3:42 pm - Monday November 16, 7435

The LOST NIGERIAN CHILD IN BRITAIN: EGBADO born YORUBA Princess, OMOBA SARA AINA sold into Slavery…Liberated from enslavement, adopted as god-daughter to Queen Victoria *Witnessed her parents death during attack, Ended up in court of King Ghezo as a slave at five years old, Renamed Sara Forbes Bonetta after the ship HMS Bonetta * Oke Odan native intended by her captors as a human sacrifice, Rescued by Captain Frederick E. Forbes of the Royal Navy, who convinced King Ghezo of Dahomey to give her to Queen Victoria *Married to Captain James Pinson Labulo Davies, a wealthy Victorian Lagos philanthropist at St Nicholas’ Church in Brighton, East Sussex *Sara, Bishop Samuel Ajayi Crowther were only Lagos indigènes the Royal Navy had standing orders to evacuate in the event of an uprising in Lagos *Died of Tuberculosis at age 37. Her grave number is 206 in the British Cemetery of Funchal near the Anglican Holy Trinity Church, Rua Quebra Costas Funchal, Madeira BY GEORGE ELIJAH OTUMU/AMERICAN FOREIGN BUREAU CHIEF

The LOST NIGERIAN CHILD IN BRITAIN:
EGBADO born YORUBA Princess, OMOBA SARA AINA sold into Slavery…Liberated from enslavement, adopted as god-daughter to Queen Victoria
*Witnessed her parents death during attack, Ended up in court of King Ghezo as a slave at five years old, Renamed Sara Forbes Bonetta after the ship HMS Bonetta
* Oke Odan native intended by her captors as a human sacrifice, Rescued by Captain Frederick E. Forbes of the Royal Navy, who convinced King Ghezo of Dahomey to give her to Queen Victoria
*Married to Captain James Pinson Labulo Davies, a wealthy Victorian Lagos philanthropist at St Nicholas’ Church in Brighton, East Sussex
*Sara, Bishop Samuel Ajayi Crowther were only Lagos indigènes the Royal Navy had standing orders to evacuate in the event of an uprising in Lagos
*Died of Tuberculosis at age 37. Her grave number is 206 in the British Cemetery of Funchal near the Anglican Holy Trinity Church, Rua Quebra Costas Funchal, Madeira

BY GEORGE ELIJAH OTUMU/AMERICAN FOREIGN BUREAU CHIEF

OMOBA SARA AINA was her name. She suffered humiliation, abandonment and disappointment, even whilst she was still a young girl at the age of five. She was a West African Egbado princess of the Yoruba people who was orphaned in inter-tribal warfare, sold into slavery and, in a remarkable twist of events, was liberated from enslavement and became a goddaughter to Queen Victoria in United Kingdom, UK.

Omoba Aina born in 1843 at Oke-Odan, an Egbado village did not enjoy her childhood. Barely five years later, her village-Oke-Odan was raided by a Dahomeyan army. In the melee, Aina’s parents died during the attack and she ended up in the court of King Ghezo as a slave at the age of five.
She was intended by her captors to become a human sacrifice, but was rescued by Captain Frederick E. Forbes of the Royal Navy, who convinced King Ghezo of Dahomey to give her to Queen Victoria: “She would be a present from the King of the Blacks to the Queen of the Whites” Forbes wrote later.
Forbes renamed her Sara Forbes Bonetta after his ship HMS Bonetta.

In 1850, Sara met the queen (Queen Victoria), who was impressed by the young princess’s exceptional intelligence whom she called Sally. The queen raised her as her goddaughter in the British middle class. A year later, Sara developed a chronic cough, which was attributed to the climate of Great Britain.

Her guardians sent her to school in Africa in May of that year, when she was aged eight, and she returned to England in 1855 at the age of 12. In January 1862, she was invited and attended the wedding of Queen Victoria’s daughter Princess Alice.

Sara Forbes Bonetta, otherwise spelled Sarah (1843 – 15 August 1880) in a remarkable twist of events, was liberated from enslavement and became a goddaughter to Queen Victoria. She was married to Captain James Pinson Labulo Davies, a wealthy Victorian Lagos philanthropist.
Queen Victoria later handed her out after she gave her permission to marry Captain James Pinson Labulo Davies at St Nicholas’ Church in Brighton, East Sussex, in August 1862 after a period that was to be spent in the town in preparation for the wedding. During her subsequent time in Brighton, she lived at 17 Clifton Hill in the Montpelier area.

Captain Davies was a Yoruba businessman of considerable wealth, and after their wedding the couple moved back to their native Africa, where they had three children: Victoria Davies (1863), Arthur Davies (1871), and Stella Davies (1873).

Sara Forbes Bonetta continued to enjoy a close relationship with Queen Victoria to the point such that she and Bishop Samuel Ajayi Crowther were the only Lagos indigènes the Royal Navy had standing orders to evacuate in the event of an uprising in Lagos.

Victoria Matilda Davies was also a goddaughter of Queen Victoria. She married the successful Lagos doctor John K. Randle. Many of her descendants (and her daughter’s) now live in either England or Sierra Leone, while a separate branch, the aristocratic Randle family of Lagos, remains prominent in contemporary Nigeria.

Death:
Sara Forbes Bonetta died of tuberculosis on 15 August 1880 in Funchal, the capital of Madeira, a Portuguese island. Her husband, Captain Davies, erected a granite obelisk-shaped monument more than eight feet high in memory of Sara Forbes Bonetta at Ijon in Western Lagos, where he had started a cocoa farm. The inscription on the obelisk reads:

IN MEMORY OF PRINCESS SARAH FORBES BONETTA

WIFE OF THE HON J.P.L. DAVIES WHO DEPARTED THIS LIFE AT MADEIRA AUGUST 15TH 1880

AGED 37 YEARS

Sara’s grave is number 206 in the British Cemetery of Funchal near the Anglican Holy Trinity Church, Rua Quebra Costas Funchal, Madeira. There is currently no headstone

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