Long live the Queenmother!

The passing of Mama Afi Sarah Hodogbey Adokuwa marks the end of an era, a long reign of serving the people of the Dorfor Traditional Area, which includes Dorfor Adidome, the community I served as a Peace Corps Volunteer (1999-2001).

The video above is from December 1, 2023, as the opening paying tribute to Mama Afi. Funerals are the most significant cultural events in Ghana, where the entire community will be paying respects for this full upcoming weekend, led by master of ceremonies, my dear friend Zao Prince. Wake-keeping will be paid for the duration of the celebration, with all night drumming and celebration of the life and gifts that Mama Afi contributed to her community. In her funeral announcement, below, you can see that she lived to the old age of 104, with 4 children, 34 grandchildren, and 68 great grandchildren.

Donations to the family, for the cost of the funeral are welcome. Any amount is meaningful and deeply appreciated.

I was enstooled by Mama Afi, as a Queenmother of Dorfor Adidome in 2001, with the title of Mama Dorfor Nenyo I. Being enstooled as a Queenmother is an honor I respect deeply, representing the connection and contribution I made during my two years living in this village, located in the Volta Region of Ghana. This is a rare honor for a foreigner; I was the only female honored in my cohort of Peace Corps.

As Queenmother, part of my responsibility is helping to contribute to the elaborate funeral. I have sent a meaningful amount, for me at this time, but the funeral costs will exceed the means of family. If you feel called to help this community celebrate the life of a leader who also meant a lot to me, personally, please consider a donation.

Mama Afi can be seen, second to the left in her distinguished royal blue kente cloth, next to my “Stool Girl” Gifty Kadugbe.

Enstoolment of Mama Dorfor Nenyo I, September 2001

aka Ama Woesta, aka Miel

You might ask, what is a Queenmother? A Queenmother, in Ghana, is akin to a female counterpart to the chief, primarily responsible for advocating for the wellbeing of women and children. However, what is good for women and children is arguably what is best for the betterment of the community at-large. A stool girl is designated to be there in support of the Queenmother, helping carry her stool, dress her for ceremonies, and carry out the responsibilities of the Queenmother.

My respect goes out to the community, and to Prince Zao, former Assemblyman, who will be performing the master of ceremonies this Sunday, December 3, 2023.

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