become a warrior when she wanted peace with her true self, she desired to experience a different lifestyle away from her father’s cages. I started realizing why the time-traveling watch sent me at this specific year, to let me know better this amazing female figure, be inspired by her story, and understand the growth I have been through. Like her, I left home for a better life, left my country’s limitations, the social barriers because I felt I had more to offer, explore and discover, so I ended in UWC Costa Rica this special school far away from home. I felt I had more to explore and discover before I could become a woman that could create lasting change in her country. I desired to experience something different from home, learn more about different perspectives, feel free to control my own life, and finally obtain the skills to offer better to my community. I could see the bold and brave woman I became through Princess Yennenga not only because she was the mother of my tribe, but because we both share this taste for adventure, freedom, and this bravery to go against expectations and barriers despite the hardship. We both started a new chapter in the unknown despite the dangers and uncertainties because we are brave enough to adapt to new environments even during tuff situations. She and I, are basically the same person in different timelines, sharing the same story and I looked at her with admiration because I was proud of who I became. I am Princess Yennenga, a warrior, a brave woman, an adventurer, and a game-changer who left home to build her own path for the better. ’’

 

Basically, in her life story she chose to choose for herself, she chose to be an individual who pursues love instead of wars, she chose peace over overthrowing kingdoms. She knew how to fight, how to be a horsewoman in our evolved society we would have qualified her of an independent strong woman or a tomboy. But she chose to marry instead of following her father’s plans because she knew she was a warrior and a skilled fighter but also a woman, after all, she has the right to choose what turn she wants to give to her life. By, putting up this plot I put myself within the shoes of Yenenga and I started understanding the mindset of being a true feminist, it’s giving the opportunity for all women no matter their background the right to choose for themselves. Even though some choices like choosing to marry instead of being a warrior and leading wars can seem conservative in the 21st-century liberal perspective, it was her choice, it was valid, it mattered, and should have been respected. 

 

Women are always judged by the patriarchy for whatever choice they make, especially when it comes to choosing to marry, having children, working, or even for their life preferences. It seems women are trapped in the societal norms which tell them how to act, even when the choice comes from their own will. This shouldn’t happen, because women, like any human, have the right to free will and they shouldn’t be dictated by the patriarchy or man’s choices, they have their own narrative to write and we just need to learn by listening to their stories. Women have been silenced for so long, even Yennenga’s story is foreshadowed by a man that she even gave birth as if since she gave birth to a son her own story doesn’t matter. We don’t emphasize enough her story on how she didn’t let her father ( a man) dictate her life, she was the one owning her narrative to her life and decided to free herself by ending up in Burkina Faso, marrying Riale, and giving birth to Ouedraogo. She chose to choose for herself because this is what women should be able to do especially in Burkina Faso: Be able to choose because the man thinking and patriarchal norms shouldn’t influence their life, but her own narrative and story matter.

 

As we are in march, in women’s history month, it is important to emphasize the fact that women have a voice and society just needs to listen to it. We need to express the voices of the figures foreshadowed in history to let society learn more about feminism and how we should all follow that movement to go forward to equality between both sexes. It’s time for us to unleash the stereotypes that surround the feminist movement because history has been influenced by women, our future is female so let’s make the present feminist.

As a student applying to US universities, you get usually confronted with multiple essays which will show off your imagination, character, and determination to pursue your academic journey in a certain institution. Therefore, I had to face all these questions that were supposed to help me reflect on my inner self, my identity as a black woman (pronouns: she/her), and as a Burkinabe from the Mossi tribe. What a better way to show all these aspects of my personality through an empowering female historical figure as Yennenga which was the founder of the beginning of the greatest tribe in Burkina Faso the Mossi which has a great lineage of male Naaba (Chiefs) full of wisdom and good governance. We tend to forget the existence of Yenenga when talking about the story of the mosse, we always start by telling people how Ouedraogo built the first mossi kingdom, Tenkodogo, where he established the strongest kingdom ever seen on the land of the “honest man”. But, did he just jumped off a horse like a colonizer and established that kingdom? Or maybe thanks to witchcraft did he just appeared to create that kingdom? 

 

However, there is a more rational reason for the birth of the Tenkodogo Kingdom. Indeed, Yennenga through her feminism, courage, and strength, transcended the barriers of the patriarchy in order to be able to choose for herself and not let her father dictate her life story. It is when I did researches and discovered so many aspects of her life that I started analyzing how she should be integrated as an important feminist historical figure and how she also relates to my life story. You will understand more what is my point and what I mean by reading the essay that I wrote: 

 

‘’The sun was up, brighter than ever meaning that it was the hottest time of the day, midday, the time to rest and eat lunch by the trees’ shadow. I took a look at my time traveling watch and it showed the 15th century, unknown year, an unknown place. I was surrounded by the forest and suddenly behind the bushes, I heard noises, I stood up holding my sandal with one hand ready to attack, but a human silhouette appeared; It was a woman. She was wearing amazon clothes, had a staff in her right hand, and a calabash in her left hand. She was beautiful and at the same time intimidating. She also had an elegant way of walking, as if all eyes were on her at all times, which let you know that she was a member of a royal family. She walks toward me offering the calabash full of freshwater and spoke in Mooré the language of the Mossi tribe: ‘’ Niou’’(drink).

