Sarah Forbes Bonetta- The Yoruba Slave Who Became Queen Victoria’s Goddaughter

Thanks, Ope, for this wonderful retrieval of an interesting archival story.


TUESDAY, OCTOBER 31, 2017.   5:36 P.M. [GMT]


Sarah Forbes Bonetta (Davies) Sarah Forbes Bonetta (Davies)

Sarah Forbes Bonetta was originally born ‘Aina’ in 1843 to Egbado parents of the Yoruba ethnic group. Her father was the high chief of Oke-Odan, an Egbado village in western Nigeria, till he was killed in 1848 when King Gezo of Dahomey, one of the notorious slave raiders in the 19th century, raided his village. Sarah’s parents and siblings whose names are unknown were killed in the raid which turned Sarah, an Egbado princess, into a slave. Many of the villagers captured during the raid were made slaves and sacrificed to the gods of Dahomey but fortunately for Sarah, she was saved by the quick intervention of Captain Frederick E. Forbes, a British naval officer who was on a visit to Dahomey kingdom to persuade King Gezo to abolish slave trade. Captain Frederick E. Forbes persuaded King Gezo to present Sarah (then…

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2 Comments on “Sarah Forbes Bonetta- The Yoruba Slave Who Became Queen Victoria’s Goddaughter”

  1. Fatai Bakare Says:

    This story is one of the reasons why history should not be off our curriculum in schools as future generations will know about what happened in the past. This story about Sarah is good to read.



    • emotan77 Says:

      Dear Fatai,

      Thanks very much for this. What an apt linkage to the pig-headed – nay, insane is more like it – decision to scrap History from the curriculum!

      The agenda-setting policies in most areas of Nigerian life is beyond baffling but state governors do not have to follow-follow despite the mighty “federal” over-reaching tendencies.

      After all, Lagos State recently mandated the teaching of Yoruba Language in all schools within the state, public and private.

      As long as schools ensure that subjects mandated for the West African Exams are taught, I’m not sure there’s any “federal” law that makes such a move a violation of the so-called “federal schedule”; nothing should stop a state from returning History to the curriculum.

      I took US History as well as another course in American Government towards a degree in Business Admin, both of which – by the way – I thoroughly enjoyed and have found rewarding in later life if not for my professional career.

      I remember when I made a kid who was a Science Major take Literature as he was preparing for his WASC. He pointedly told me “Literature is for non-Science students, Auntie”. Well, I not only received a great letter informing me he was taking Eng. Lit from him when he went to attend Purdue in the States, he did what many kids in Yorubaland do with their first paychecks: he sent me a $50.00 bill.

      I’m not kidding!

      The type of “education” being imparted in Nigeria is pathetic at BEST, and leaves most university graduates uneducated at worst.

      Sincere regards,



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