Peggielene Bartels

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Amuah Afenyi VI
Hon. Nana of Tantum
Investiture25 September 2008[1][2]
PredecessorAmuah Afenyi V[3]: 2 
Born1953 (age 70–71)
Cape Coast, Gold Coast (now Ghana)[3]: 2 
Peggielene Bartels

Nana Amuah-Afenyi VI (born Peggielene Bartels in 1953[4]), known informally as King Peggy,[2] is the reigning chief of the town of Tantum[5] (or Otuam[1][2]), in the Mfantsiman Municipal District, Ghana. Born in the Gold Coast (now Ghana) and a naturalized citizen of the United States since 1997, she moved to the United States in the 1970s when she was in her early twenties to work as a secretary at the Embassy of Ghana in Washington, D.C., where she still works. Following the death of her uncle in 2008, she was selected as his successor through a series of traditional rituals.[2] She is a devout Christian, and she lives in Silver Spring, Maryland.


Bartels' husband, William Bartels, is a member of the Euro-African Bartels family, whose ancestor Cornelius Ludewich Bartels was Governor-General of the Dutch Gold Coast between 1798 and 1804, and whose son Carel Hendrik Bartels was the most prominent biracial slave trader on the Gold Coast in the second quarter of the nineteenth century.[6]

Since her accession,[2] Bartels has spent several weeks each year in Ghana[4] on the anniversary of her coronation.[1] She is notably the village's first female chief; she plans to become a full-time ruler after her retirement from the embassy.

"King" is the traditional title for the ruler of Otuam. Bartels, Otuam's first female King, prefers the title to "Queen." She has stated, "Most of the time, a king is the one who has all the executive power to do things, while the queen is mostly in charge of the children's affairs and reporting to the king. So I really love this."[7] The residents of Otuam also traditionally address Bartels as "Nana," which is an honorary title given to royalty and also to women with grandchildren.[7]

Bartels wakes every morning at 1 am to call Otuam in order to keep up with her regent and elders in order to carry out her duties as King. She also visits Otuam for a month every year. So far, Bartels has helped poor families pay school fees for their children, brought computers to classrooms, and helped provide Otuam with its first ambulance, as well as access to clean, running water.[7] Since her retirement from the Ghanaian embassy in Washington, D.C., King Peggy has opened a travel agency providing informed tours of Ghana and supporting her many local improvements.


Among Bartels' territorial possessions as chief are a 1,000-acre (4.0 km2) family-owned estate and an eight-bedroom palace.[3][8]

Tantum is a coastal fishing village in Mfantsiman Municipal District.[5] It is located at 5°13.3′N 0°48.5′W / 5.2217°N 0.8083°W / 5.2217; -0.8083 (Tantum). (It may be part of the Ekumfi District, which was formed from part of the Mfantseman District in 2012.[9])


She and writer Eleanor Herman have co-written King Peggy (ISBN 978-0-385-53432-1), published in 2012 by Doubleday.[10]


  1. ^ a b c Connelly, Phoebe (27 December 2012). "In Washington, D.C., Peggielene Bartels is a Secretary. In Ghana, She's a King". Mental Floss. Archived from the original on 30 December 2012. Retrieved 30 December 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d e Quist-Arcton, Ofeibea (11 November 2010). "In Ghanaian Village, American Woman Reigns As King". Morning Edition. NPR. Archived from the original on 11 March 2012. Retrieved 13 March 2012.
  3. ^ a b c Herman, Eleanor (14 March 2010). "All the King's Men: As the first female ruler of Otuam, Ghana, Peggielene Bartels has had to deal with a legacy of corruption — and no shortage of sexism". Washington Post. Archived from the original on 10 November 2012. Retrieved 17 March 2010.
  4. ^ a b c "About the Authors". Archived from the original on 18 March 2012. Retrieved 13 March 2012.
  5. ^ a b "Municipality information". Mfantseman Municipal Assembly. 2006. Archived from the original on 15 May 2013. Retrieved 13 March 2012.
  6. ^ "Bartels, Carel Hendrik". GoldCoastDataBase. 6 April 2012. Retrieved 19 April 2012.
  7. ^ a b c Sesay, Isha, and Teo Kermeliotis (31 January 2013). "The American secretary who became king: A woman's journey to royalty". CNN. Archived from the original on 8 March 2018. Retrieved 8 March 2018.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  8. ^ Schwartzman, Paul (16 September 2009). "Secretary by Day, Royalty by Night: Embassy Worker Remotely Rules a Ghanaian Town". Washington Post. Archived from the original on 8 November 2012. Retrieved 16 September 2009.
  9. ^ "Ekumfi (New)". Archived from the original on 27 September 2013. Retrieved 6 August 2013. Ekumfi District with its capital Essarkyir was carved from Mfantseman and forms part of the new districts and municipalities created in the year 2012 and were inaugurated at their various locations simultaneously on the 28th June, 2012.
  10. ^ "Official website of King Peggy the Biography". Archived from the original on 3 March 2012. Retrieved 13 March 2012.