 

 I was shocked, how come this stranger could speak my tribal language? Immediately, I asked about her identity, and she presented herself as Princess Yennenga coming from the Gambaga Kingdom to this new land. Then, everything started to make sense I came back in time when Princess Yennenga fled home from her dad’s expectations to build her own destiny in the future ‘’Burkina Faso’’ land. We sat under a tree’s shadow and she started telling me her story of how she fled from home in a man disguised, on a white horse and rode non-stop until ending up in this deserted land. She wanted to get married, build a family but her father had different plans for her: becoming a warrior, and leading wars because she was an excellent fighter and cavalier. But, he neither listened nor understood her life’s choices so she chose to travel to build her future elsewhere. The conversation went smoothly, she told me about her culture in the Gambaga Kingdom, her important role as an amazon princess. Also, she told me how sometimes she felt there was something else she was destined to do. She felt trapped in a cage, pressured to become a warrior when she wanted peace with her true self, she desired to experience a different lifestyle away from her father’s cages. I started realizing why the time-traveling watch sent me at this specific year, to let me know better this amazing female figure, be inspired by her story, and understand the growth I have been through. Like her, I left home for a better life, left my country’s limitations, the social barriers because I felt I had more to offer, explore and discover, so I ended in UWC Costa Rica this special school far away from home. I felt I had more to explore and discover before I could become a woman that could create lasting change in her country. I desired to experience something different from home, learn more about different perspectives, feel free to control my own life, and finally obtain the skills to offer better to my community. I could see the bold and brave woman I became through Princess Yennenga not only because she was the mother of my tribe, but because we both share this taste for adventure, freedom, and this bravery to go against expectations and barriers despite the hardship. We both started a new chapter in the unknown despite the dangers and uncertainties because we are brave enough to adapt to new environments even during tuff situations. She and I, are basically the same person in different timelines, sharing the same story and I looked at her with admiration because I was proud of who I became. I am Princess Yennenga, a warrior, a brave woman, an adventurer, and a game-changer who left home to build her own path for the better. ’’

 

Basically, in her life story she chose to choose for herself, she chose to be an individual who pursues love instead of wars, she chose peace over overthrowing kingdoms. She knew how to fight, how to be a horsewoman in our evolved society we would have qualified her of an independent strong woman or a tomboy. But she chose to marry instead of following her father’s plans because she knew she was a warrior and a skilled fighter but also a woman, after all, she has the right to choose what turn she wants to give to her life. By, putting up this plot I put myself within the shoes of Yenenga and I started understanding the mindset of being a true feminist, it’s giving the opportunity for all women no matter their background the right to choose for themselves. Even though some choices like choosing to marry instead of being a warrior and leading wars can seem conservative in the 21st-century liberal perspective, it was her choice, it was valid, it mattered, and should have been respected. 

 

Women are always judged by the patriarchy for whatever choice they make, especially when it comes to choosing to marry, having children, working, or even for their life preferences. It seems women are trapped in the societal norms which tell them how to act, even when the choice comes from their own will. This shouldn’t happen, because women, like any human, have the right to free will and they shouldn’t be dictated by the patriarchy or man’s choices, they have their own narrative to write and we just need to learn by listening to their stories. Women have been silenced for so long, even Yennenga’s story is foreshadowed by a man that she even gave birth as if since she gave birth to a son her own story doesn’t matter. We don’t emphasize enough her story on how she didn’t let her father ( a man) dictate her life, she was the one owning her narrative to her life and decided to free herself by ending up in Burkina Faso, marrying Riale, and giving birth to Ouedraogo. She chose to choose for herself because this is what women should be able to do especially in Burkina Faso: Be able to choose because the man thinking and patriarchal norms shouldn’t influence their life, but her own narrative and story matter.

 

As we are in march, in women’s history month, it is important to emphasize the fact that women have a voice and society just needs to listen to it. We need to express the voices of the figures foreshadowed in history to let society learn more about feminism and how we should all follow that movement to go forward to equality between both sexes. It’s time for us to unleash the stereotypes that surround the feminist movement because history has been influenced by women, our future is female so let’s make the present feminist.

 


Read full article

0 Comments

Login to join the discussion

Copyright © 2021 ouagatimes.com. All rights reserved. Distributed by The Ouagadougou Times (ouagatimes.com), A subsidiary of Tengsoba LLC. The Ouagadougou Times publishes hundreds of reports a day from hundreds of institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which The Ouagadougou Times does not have the legal right to edit or correct. Articles and commentaries that identify The Ouagadougou Times as the publisher are produced or commissioned by The Ouagadougou Times. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.