There are many things to celebrate in Black Panther – the wealth of fantastic actors, the beautiful sets and costumes, and the compelling story line...
And the women.
[Mild spoilers ahead. You have been warned].
The fierce Dora Milaje warriors play an integral part in protecting King T’Challa of Wakanda. Made up entirely of women, these fighters form the backbone of the Wakanda kingdom.
Picture: (Black Panther screengrab )
They were created by Christopher Priest during his time writing for the Black Panther comics, and they were originally based on Naomi Campbell and Tyra Banks.
There is, however, an echo from history, in the form of the Ahosi of Dahomey, or the ‘Dahomey Amazons’.
The Ahosi were an all-female regiment created by King Houegbadja in the 19th century, in what was then the kingdom of Dahomey, now known as the modern-day Republic of Benin. The regiment was disbanded in the 20th century as part of French colonial expansion.
According to a Unesco project about the fierce soldiers, these women were often recruited as teenagers and lived in the royal palace.
They dedicated their efforts to weapons training, protecting the King and wars of conquest. There were different units, each with its own battle songs and uniform.
These fearsome women soldiers surpassed their male counterparts in courage and effectiveness in combat. They were particularly formidable in close combat and participated in Dahomey’s strategy of intimidation of its opponents.