5 African Kings and Queens Well-Worth Making Movies About

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King Hannibal

King Hannibal

by Barry Burch Jr.

Nick Cannon took the words out of the mouths of many when he voiced his opinion about the lack of movies geared towards uplifting black people.  Why is there not more Black films based on the Great African Kings and Queens of which there are many, he questioned.

Your Black World agrees with the actor’s sentiments.  Here is a list of 5 prominent African Kings and Queens that would make remarkable figures to center movies around.

1.  King Hannibal

This King was the greatest military leader and strategist to ever have lived.  Born in 247 B.C., Hannibal was engaging in war as early as the age of nine.  In his adulthood he had 80,000 infantry, 12,000 cavalry, and 40 African war elephants, as reported by AtlantaBlackStar.  Hannibal successfully conquered all of Italy, outside of Rome, and substantial parts of Spain and France.

One of the most famous stories about Hannibal involved his unique military tactics, which include marching an army of war elephants through the Alps.  He did this to catch his enemies off guard.  Once, Romans put 80,000 soldiers on the battlefield to kill Hannibal and his army.  However, Hannibal was a passionate student of war, and was able to organize his warriors and elephants so that they would have the upper-hand; and they did.  The roman soldiers were trampled and slaughtered to death.

Following a long battle with the Romans, Hannibal was eventually overthrown.  He took his own life so that he would not be captured and kept as a prisoner.

2.  King Mansa Musa I (Emperor Moses)

This Malian king, ruled from 1312 to 1337, expanding the Mali influence across three city-states, including Timbuktu, Gao, and Djenne.

In today’s currency, Musa would have been worth $400 billion.  This fact makes Musa the richest man to have ever lived.  He gained his wealth through the rich resources that can be found in Mali, which include gold, salt and ivory.  During this time, these were the key resources throughout the entire world.

Musa also played a major role in the success of the University of Timbuktu, which is the world’s first university and the major learning institution, as reported by AtlantaBlackStar.  Timbuktu was the place for poets, scholars and artists of Africa and the Middle East.

3.  Shaka, King of the Zulus

This King was born in 1787.  He was a strong leader and military force, and is most favorably remembered for revolutionizing 19th century Bantu fighting.  Shaka organized his military by age and he trained them to properly handle standardized weapons and use special tactics.

Shaka also invented the “assegai,” a short stabbing spear.   With his many tools and fierce fighting, enemies would run at the very sight of him.  Shaka formed a force of more than a million people and united tribes across South Africa.  Together, they were able to fight against European colonial rule.

4.  Queen Nzingha or “Amazon Queen of Matamba”

This Queen, born in West Africa in 1583 was an effective diplomat and a formidable leader of the military.  When the slave-hunting Portuguese attacked her brother’s kingdom, it was she that was chosen to go and negotiate peace.  She was successful and praised for her diplomacy.  She was able to do this even though her brother and only child were killed in the attack.

Eventually; however, the Queen would form her own army and fight against the Portuguese.  The war would last almost 30 years.  During these years Queen Nzingha connected with the Dutch and combined forces, marking the first African-European alliance against a European oppressor, as reported by AtlantaBlackStar.  Though Queen Nzingha was later exiled, she remained a strong inspiration to her people.

5.  “Makeda” or “Belkis” or “The Queen of Sheba”

This Queen is known for her journey to Jerusalem to see the great King Solomon.

When the two did meet, they were impressed with each other.  The two had a son together, Menelik.  She is said to have ruled over Sheba, Arabia and Ethiopia.  She built the capital of Sheba, Debra Makeda, all for herself.

The Queen of Sheba is part of Ethiopia’s national heritage.  She is also mentioned in the Bible and the Quran.


Barry is a scholar, who enjoys writing, arithmetic and politics.  Reach him @ Barryburchjr@gmail.com 

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