Theodosia Salome Okoh
Theodosia Salome Abena Kumea Asihene
13 June 1922
|Died||19 April 2015 (aged 92)|
|Known for||Design of the flag of Ghana|
|Ghana national flag|
|Title||Chairman of the Ghana Hockey Association and President of the Ghana Hockey Federation|
|Spouse(s)||Enoch Kwabena Okoh|
|Parent(s)||Rev. and Mrs Asihene|
|Relatives||Ian Jones-Quartey (grandson)|
Theodosia Salome Okoh (13 June 1922 – 19 April 2015) was a Ghanaian stateswoman, teacher and artist known for designing Ghana's national flag in 1957. She also played a leading role in the development of hockey in Ghana.
Early years and education
She was born as Theodosia Salome Abena Kumea Asihene in Effiduase to the Very Reverend Emmanuel Victor Asihene, a former moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, and Madam Dora Asihene, both from Anum in the Asuogyaman District of Ghana's Eastern Region. She was the fourth of eight children.
She started school at Ashanti Efiduasi Primary School, continued to the Basel Mission Middle, Senior and Teacher Training Schools in Agogo and then Achimota School, where she received three years training in Fine Art.
When on Ghana's Independence from Britain the need for a new flag was advertised, she submitted her design, which was adopted as the national flag of Ghana by the country's first president Kwame Nkrumah from 6 March 1957. As she explained in an interview: "I decided on the three colors of red, gold and green because of the geography of Ghana. Ghana lies in the tropics and blessed with rich vegetation. The color Gold was influenced by the mineral rich nature of our lands and Red commemorates those who died or worked for the country’s independence. Then the five-pointed lone star which is the symbol of African emancipation and unity in the struggle against colonialism…."
Theodosia Okoh was the first female chairman of the Ghana Hockey Association and later President of the Ghana Hockey Federation for more than 20 years, and it was during her tenure that Ghana first qualified for both the Hockey World Cup and the Olympic Games. She was named "the Joan of Arc of Ghana hockey" by Ohene Djan "because she rose to the occasion to save Ghana hockey when men were faltering and vacillating about development of the game. This is also the reason why the National Hockey Stadium was named after her in 2004". She was a long-time patron of the Ghana Sports Writers’ Association of Ghana.
She was married to Enoch Kwabena Okoh, Head of Civil Service in the Kwame Nkrumah regime in the 1960s, and had three children: E. Kwasi Okoh, Stanley Kwame Okoh and Theodosia Amma Jones-Quartey.
She died on 19 April 2015 at the Narh-Bita Hospital in Tema after a short illness, aged 92. President John Dramani Mahama directed that all flags should fly at half mast for three days, starting from Tuesday, 21 April, in her honour. A statement signed by Minister of Communications Edward Omane Boamah said that the directive was "in honour of this extraordinary Ghanaian", further stating: "Government acknowledges Mrs. Okoh for her invaluable contributions to our nation building efforts. The instant recognition that our nation receives the world over through the unique flag that she designed for us has cemented her place in history as a colossus of Ghanaian history.... Her talent, zeal and sense of duty to Ghana will continue to offer inspiration for Ghanaians and serve as a reference point in service to the nation."
Theodosia Okoh was awarded the Grand Medal (GM) by the nation, and a number of awards from other institutions in the country. She received a citation from the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation and the National Sports Awards in 2004, as well as award from the Sports Writers’ Association of Ghana and an award from the TV Africa series Obaa Mbo.
- The Accra hockey pitch is named after her in recognition of her contribution to the game,and in 2013 a resolution was overturned to rename the Theodosia Okoh Hockey Stadium.
- The Asuogyaman District Assembly in the Eastern Region has erected a bust in her honour at Anum, her hometown.
- Okoh's grandson, animator/director Ian Jones-Quartey, based the character Nanefua Pizza in the Cartoon Network animated show Steven Universe on her.
- Charles, Andoh. "Theodosia Okoh turns 92 and still flies high the flag of Ghana". graphic.com.gh. Retrieved 13 June 2014.
- "Theodosia Okoh dies at age 92". Citifmonline. 20 April 2015. Archived from the original on 27 April 2015. Retrieved 19 April 2015.
- "Madam Theodosia Okoh - Joan Of Arc Of Ghana Hockey". Justice Ghana. Retrieved 14 August 2013.
- "5 Things We Should All Know About Theodosia Okoh, The Woman Who Designed The Ghana Flag" Archived 2015-04-22 at Archive.today, NewsAfricaNow.
- Kofi Ata, "Oko Vanderpujie, Theodosia Okoh Deserves Better", GhanaWeb, 28 July 2013.
- "Mrs Theodosia Salome Okoh", The Loom Gallery.
- "The Designer Of Ghana National Flag, Theodosia Okoh Is Dead", Ghanagist, 20 April 2015.
- "Ghana Flag", GhanaIsGood.com.
- "Mrs Theodosia Okoh: The Woman Who Designed The Ghanaian Flag", African Celebs.
- "Flag of Ghana: The Meaning of the Flag", GhanaWeb.
- Professor Emeritus Ivan Addae Mensah, Former Vice-Chancellor of University Of Ghana, Legon, "Don’t Deny Mrs Okoh of her Honour", in The New Crusading Guide, 26 July 2013; quoted in Kofi Ata, "Oko Vanderpujie, Theodosia Okoh Deserves Better", GhanaWeb, 28 July 2013.
- Samuel K. Obour, "Hockey Stadium reverts to Theodosia Okoh on President’s orders", Graphic Online, 25 July 2013.
- "Theodosia Salome Okoh, Ghana’s Illustrious Daughter", Flex Newspaper, 29 January 2017.
- "Ghana flag designer Theodosia Okoh dies", Daily Guide, 20 April 2015.
- "Flags to fly at half mast in honour of Mrs Theodosia Okoh", Government of Ghana.
- "Flags flying at half mast for Theodosia Okoh, designer of Ghana national flag", Ghana Business News, 22 April 2015.
- Godwin Akweiteh Allotey, "Ghana flags at half-mast in honour of Theodosia Okoh", citifmonline.com, 21 April 2015.
- 122108447901948 (2013-07-25). "Hockey Stadium reverts to Theodosia Okoh on President's orders". Graphic Online. Retrieved 2019-03-16.
- Kofi Thompson, "Bravo to those who helped retain the name Theodosia Okoh Hockey Stadium", GhanaWeb, 26 July 2013.
- Theodosia Okoh, IAN JQ dot com, Tumblr, 27 April 2015.
- "Mrs. Theodosia Salome Okoh Profile", GhanaWeb.
- "Theodosia Okoh Is Dead", Peace FM, 20 April 2015. Includes flashback audio interview by Kwami Sefa Kayi.
- "Mrs Theodosia Okoh: The Woman Who Designed The Ghanaian Flag", African Celebs (including video interviews).