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From Humble Secretary to Female King: Ghana

From Humble Secretary to Female King: Ghana

When Peggielene Bartels went to bed on a summer night in 2008, she was an ordinary administrative assistant living in a modest one-bedroom condo just outside Washington D.C.

From Humble Secretary to Female King: Ghana

But a few hours later, when a persistent ringing phone woke her up in the dead of the August night, the 55-year-old found out she was much more than simply a secretary.

At the other end of the line was Bartels's cousin, from Otuam, a small fishing village on the coast of Ghana. Excited and humble, he congratulated her on being the new king of Otuam.

"I said, 'listen, it's 4 o'clock in the morning in the U.S., I am very tired, let me sleep,'" remembers Bartels.

"I thought he was trying to really play games with me," says King Peggy King Peggy shows off her crowns.

But this was no time for games.

The previous king of Otuam, who was Bartels's uncle, had just died. The village elders, who remembered Bartels from the times she'd visited with her mother, had decided to anoint her as their new ruler.

After the initial shock, Bartels decided to accept the kingship. Over the course of a few days, she went from being plain old Peggielene Bartels, who had worked for nearly three decades at the Ghanaian Embassy in the United States, to becoming King Peggy -- the first female king of Otuam, reigning over approximately 7,000 people.

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