Lady Hero: King Peggy

Peggielene Bartels is shaking things up. She’s a 59 year-old Ghana native who was called up to take charge of her old town, Otuam.

How did it happen? Peggy had been working in Washington D.C. for 30 years at the Ghana Embassy when she was phoned. Her uncle, who was king, had just died and she was to succeed him. 


She gave it a lot of thought and then decided to take on the job. They’ve given her the lifetime title as “king,” not “queen.” This was probably a clue as to what kind of male-chauvinistics hurdles Peggy would have to jump in order to rule.

But Peggy doesn’t suffer fools gladly. When she realized that she was being treated less than because she was a woman, she got tough. The Ghanian town of Otuam, suffered from a lack of money and corruption before she got there and this didn’t set well with her. Peggy has gone straight to work changing policy and pulling her people up. So far she’s succeeded in:

  • Making education affordable
  • Bring clean drinking water back to the town by setting up new working wells
  • Investigating fraudulent land deals
  • Appointing women to her council of elders
  • Treating domestic violence cases with more severity
  • Bringing back a taxation system on Otuam main source of income, fishing

Can you believe Peggy does all of this from out of country? She still lives here in the U.S. and visits Ghana occasionally.

I consider King Peggy my lady hero because of the common sense work she’s done in so little time. The things she’s done for her town, no man before has done her. What does she say in the face of misogyny? 
“Nobody should tell you, ‘You’re a woman; you can’t do it.’ You can do it. Be ready to accept it when the calling comes.”

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