First Female King in Ghana

I was tipped off by one of my fellow RPCVs (Return Peace Corps Volunteer), on this article in the Washington Post, All the King’s Men: As the first female ruler of Otuam, Ghana, Peggielene Bartels has had to deal with a legacy of corruption — and no shortage of sexism, about the first female King in Ghana.

She obviously has a tough job to take over, but she seems to be taking it with ease. Some of my favorite lines from the article reminded me of the spirit of Ghana.

For example, the late King is currently in a deep freezer where bodies are kept in Ghana for months to years to save for a bigger funeral and show how much money the family has (though I think far too much of it goes to the freezer instead of the family).

“If we give him a poor funeral, his spirit may become restless and vengeful,” she said. “So in the meantime he will stay in the fridge, which is fine, except for when the electricity goes off.”

In Ghana, the electricity goes off routinely.

Another favorite was the reminder of the great names of businesses in Ghana, “Gazing out the window as our taxi careened over potholes, I saw such enterprises as the By the Grace of God Brake and Clutch Center, the Jesus is our Savior Beer and Wine Pub, the Forget Your Wife Chop House and the Thanks Be to God Toilet Facilities.”

I was enstolled as Queenmother, with the title of Mama Dorfor Nenyo I, when I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Ghana. Checking out the photo gallery for her ceremony reminded me much of mine. I’m thinking I’ll have to see if there is some way I could meet her in the DC area, or perhaps in Ghana. It would be pretty cool.



  1. 'Drea on March 21, 2010 at 2:18 am

    Thanks for linking to that story.

    I love that she is King Peggy and that she lays down the law at the first council meeting:

    You must understand that my thoughts are those of a man,” she said. “I am as strong as a man. I am as smart as a man. I demand the absolute respect of a man. If you understand this, we will get along well.”

    Also, those are pretty cool Ghanaian business names especially the name of the pub.

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