Nzingha: Warrior Queen of Matamba

by Patricia C. McKissack Part of the Royal Diaries Series

Patricia McKissack delivers a lively fictionalized account about a real young woman... read more

Patricia McKissack delivers a lively fictionalized account about a real young woman who was a member of the ruling family of the Mbundu tribe in what is now Angola. Set over 12 months in 1595 and 1596, the diary-format narrative features 12-year-old Nzingha, oldest daughter of the Ngola, or tribal leader. Nzingha is a skilled hunter and wishes her adored father, Papa Kiluanji, would consider her worthy of one of his hunting parties. But that honor goes to her younger half-brother, the firstborn son who will someday become Ngola. When Nzingha challenges her father to take her more seriously, she expects a reprimand. Instead, he includes her in the hunt and gives her the opportunity to prove herself by representing him in the Mbundu’s talks with the Portuguese. The Portuguese hope to negotiate a peace agreement that will require the Mbundu to capture other Africans for the slave trade. On that important mission, Nzingha witnesses how inhumanly the slaves are treated and vows to not be a part of it. An epilogue picks up where the diary ends, describing how Nzingha did indeed become a leader of her people and eventually did refuse to collaborate with the Portuguese in the slave trade. The text also offers some facts about life in Angola, historical drawings, photographs of artifacts, a glossary, and a historical note. (Ages 9-12)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2001

show less