Victoria Zormelo-Gorleku

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Rev. Mrs. Victoria Ama Zormelo-Gorleku (born 14 September 1907, Keta) was the first woman Prisons Officer in Ghana, and the first ordained woman priest in any of the established Mission Churches in Ghana.[1]


Victoria Ama Zormelo (affectionately called "Antima"), an Ewe, was the second daughter of Godfred Nyavor Zormelo, a former North German Mission employee and fishing magnate from Tegbi, and Emilia Tornyewonya Ablawo Tamakloe, a bread and cake seller. Charity Zormelo was her older half-sister.[1]

Educated at the local AME Zion school, she gained employment for the District Commissioner in 1927 and was the only woman to pass the Civil Service Entrance Examination in May 1927. Posted to the Department of Posts and Telegraphs at Accra, she gave up her job upon marriage to a Mr Godfred Gorleku of Adafoah, but was left widowed and pregnant within a year. Having lost her husband when five months pregnant, she had no choice but to return to her family at Keta, where she gave birth to her first child Alberta Olivia Gorleku. Returning to work in 1932, for the Department of Posts and Telegraphs at Koforidua, she resigned again to marry a Mr George Kojo Deh of Leklebi, Dugah, a clerk in the District Commissioner's Court, Koforidua, in a customary Ewe ceremony later that year, and had two more children; Love-Grace Amedome Deh on October 31, 1933 and George Kojoga Deh on June 03, 1935. She never did take her new husband's name.

In 1941, her second husband died and, again she was forced to return to her family at Keta. A widow for the second time and single mother to three small children, she desperately needed to get back to work, so later that year, she joined the Gold Coast Prisons Service at Ho as a temporary matron at the female prison and subsequently obtained a transfer to Keta Prisons. Rising quickly through the ranks, she was transferred to the James Fort maximum security prison in Accra where she continued to excel, becoming the first female Prisons Superintendent, in November 1963.[1]

Upon her retirement from the now Ghana Prisons Service in 1967, Victoria Zormelo-Gorleku trained for the Christian ministry and on 21 April 1970 she was ordained Deaconess by Bishop W. H. Hilliard, becoming the first woman priest of the AME Zion Church in Ghana.


  1. ^ a b c Amenumey, D. E. K. (2002). "Rev Mrs Victoria Ama Zormelo-Gorleku". Outstanding Ewes of the 20th Century: Profiles of Fifteen Firsts. Accra: World Publishing Services. pp. 170–176. ISBN 9964-978-83-9.