This famous speech of King Béhanzin is the last strong message he gave on January 20, 1894, in homage to his army which he always praised the courage, and bravery of the soldiers and amazons. For the original, click here. Since this is such an important piece of African history, I decided to translate his farewell speech into english. Enjoy!
“Fellow sufferers, last faithful friends, you know the circumstances under which, when the French wanted to grab the land of our ancestors, we decided to fight.
We had the certitude to lead our army to victory. When my warriors rose by the thousand to defend the Danhomè and his king, I recognized with pride the same bravery manifested by those of Agadja, of Tégbessou, of Ghézo, and of Glèlè. I was by their sides in all the battles.
Despite the legitimacy of our cause, and our courage, our compact troops were decimated in an instant. They could not defeat the white enemies whom I also praise the courage and discipline. And already my weeping voice arouses no more echo.
Where are now my ardent amazons who were inflamed by a mighty anger?
Where are their indomitable chiefs: Goudémè, Yéwê, Kétungan?
Where are their robust captains: Godogbé, Chachabloukou, Godjila?
Who will praise their splendid sacrifices? Who will tell about their generosity?
Since they sealed the pact of supreme loyalty with their blood, how could I accept any sort of abdication without them?
How could I dare presenting myself in front of you, brave warriors, if I signed the general’s paper?