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Nana Afia Dokuaa

Nana Afia Dokuaa (?-?)

First Woman Ruler of Eastern Ghana

During Black History Month 2014, the Center for the Church and the Black Experience is honoring faithful Black women freedom fighters. Today we honor Nana Afia Dokuaa.

During the early 19th century, Nana Afia Dokuaa ascended to leadership as both King and Queenmother of Ghana.  To date, she is the only female who has held those positions simultaneously.   

In 1817, instead of a male heir of her uncle taking the reins of leadership, Nana Dokuaa ascended the Ofori stool to become the 24th Okyenhene (King) and the Ohemaa (Queenmother) of Okyeman (Akyem Abuakwa) (Ghana) from 1817 to 1835.  She continued the tradition of resisting the overlordship of the Asantes (against whom she battled 99 times) and participated in an anti-Asante alliance of coastal chiefs and the British administration.  Nana Dokuaa led the Akyem Abuakwa contingent in 1826 during the battle of Katamanso, and in 1831, was instrumental in the allied victory at Datamanso and the subsequent treaty that same year that freed Ghana from Asante suzerainty.  

Queenmother Dokuaa organized towns and villages into their current divisions for war and administration purposes.  She also labored to prevent revolts and divisions in her kingdom.

As a warrior, Nana Dokuaa also led several other campaigns, including the Gyadam War.  After a quarrel with the Kotokuhene (rulers), she ordered various soldier troops to force the Kotokus from Gyadam.  Because the neighboring Kwabenghene allowed them to depart peacefully, there was no violence.

The birth of royal male twins to Nana Dokuaa and her husband, Barima Twum Ampofo, inspired the ongoing celebration of "ABAM" (The Twins Day), which is celebrated annually; all twins in Ghana attend.  

Nana Dokuaa’s accomplishments have been immortalized in songs praising her achievements.

Sources:

Compiled by Rhonda K. Craven

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