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African Queens1

From fairy tales to beauty pageants, queens hold an iconic status in culture. Ironically, the knowledge of Africa’s present-day queens is non-existent. In order to raise awareness of their role and status, a delegation of Ghanaian queens stopped in Atlanta recently.

The honored guests were a group of four: Nana Ama Amissah, III, Paramount Queen of Mankessim and President of the Queens Association of the Central Region of Ghana, and three association Paramount Queen Mothers.

In Africa, queen mothers are female chiefs. They settle community disputes and lead traditional ceremonies. Queen mothers share equal power with chiefs and their bloodline determines the next royal heir.

When Ghana gained its independence in 1957, the National House of Chiefs was established to represent Ghana’s different regions. The government did not recognize the queens and they were left behind in the villages. After decades of fighting, the National House of Chiefs finally announced the inclusion of 20 queen mothers in the summer of 2010.

“Today, the queen mothers are re-connecting and returning their women’s voice to African society,” said Cynthia Hewitt, Morehouse Associate Professor of Sociology, and close friend of the queens.

During their stay, the queens gave a series of talks around the Atlanta University Center. They urged Morehouse, Spelman, and Clark Atlanta students to take advantage of the unique opportunities that their institutions offer and visit the motherland.

Morehouse first established a relationship with the kings and queens of Ghana through the Morehouse Pan-African Global Experience (MPAGE). MPAGE is a study abroad program that brings students to the motherland each summer. The program offers fully accredited courses with specific global and African themes led by program director, Dr. Cynthia Hewitt.

To learn about MPAGE’s trip to Ghana last summer and their first encounter with the queens, visit mpage1867.wordpress.com

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