Who is Iyoba Idia ?

Times of chaos and uncertainty sometimes uncovers inspirational leaders. There are many examples throughout history but not all receive their due recognition. Sometimes because of their gender, and sometimes because of the where they came from.

Iyoba Idia was a woman who was one of Africa’s pioneering leaders. The kingdom and the era she lived in was characterised by a deep-rooted male dominance of all things political. Her achievements are the envy of any leader, of any nation, in any era, and of any gender.

Iyoba Idia was of the Edo people and the Mother of Oba (King) Esigie, the Oba who ruled the Kingdom of Benin (now in modern day Nigeria) c1504 - c1550. Iyoba Idia was instrumental in facilitating her son Esigie’s victory over his brother Arhuaran to ascend to the throne of the Kingdom after the death of their father the Oba Ozolua.

In recognition of her contribution to the Kingdom, she was the first Queen Mother to be conferred with the title and political office of ‘Iyoba’. Her power, influence, and leadership was such that she has been referred to as ‘The Hidden Oba of Benin’. Her images, and achievements deserve truly global exposure. It still surprises me how many people who are familiar with her image as the Festac ’77 logo – but are unaware that the image is that of a woman, and what she represented.

She is the inspiration of our concept, and we feel honoured to be able to present her image to audiences, old and new, young and old, as a tiny part of contributing to her legacy. We hope that her story will inspire others from all walks of life... For more information/references about Iyoba Idia see:

Asiri Magazine (video):http://tinyurl.com/omy75xn

Rain Queens of Africa:http://tinyurl.com/cralrmm

Edo World: http://tinyurl.com/p2x86nz

British Museum: http://tinyurl.com/kucv5ks

Met Museum: http://tinyurl.com/zrsuasw

Culture in Development: http://tinyurl.com/o379fe4