Sartorial commemoration of Princess Yennenga through Wiyaala’s War Costume Mimicry
Keywords:Mimicry, Princess Yennega , sartorial commemoration, war costume, Wiyaala
History is an invaluable reflective resource for progressive national development. In Africa, various studies have delved into the memory lane to identify and commemorate past heroic or iconic figures for their diverse contributions to shaping the destinies of societies and nations. However, such commemorative studies are inexhaustive, as many unsung heroic or iconic figures still abound. One such unsung heroic figure is Princess Yennenga. The current study sets out to sartorially commemorate Princess Yennenga’s iconography by delving into Wiyaala mimicry of Princess Yennenga’s war costume regalia for a teaser movie shot by Mothertongue in Ghana. It adopted the methodological blueprint of qualitative historical design, with Wiyaala as the principal and homogeneous respondent purposively sampled and interviewed. An in-depth historical and thematic analysis of primary and secondary data found Princess Yennenga to be a warrioress of northern Ghanaian origin and the emblematic founding mother of the Mossi Kingdom in Burkina Faso. It was also established that the materiality, accessories, and props that constituted Wiyaala’s dramatic mimicry of Yennenga’s war costume were locally self-constructed. The study concludes that the wild, dramatic character projected by Wiyaala through her self-constructed war costume symbolically reimaged Princess Yennenga’s warrioress identity and thereby contributes to commemorating Yennenga’s heroic legacies in the historical development of the Dagomba and Mossi Kingdoms of Ghana and Burkina Faso, respectively. It will, therefore, be plausible if similar sartorial commemorative studies are conducted on other unsung heroic/iconic figures to highlight the instrumentality of costume art in heroic and iconic identity construction.
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