Ancient Leaders: Queen Nefertiti

Ancient African leaders are considered the gods of the pre-colonial period. They ruled empires, kingdoms, and even countries acting as warriors, interveners, and also authority. Queen Nefertiti was one of the most powerful women of ancient Egypt who ruled alongside Pharaoh Akhenaten from 1353 to 1336 B.C. Although ancient rulers played a vital role in growing today’s Africa, they now only act as symbols due to colonialism.


Queen Nefertiti was born in c. 1370 BC in a town called Thebes. Her father was called Ay, who was a top adviser during king Tut’s error. However, there is no mention of her mother since she died before Nefertiti rose to power and Ay had already re-married Tey, who was now her stepmother. Nefertiti’s name meant ‘The beautiful woman has come’ which made many regard her as a person, not from this world. She later married Akhenaten, an Egyptian Pharaoh, and became the great royal wife (chief consort). They had six daughters in a period of ten years. During their reign, they moulded Egyptian religion to worship the sun god Aten. In this era, it was arguably the wealthiest period in Egypt.

Role and Accomplishments

  • Nefertiti represented the feminine and acted as a bridge. She represented women with power and helped unite the women with the men bringing cooperation and harmony to Egypt.
  • Akhenaten and Nefertiti ruled over the wealthiest period in Egypt’s history. During their reign, Egypt grew exponentially, with Armana, Egypt’s capital, then received an artistic boom.
  • Nefertiti achieved the title of the great royal wife since she was the favourite consort. She was seen attending various ceremonies with the king and also riding chariots. She was actively involved in leadership roles.
  • The queen helped inspire the propagation of a new religion. They made Egypt religious, where she was termed as a goddess of beauty and fertility.
  • Nefertiti ruled Egypt as the pharaoh. After the death of Akhenaten, she sat on the throne, making her the first woman ever to rule Egypt in that capacity. She even renamed herself Smenkhkare, and she wore a fake beard so as she could rule Egypt.

Nefertiti was an inspiration to most women in Egypt and also the modern woman. Her bust stood for beauty and power, which meant women could also be beautiful and powerful. She became an icon in Egypt and was among the ancient leaders in Egypt, where she thrived in an era surrounded by a lot of feminism and discrimination. Queen Nefertiti is believed to have committed suicide due to the death of on her daughters in C. 1330 B.C.

Like Nefertiti, many ancient leaders performed great wonders and ruled their kingdoms to great heights in the pre-colonial era. Although all communities all have old leaders, it is essential to learn about the great men and women who built the great cultural heritage that is Africa.

You can learn more about Queen Nefertiti at any of these additional sources:

The Mysterious Life and Death of Egypt’s Queen Nefertiti

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