King Peggy (Ghana)


King Peggy is a memoir written by Peggielene Bartels and Eleanor Herman. It tells the story of King Peggy’s first two years as king, and what she did to change the village that she is king over.

This is a simple but well written book, that shows the struggles in changing a village and the minds of a people. It all starts with a late night phone call, and thus her kingship begins.

Unlike western culture she is not crowned but enstooled. There are two stools, a public one and then the stool that represents her spirit. That is kept lock up in a room with all the other stools from past kings. This leads into the way people in her village view religion. There is the honoring of local gods and goddesses, as well as the western Jesus. Both are respected and held in honor.

After the enstooling, there is something called a Gazetting. The gazetting is where the other kings admitted King Peggy to the Counsel of Kings and her name gets put in all the local papers. That is where the term gazetting came from.

One of the biggest things that she had to face was the corruption of the Elders on her counsel. They had been stealing the tax money for years and so the repairs for the palace, and the funeral for the last king all had to come out of Peggy’s pocket. Her money from working as a secretary at the embassy of Ghana in Washington D.C.  How she handled all of the obstacles that came her way show that when the Schnapps steamed up it chose the right person to be king.

As I was reading this book I wrote down some words that seemed to be a prevalent theme in it. Those words are bribe, hope, corruption, keystone cop. This last one has to do with the funeral of the king in the fridge. That is all I am going to say about that. You have to ask me or read the book. Read the book, it is better in her words.


“. . . which we haven’t done since the late king in the fridge went to the village to cure himself.”

“We are poor in gadgets, but rich in so many other ways. And America, despite all it’s riches, and despite all the buttons you can push there, is in some respects poor.”

“I am going to squeeze you balls so hard your eyes will pop out.”


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