NZinga, The Queen of Angola (The Movie). A review by Raïs Neza Boneza for the Intenational Women’s Day celebration

Title: Njinga, Rainha de Angola   (Nzinga, Queen of Angola)

Category: History

Duration: 109 Minutes

Director: Sergio Graciano

Release Year: 2013

Language: Portuguese & English


As all around the world we celebrate the Women’s achievements while calling for greater equality and more justice ;  I would like to revisit the historic figure and review the movie: Njinga, Rainha de Angola   (Nzinga, Queen of Angola). The movie premiered in July 2013 in Luanda, Angola. In general, artistically, the movie meet social and aesthetic goal by renewing the history of Queen Nzinga and provide a visualization of the sixteenth century Mbundu/Angola societal challenges in different or similar contexts.     Nzinga, Queen of Angola. The movie chronicle the life of one prominent woman oustanding achievements in the history of Angola and Africa at large. Queen Nzinga is a warrioress who for forty years fought for the independence of Ndongo and Matamba kingdoms (Angola) throughout the 17th century.

She was born in 1582. After the death of her brother, she became queen in 1624 at age 41. She placed women, including her two sisters Kifunji and Mukumbu, in strategic governmental positions. After the breached of the peace treaty by the Portuguese, she led an army largely composed by women and inflicted serious damages to the colonialists. Her goal was to conquer nearby kingdoms to build a confederation strong enough to drive out the Portuguese from Africa.  At the end, she accepted a cease-fire and a new peace treaty in 1635.


Known also as Anna da Souza Zhinga by the Portuguese, the Vice Roy Don Joao Correria hosted her. With her political skills, she managed to get the setbacks of foreign troops from the previously recognized borders and the respect of the sovereignty of Matamba (Angola). Deceitfully, the viceroy proposed that the free territory of the queen to be under the protection of the king of Portugal, which in reality meant paying a tax that involved the delivery of 12 to 13,000 slaves per year to the colonial administration. A proposal Anna Zhinga refused firmly. After the signature of the treaty, Queen Nzinga was able to rule successfully on the last free part of the country. Without heir to the throne, she was the last queen of pre-colonial Angola. Having ruled for thirty years in the 17th century, until her death at age 82.

Queen Nzinga of Angola has marked the emancipatory history of African women already sooner, previous the arrival of european invaders in central Africa.She was the last queen of pre-colonial Angola. Having ruled for thirty years in the 17th century, until her death at age 82, Anna Zhinga opposed strong resistance to the colonialist ambitions to subdue her kingdom.

The resistance of Queen Zhinga is a unique historical heritage for Africa. This struggle was result of the following concern: the respect for the institutions in place; to determine people beliefs and ideals; to defend of the ancestral lands; the awareness of equal cooperation but to ensure political, economic and cultural independence.

Since then, Angola became independent in 1975 and most of African nations. While celebrating international women’s day, Africa and the world need to be inspired and recapture the kind of emancipatory spirit of Queen Nzinga. We must celebrate our heroes and in this particular case and day “our she-roe” .  We must rank them as National heritage and heritage of humanity. We must teach our children (boys and girls) that the image of Queen Zhinga (one among many others) is to mimic if we want to love, protect and defend our community. We must teach our children –from early age – clearly and strategically- that Queen Nzinga valued cooperation under equality as the basis to build a fair society.

Happy Women’s Day !