Theodosia Okoh: little-known facts about the Ghana national flag designer

Theodosia Okoh: little-known facts about the Ghana national flag designer

Ghana's history will be incomplete without mentioning a veteran artist like Theodosia Okoh. She was the woman who designed the country's national flag. Besides her artistic prowess, she was also respected for her teaching skills and love for sport.

Theodosia Okoh
Theodosia Okoh displaying Ghana's national flag. Photo: @ThisIsAfricaTIA
Source: Twitter

Theodosia's impact on the country is a significant thing that makes her name linger on most Ghanaians' minds. She made the red, yellow, and green with star flag. Apart from her love for sport, the Ghana black stars she added to the flag inspired the country's national football team nickname, the Black Stars. Today, the name is held in great esteem all over the world.

Quick facts about Theodosia Okoh

Theodosia Salome Okoh was born on Tuesday, 13th of June, 1922, in Wenchi. As a renowned artist, her art pieces have been exhibited in different nations of the world. Besides, she produced paintings and sketches in watercolour and oil colour. Additionally, she created several collages of feathers and corn stalk. Here are some interesting facts about her.

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Theodosia was a Presbyterian Church moderator's daughter

The amazing woman was born to Emmanuel Victor Asihene and Dora Asihene. Her father was a reverend and moderator of a Presbyterian church in Ghana's eastern region.

Where does Theodosia Okoh come from? Her parents hailed from Anum in the Asuogyam District of the Eastern part of Ghana. She was the fourth child out of eight children her parents gave birth to.

She trained as a teacher before becoming a fine artist

Theodosia began her formal education at Ashanti Effiduse Primary school. From there, she proceeded to the Basel Girls Mission Middle, Senior, and Teacher Training Schools in Agogo. She also attended Achimota School, and it was there that she had three years of training in Fine Art. After that time, she taught at Kukurantumi.

She produced teaching aids and motives

Based on the Department of Social welfare's encouragement, she produced teaching aids and motives for nursery pupils.

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Theodosia Okoh designed the national flag

Theodosia was an amazing artist who was respected internationally. What is the artwork of Theodosia Okoh? She was best known for designing the national flag. This was after President Kwame Nkrumah decided to involve the citizens in designing a national flag after Ghana got her independence in 1957.

Theodosia's design was accepted on the 6th of March, 1957, and became the country's official national flag. Her choice of colours and symbols was insightful and symbolic. While explaining the motivation behind the colours she chose during an interview, she said:

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

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This woman was not just instrumental in the national flag design, but her passion for sport was well pronounced. She redefined and rebranded hockey playing in Ghana. Her keen interest in the sport got her into the chairman's position of Ghana Hockey Association. Later, she became president of Ghana Hockey Federation.

Interestingly, she was in charge for over 20 years and didn't disappoint in her duties. She guided the Ghanaian hockey team to its first-ever appearance at the Hockey World Cup and Olympic Games. Also, she was a patron of the Ghana Sports Writers Association of Ghana (SWAG).

Theodosia Okoh
Theodosia Okoh joyfully pressing a device. Photo: @PulseGhana
Source: Twitter

She has a stadium named after her

For her tremendous contributions toward the country's growth and development and sports, a Hockey stadium was named in her honour in 2004.

When men faltered and vacillated about games development in Ghana, she rose to save the country's hockey. Consequently, Ohene Djan named her the Joan of Arc of Ghana hockey.

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Okon was a published author

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

She was a wife and mother

Her somewhat loaded contributions to her country's development did not mean she never had a personal life. Born Theodosia Salome Abena Kumea, she later became Enoch Kwabena Okoh's wife. Enoch was head of the Ghanaian civil service when Kwame Nkrumah was president. Their union was blessed with three children.

Theodosia Okoh was a proud winner of awards

In 1997, Theodosia was bestowed a national honour of a Grand Medal. The title is one of the highest awards an individual could get for their immense contribution to national growth. For her contributions to the sports industry also, Ghana's Sportswriters' Association awarded her.

Furthermore, the National Sports Awards honoured her in 2004 and the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation gave her a citation. At the same time, the TV Africa series Obama Mbo awarded her.

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She was a living legend

Is Theodosia Okoh alive? She is dead, but her impact and contributions toward the country's development speak on. In fact, the whole of Ghana mourned after this icon passed on in a hospital after a brief ailment on the 19th of April, 2015.

She received a national honour after her death

To show that the country held her in high regard, the president at the time of her demise instructed that the national flag be flown at half-mast across the nation for three consecutive days.

More so, one of Abena Kumea's grandchildren named Ian Jones-Quartey, an animator and director by profession, made an animated show around her character.

During a lifetime spent in utmost patriotism for her country, Theodosia Okoh ensured that she contributed her quota towards her country's development through every opportunity she got to serve. Despite her busy life, she took time to create several artworks found in homes and galleries across the globe. She successfully engraved her name in her country's hall of fame.

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