Do you know these ancient queens of East Africa?
The Queens of the Swahili Seas is a research project by Shujaa Stories that aimed to unearth legendary women from the Kenyan coast, focusing on the Swahili community.
The completion of this project could not have been accomplished without the immense support of British Council, the National Museums of Kenya through the Keeper of Coastal Region; Athman Mohammed, our lead researcher Julias Juma Ogega, the curator of Lamu Museum Sites and Monuments; Mohammed Ali Mwenje, Lamu Fort Librarian; Khadija Issa and a community elder in Lamu; Ahmed Salmin.
The Swahili and their Culture, H.S Elma-awy (2013) defines the name Mwana as a name of respect; it is given to a great woman of good character, a famous woman, a woman saint, a child of a king or queen or a child of a patrician with respect and high status.
“As we walk the sandy shores and hear the whispers of the wind, we remember these legendary queens who once ruled over the islands of Lamu. Their names may have faded, but their spirits endure, forever woven into the fabric of this captivating land.”