The story of Queen Muhumuza has been told for years, passed down from generation to generation, and spread across nations.

A historical photo of Queen Muhumuza and her followers. image credit: Wikipedia

It's the story of a Ugandan warrior queen who stood up against tyranny from within her country. Eventually, a battle against outside forces also became a part of her fight.

Who Was Queen Muhumuza?

King Kigeli IV Rwabugiri was the king of Rwanda, and Queen Muhumuza was one of his wives. After the king died in 1895, his favorite wife schemed to crown her son Musinga.

Muhumuza fled Rwanda with her son to avoid being killed. While she was in Uganda, she adopted the ways of the Nyabingi religion, a religion that started after a former Queen's death.

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Queen Muhumuza took spiritual authority over this religion and gathered enough people around her to oppose Musinga's claim to the throne.

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Musinga could not defeat Queen Muhumuza alone, so he asked the German and British colonizers for help. The Nyabingi religion was adopted by oppressed people, allowing them to unite to fight against the oppressors under Musinga's rule and the foreigners who helped.

Queen Muhumuza's Influence

The Germans and British fought Queen Muhumuza and her followers from 1908-1920.

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Since outside forces were now involved, Muhumuza's movement became a fight against the colonizers, which increased her influence.

  • About 3,000 people joined her to benefit from the powers she was thought to have.

  • Her followers believed they would prosper and be invincible to bullets.

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During this time, practices were put into place to diminish her influence in the region, such as removing the Nyabingi religion and introducing Christianity. However, the Nyabingi continued to thrive and the religion is still practiced today by Rastafarians.

What We Can Learn From Queen Muhumuza

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1. Inspiration

Queen Muhumuza inspired many people by staying true to herself. She fought for a cause she believed in and justice for others. Despite the many obstacles she faced, her mentality never wavered. We can see her inspiration in the many people who lived around her and fought with her.

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2. Courage

She made history by being a woman standing up to men — the perpetrators of oppression and colonization in her region. She was able to show the power that women wield. In 1920, the Western Provincial Commissioner wrote to her jailers that letting her go would be a mistake, as she would continue causing an uprising in the region.

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3. Honor

She honored her ancestors and the Nyabingi religion. She showed her militancy in fighting the Germans, the British, and the Rwandans under Musinga's rule. She also provided hope, encouragement, and necessary resources to the oppressed people in the region.

Take Action

Queen Muhumuza was one of the many Africans that made history. To learn more about Queen Muhumuza, check out The African Exponent.

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To learn more about African and African-American history, check out these Bytes below.


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