The Woman Heroine

The Woman Heroine

Theodosia Salome Okoh (born 13 June 1922 – 19 April 2015) was a Ghanaian teacher and artist known for designing Ghana's national flag in 1957. She exhibited her artwork internationally. She also played a leading role in the development of hockey in Ghana.

She was born as Theodosia Salome Abena Kumea Asihene in Effiduase to the Very Reverend Emmanuel Victor Asihene, a former moderator of the Presbyterian Church of Ghana, and Madam Dora Asihene, both from Anum in the Asuogyaman District of Ghana's Eastern Region. She was the fourth of eight children. She had the opportunity to travel around Ghana and abroad with her father.

She started school at Ashanti Efiduasi Primary School, continued to the Basel Mission Middle, Senior and Teacher Training Schools in Agogo and then Achimota School, where she received three years training in Fine Art.

When on Ghana's Independence from Britain the need for a new flag was advertised, she submitted her design, which was adopted as the national flag of Ghana by the country's first president Kwame Nkrumah from 6 March 1957. As she explained in an interview: "I decided on the three colors of red, gold and green because of the geography of Ghana. Ghana lies in the tropics and blessed with rich vegetation. The color Gold was influenced by the mineral rich nature of our lands and Red commemorates those who died or worked for the country’s independence. Then the five-pointed lone star which is the symbol of African emancipation and unity in the struggle against colonialism…."

Theodosia Okoh was the first female chairman of the Ghana Hockey Association and later President of the Ghana Hockey Federation for more than 20 years, and it was during her tenure that Ghana first qualified for both the Hockey World Cup and the Olympic Games. She was named "the Joan of Arc of Ghana hockey" by Ohene Djan "because she rose to the occasion to save Ghana hockey when men were faltering and vacillating about development of the game. This is also the reason why the National Hockey Stadium was named after her in 2004". She was a long-time patron of the Sport Writers Association of Ghana.

She was married to Enoch Kwabena Okoh, Head of Civil Service in the Kwame Nkrumah regime in the 1960s, and had three children: E. Kwasi Okoh, Stanley Kwame Okoh and Theodosia Amma Jones-Quartey.

Theodosia Okoh was awarded the Grand Medal (GM) by the nation, and a number of awards from other institutions in the country. She received a citation from the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation and the National Sports Awards in 2004, as well as award from the Sport Writers Association of Ghana and an award from the TV Africa series Obaa Mbo.


•The Accra hockey pitch is named after her in recognition of her contribution to the game,and in 2013 a resolution was overturned to rename the Theodosia Okoh Hockey Stadium.

•The Asuogyaman District Assembly in the Eastern Region has erected a bust in her honour at Anum, her hometown.

•Okoh's grandson, animator/director Ian Jones-Quartey, based the character Nanefua Pizza in the Cartoon Network animated show Steven Universe on her.

•On 13 June 2016, Google celebrated Theodosia Okoh’s 94th birthday with a doodle.

Madam Theresah Okoh died on April 19, 2015 at Tema in the Greater Accra Region.

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