Reines d’Afrique

African Queens And Heroines of the Black Diaspora

– History –


No black heroine has ever been recognized by the universal history. From this observation, Sylvia Serbin started searching for key prominent women who left their mark on the history of Africa and its diaspora, from Antiquity to the beginning of the 20th century.

In this way, she introduces us to twenty-five portraits of queens, women of influence, resistance female fighters to slavery and colonization, warriors, victims, or mothers of kings. Most of them are unknown to the general public. Among them are the queens Zingha of Angola, Pokou of Ivory Coast, Ndaté Yalla of Senegal or Ranavalona III of Madagascar; Madam Tinubu, a powerful Nigerian business-owner and politician of the 19th century; the enslaved Mulâtresse Solitude in Guadeloupe and Harriet Tubman in the United States; Yaa Asantewaa, an independence war leader in Ghana as well as Sarraounia Mangou in Niger; the prophetess Kimpa Vita of the former Kongo kingdom; the Amazons of Dahomey, or the young South African Saartjee Baartman, nicknamed the “Hottentot Venus”, victim of European racism.

It is the only work so far dedicated to African women as historical actors. A contribution based on written and oral sources that required ten years of research, and which takes us from the north to the south of the continent to discover lesser-known pages of African history. With a genuine storytelling talent, the author shares with us these outstanding character’s lives whose reading arouses admiration, sadness, horror, and respect. Praised as a reference publication by numerous French and Spanish-speaking readers world-wide, this book also reveals unexplored facets of some societies of pre-colonial Africa, often wrongly depicted as inert and stagnant, whereas they have known an undeniable vitality.

New updated edition -with additional chapters-

Table of contents

Historian and journalist Sylvia Serbin has been dedicated for many years to restoring the place and role of women in the historical map of Africa […]. Reines d’Afrique et héroïnes de la diaspora noire […] has been successful among a steadily growing circle of enthusiasts and has been continuously reissued since then. The 2023 version, with a hundred more pages than its previous edition, includes additional characters and updated information. The author introduces us to 25 portraits of influential women, resistant to slavery, colonization, warriors, mothers of heroes, most of whom are unknown to the general public.

– Kidi Bebey –Le Monde


Publication: Sepia (2004, first edition), Medou Neter (2023, new updated edition with additional chapters)
Language: French
Rights: World French to Medou Neter
Genre: History
Extent: 365 p. (new edition)
Material: English sample

Rights inquiries: Here


@ Sylvia Serbin

Sylvia Serbin, a French African-Caribbean journalist and historian, spent about thirty years in Africa before moving to Paris for academic and professional pursuits. Currently residing in France, she’s a former Radio France journalist, contributing to historical series on Africa and UNESCO programs like the General History of Africa and the E-learning initiative on Women figures in African History. Sylvia Serbin also authored two English children’s books and two French ones, covering historical topics. Her expertise has led to invitations for lectures on Black women in history in various European and African countries, as well as the West Indies, Brazil, and Canada.


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Description du livre en français

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