In order to boost development through tourism, the Chief and Kingmakers of Lafa have installed two new Queen mothers for the community; who clothed with the responsibility of bringing total development to the area.
At a colourful ceremony held to install the two new queen mothers at Lafa, the chief of Ngleshie Alata Barima Lafa, Nii Ayi Okufoubour II, said the newly crowned queen mothers will assist him in making Lafa a tourism hub in Ghana.
According to him, the role of Queen mothers are unique to the development of any community, hence the decision to install the two beautiful women, Naa Dede Ansah I and Naa Korkore Tiapa I, as Nifahemaa and Nkosuohema respectively.
Nii Ayi Okufoubour II also averred that Queen Mothers are responsible providing wise counsel to the chief and his elders, rallying all women together, and keeping an eye on the social conditions within the society.
He also pointed out that Queen Mothers in Ghana have reclaimed and modernized their traditional role, bringing social and economic changes across the country.
Naa Korkore Tiapa I the newly installed Nkosuohema of Lafa in an interview said, “We are called Queen Mothers because as Queens we are partners to the chiefs and as Mothers, we are looking after the whole community.”
Queen Mothers are traditional female leaders, drawn from the relevant royal lineages, who are mostly responsible for women’s and children’s issues in their respective communities. In the south, this tradition has existed for centuries, along with chieftaincy, the pre-colonial institution of governance. Colonialists, however, by-passed the Queen Mothers, negotiating only with the chiefs, so their influence dwindled. After independence, the new government didn’t include them in the institutions representing the regions and their role became mostly ceremonial.
Over the past few years, however, as they became better educated and connected, Queen Mothers have started to reclaim their traditional role – and modernize it. They see it as a valuable tool for women empowerment and development in their communities and whole country.
Today, most villages, clans and regions of Ghana have a Queen Mother. It is estimated there are some 10,000 of them across the country. They each have their own vision and priorities for their communities. In the villages we have visited, we have seen programmes on everything from climate change, girls’ education and teenage pregnancy to sanitation, HIV, income generation and more.
This emerging approach to women leadership in Africa is exciting, but surprisingly little known. This is a timely, positive story that can offer a more inclusive model of development and an inspiration to similar societies.