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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:A Yoruba Woman Remembers Servitude in a Palace of Dahomey in the Reigns of Kings Glele and Behanzin
Author:Morton-Williams, Peter
Periodical:Africa: Journal of the International African Institute
Geographic term:Benin
Subjects:Dahomey polity
oral history
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Women's Issues
History and Exploration
Cultural Roles
Sex Roles
External link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/1161300
Abstract:A Yoruba woman in the Ketu-Yoruba town of Meko, in western Nigeria, gave an interview in January 1951 to the anthropologists William R. Bascom and Paul Mercier, in which she talked of her time in Dahomey (today Benin) as a servant in Simboji palace, some sixty years earlier. The conversation was written down by the author of this article and is offered to mark the centenary of the destruction of Abomey in 1992. She had served two mistresses, both of the same high rank. The first had committed suicide on the death of Glele, and the other she had served throughout the reign of Béhanzin, during the defence against the French campaign led by General Dodds and the time of refuge in the north of the kingdom until the king's surrender. She had seen the king shut in a cage before his exile, when she had returned home. She gave new information about the ranking of royal wives, how they were ordered in groups, and the cries announcing their approach when out of the palace. The article ends with notes identifying places mentioned, matching Fon and Yoruba names, and relating her story to published accounts of the events. Bibliogr., sum. in English and French.