Peggielene Bartels was born in Ghana in 1953 and moved to Washington, D.C., in her early twenties to work at Ghana's embassy. She became an American citizen in 1997. In 2008, she was chosen to be King of Otuam, a Ghanaian village of 7,000 souls on the west coast of Africa. A devout Christian, she lives in Silver Spring, MD, still works at the embassy, and spends several weeks each year in Ghana.
King Peggy: In Ghana, the Queen Mothers normally take care of welfare of children and women and then report to the king. And it depends upon theking. The king may react on it right away or they may take time.
If, for instance, I go and see things--for instance, the water part, where I saw the children going to get water 5:00 in the morning and they go to school sleeping--and I just come back to the king and say, “Listen, we have to do something about this thing. We have to go and solicit for funds to help the town. There is no running water, the children are suffering, and the hospitals are really bad.” And if you, the king, you know, take your time to do it, it means I’m going to fight the king all the time. And that makes me lousy queen.
But now that I’m really a king, it really helps me to be able to have the personality that I have to help the people. And that's why I’m really happy that they gave me this big piece of pie to eat.
Directed / Produced by
Jonathan Fowler & Elizabeth Rodd