Jos Repertory Theatre is coming back to Abuja with a landmark production of Wale Ogunyemi’s Queen Amina of Zazzau which is the remarkable epic on the life and times of the legendary Queen Amina of Zazzau.
Amina’s reign in the 16th century witnessed tremendous growth in territory, commerce and relationships with cities which Queen Amina conquered or which she forged friendships with. Her territory extended all the way from ancient Zazzau to the Sudan with the first markings of what later became the trans-Saharan highway. She exerted tributes of kolanuts, gold and slaves from territories that she conquered and from territories that wanted friendship with Zazzau.
Queen Amina’s reign witnessed a lot of infrastructural development and her reign pioneered the use of iron coat armour which was used by her soldiers in their military campaigns and conquests. The famous Zaria wall is attributed to her reign and ingenuity.
She was a remarkable leader who developed and built a court founded on justice and fairness. Her subjects also prospered during her reign and according to her – “you will prosper if you work hard as food does not grow on trees”.
Historically, she is not known to have married though a lot of Sultans and Chiefs desired her hand in marriage. She had only one sister, Zariya from an illustrious Queen mother, Barkwa Turunku who was Queen before Amina’s reign. The fact of her being single did not go down well with her subjects, some of whom also desired her hand in marriage and it was a relationship with one of her subjects which led to her untimely death after reigning for thirty four years.
She had a great weakness – any man who shared her bed was put to death through poison. This was the destiny she chose at her initiation into the cult. However, one of her warriors, shared her bed and escaped with the help of Amina’s most trusted maid. She gave him the antidote to counteract the poison administered by Amina.
To fulfil the prophecy, Amina chased the warrior to Atagara in present day Idah in Kogi State where she eventually died not fulfilling her aim of putting the warrior to death.
The production of Wale Ogunyemi’s Queen Amina of Zazzau which had its world premiere in 2000 will run for two days in Abuja at the Sheraton Hotel on Friday November 13th and Saturday November 14th in two performances daily at 4pm and 7pm.