never let the Story be told without following the proper rituals.
After the evening meal, he made an offering of palm wine on the
sacred stone at the head of the fire pit and then he built a large
fire. The village fetish priest put on his feathers and danced away
the evil spirits. At last Grandmother walked out and took her seat
near the Stone. We sat around her in the fire’s warmth while she
told the story of our ancestor, the great Prophetess who fought to
save our tribe from the slave masters.
She always began with prayers,
to Nyame the Creator and to the Goddess, Asase Ya, embodied in our
“Mother, sing me a song. A song that
will ease our pain, mend broken bones, bring wholeness again. A song
that will catch our babies when they are born, sing our death songs,
teach us how to mourn. Show us the medicine of the healing herbs,
the value of the holy Spirit. Mother, heal our hearts that we may
serve you, for you are the Tree of Life for us.”
Then in soft words she told us
the story of the Mother of our Nation, Kisa, the greatest Sorceress
who had ever lived, and how she saved our tribe three hundred years
“Many tribes disappeared in the
terrible time of the slave forts,” she began. “The people did not
fight back and the price for slaves was so great that the slave
masters took everyone. Only those that hid or became part of the
Evil survived. We were among those who chose to hide and then,
because of Kisa, to fight back.”
“The tribes most
in danger were those closest to the White Devils’ forts where they
bought the people and sent them to the land across the sea. We are
only a day’s walk from the great Slave Castle, Elmina. We could have
disappeared across the sea with the rest, but for the Sorceress…”
A hush fell over
us as she continued.
“She was the
Mother of our Nation but she began life as a child, as do we all…”
African Sorceress: War on the Sahel is one woman’s fight against
the evil Atlantic slave trade. It is based on an oral tradition
story the author heard in Africa. It takes place in the 1600’s in
what is now Ghana. The heroine is Kisa, who we first meet in African
Sorceress: A Warrior is Forged. Her village is raided by slave
traders who sell their captives to the Dutch slave masters in the
infamous Elmina slave castle. Kisa trains to be a sorceress and a
warrior and leads her people to victory against the slavers.
In War on the Sahel, Kisa and her lover Kojo take the war beyond
their village. They infiltrate the slave castle, lead a mutiny on a
slave ship, take a Portuguese trading fort and build an army to
fight the African slave traders who arre supplying the Europeans.
The action is fast paced, the story is credible, exciting and
imaginative and it’s a great way to learn a largely untold history.
The story is heroic fantasy but wrapped within the fantasy are
the facts of 17th century Africa and the damage the slave
trade caused to the proud independent peoples represented in Kisa’s
Army. We meet the tribes that make up her army of freed captives,
representing many distinct cultures, languages, customs and
spiritual traditions. These oral traditions were just as deep, rich
and complex as those of cultures with written languages.
What reviewers said about African Sorceress: A Warrior is Forged
“Skeel has done a fantastic job taking on such a huge and largely
“A really original story, unlike anything I've read before. A lot
of research must have gone into this book to weave so many threads
of history, anthropology, and geography into the tale. Read it for
fun or read it to learn about a part of history most of us have
never heard of -- either way you'll enjoy it.”
“Skeel immerses you into the world of the Atlantic slave trade
from a perspective that is rarely--if ever--told. Skeel masterfully
balances being as informative as any historian while being as
entertaining as the best storytellers”
M. E. Skeel is the author of several Australian wildlife
adventure books. Her first venture into historical fiction was
Framed! A Young Boy’s Fight to Survive in the Wild Australian Bush.
She loves to travel and while in Africa in 2014, she visited Elmina
slave castle and heard the oral tradition story of a great
prophetess who saved her people from the slave traders with the use
of magic. Ever since, she has been obsessed with the character of
Kisa and the history of West Africa, its peoples and the fight
against the slave trade.
THE SENTINEL TREE
higher!” The taunts followed her up the tree but she ignored them.
She was going to the top without their help. At three years old she
was as light as a feather and her hands and feet had a fearsome grip
when life depended on it.
Higher she climbed up
the swaying branches of the half-dead giant. She climbed above the
peaked thatch roofs of the village huts, above the surrounding
forest until she could see to the ends of her world. In every
direction the forest went on forever, covering the lines of hills as
far as she could see.
The world’s wind was
strong up here and whipped through her curly hair. It swayed the
branches to and fro and she heard one crack. She felt invincible,
one with the gods of earth and air and fire.
She looked above her
and stared at the great black spear that was the top of the
lightning-struck old tree. This was why she had climbed so high
through the living part of the tree, to see it and touch it.
For half its height,
the tree branched out into many leafy green branches snaking out in
all directions; a tree of life covered this time of year in small
but beautiful creamy white flowers. But above that the tree was
dead, all branches blown away by the force and flames of the
Kisa was standing on
the highest leafy branch and clinging to the base of the great black
spear that dwarfed her in its size, rising so high that she imagined
it touched the sky. She longed to climb further but it was too
smooth - hardened to steel by the lightning the night that the old
great-grandmother rode on the wings of the owl to find it.
She imagined it all:
the desperate journey to find a safe place for her people, the great
storm rising ‘til great grandmother thought she would drown, then
the lightning coming from the sky god himself to show her the tree
that would lead them to safety…
Suddenly the sound of
the wind in the leaves turned to words. “Akwaaba” the tree whispered
to her. “Welcome.”
“You speak!” the child
said, forgetting to answer the greeting politely. She felt welcomed
The leaves whispered
back to her but she could not understand it.
“Come down now, child!”
Grandmother’s voice rang out from below. It allowed for no argument.
She made her way slowly back to earth.
“I will come back,
brother tree,” she whispered as she reached the lowest branch. The
tree shivered as she leaped to the ground and as she ran she heard a
deep voice echo behind her: “You… Akwaaba… always...”
The laughter of the
children followed her as Grandmother took her by the hand and led
her back to her hut. “Are you angry, Grandmother?” she asked as they
“No, Kisa. I was proud
of you. To go all the way to the top! And at your age… you are very
clever… But it is not wise to taunt the gods for too long. They may
choose to prove you are mortal and cast you back down. What did you
see up there?” She asked as she sat down by the cook pot and cuddled
the girl in her lap.
“Oh Grandmother, I
could see the whole world!”