Theodosia Okoh: Life, family, Ghana flag

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Theodosia Okoh was a commendable Ghanaian lady who positively impacted her country by designing the national flag. The black star she creatively placed at the center of the flag birthed the nickname of the the country’s national football team which is, ‘The Black Stars.’ Although she has passed away, the world continues to celebrate her for creative nature and her love for sports.

Quick facts about Theodosia Okoh

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On Tuesday, June 13 1922, the artistically inclined Theodosia Salome Okoh was born to Emmanuel Victor Asihene and Dora Asihene in Wenchi in the Bono Region of Ghana. Her parents were however from Anum in the Asuogyam District in the Eastern Region. She was the fourth out of eight children. As a renowned artist, her art pieces are on display in galleries across the globe. Here are some facts about her that might interest you:

Theodosia was a Presbyterian Church moderator’s daughter

Her father, Emmanuel Victor Asihene was a reverend and moderator of a Presbyterian church in Ghana’s Eastern Region.

Theodosia Okoh

She trained as a teacher before becoming a fine artist

Theodosia attended primary school at Ashanti Effiduse Primary school. She then moved to the Basel Girls Mission Middle, Senior, and Teacher Training Schools in Agogo. Afterwards, she attended high school at Achimota School where she had three years of training in Fine Arts. She became a teacher at Kukurantumi later on.

She produced teaching aids and motives

Based on the Department of Social welfare’s encouragement, she produced teaching aids to facilitate the education process and to motivate nursery pupils.

Theodosia Okoh designed the national flag

The symbolic red, gold, green and black colours which characterize the Ghana National flag, where carefully put together by Theodosia Okoh. This was done on the back of President Kwame Nkrumah’s decision to involve the citizens in designing a national flag after Ghana finally obtained independence in 1957. Her design was accepted on the 6th of March, 1957, and became the country’s official national flag. Speaking in an interview, she gave the background of her choice of colours for the flag, saying, “I decided on the three colours of red, gold and green because of the geography of Ghana. Ghana lies in the tropics and blessed with rich vegetation. The colour Gold was influenced by the mineral-rich nature of our lands and Red commemorates those who died or worked for the country’s independence.”

She loved games

Theodosia’s interests did not simply end at art. She greatly loved sports as well. This caused her to revolutionize hockey playing in Ghana. She also earned a position Chairperson of the Ghana Hockey Association. She eventually became the President of Ghana Hockey Federation and was in office for 20 successful years. Madam Theodosia led the Ghanaian hockey team to its first-ever appearance at the Hockey World Cup and Olympic Games. Additionally, she was a patron of the Ghana Sports Writers Association of Ghana (SWAG).

She has a stadium named after her

A Hockey stadium was named after Theodosia Okoh in 2004. The objective of this gesture was to acknowledge and appreciate her massive and positive contributions towards the country’s growth and development and sports. It was her persistence and devotion thats saved Hockey in Ghana. Ohene Djan named her the Joan of Arc of Ghana hockey.

She was a published author

She became a published author on her 80th birthday in 2002 after writing her autobiography. A decade later, she published a revised edition of her book.

She was a wife and mother

Her busy schedule did  not prevent her from having a normal life. She got married to Enoch Kwabena Okoh, the head of the Ghanaian civil service during Kwame Nkrumah’s  tenure of office. They brought forth three children.

Theodosia Okoh was a proud winner of awards

Theodosia was bestowed a national honour of a Grand Medal in the year 1997. This is among highest awards an individual could be received. It is earned by individuals who have made great contributions to national growth. Again, in 2004, she was honored and awarded by the National Sports Awards, the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation and the TV Africa series Obama Mbo.

Is Theodosia Okoh alive?

Although she has passed away, her legacy lives on. On the April 19, 2015, she was mourned and honored nationally following her demise. John Mahama, who was President at the time of her demise instructed that the national flag be flown at half-mast across the nation for three consecutive days. In addition, one of her grandchildren named Ian Jones-Quartey, an animator and director by profession, made an animated show based on her life.

Theodosia Okoh will always be remembered for her immense contributions to her country and the world at large. Till date, her artworks can be found in galleries and homes throughout the world.

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