Ever heard of an Akan queen who led her people from modern-day Ghana to the Ivory Coast around the 1770’s where she founded the Baole nation?
Queen Abla Pokou was born at the beginning of the 18th century. She also happened to be the niece of King Osei Tutu who was the co-founder of the Ashanti empire in modern-day Ghana. The passing of the King led to a succession war breaking out which resulted in the brutal killing of her second brother who was among the heirs to the throne.
The Journey to a safer place
Based on how things played out the queen feared for her life and that of her family, she left and those who were loyal to Dakon followed refusing to see Opoku Ware on the throne. The Queen is said to have gathered a massive caravan leading her people towards the Ivory Coast.
When they got to the river, the currents were wild and it was at it’s highest level due to the rainfall which was constant. The queen then consulted a wise man who accompanied them, he then said that the river gods demanded a sacrifice in the form of a child which belonged to the noble bloodline only then would they be allowed to cross. According to legend, Queen Abla threw her child into the river upon doing so something magical happened: the trees on the bank bent their trunks to make a bridge in other versions it is said that hippopotamuses appeared and lined up to create a walkway for Queen Abla and her escourt to cross the river. When everyone had crossed she wailed “Ba Wouli” meaning “the child is dead” it is also believed that these words coined the name of the Baole people.
Queen Abla Pokou lived in a place called Namounou (def- Look after the mother) which is situated in Bwake not far from the Akawa village. Namounou became deserted after her passing and was laid to rest in the N’draba River she was succeeded by Akawa Boni who went to settle in Sekassou.
Her legacy continues to live on and her story is shared through oral and written literature in the Ivory Coast and Ghana, representations of her are scarce to find There are no museums or monuments in memory of her apart from a metal statue found on the République square in Abidjan.
The idea of women not being capable to lead is foreign to us, when you go back in history before the colonial era chances of you coming across stories about women not leading because of tradition are scarce. Women led and they were respected, we were never suppressed by our own but by those who came to steal from us.
For more information about the Baole kindly check out:https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.dw.com/en/queen-abla-pokou-mother-of-the-ivorian-baoule-people-ivory-coast-ghana-african-roots/a-56976129