Pomp and pageantry interspersed with the display of rich Ashanti culture characterised the installation of Nana Gyemfua Debrah as the Ohemaa of the United Kingdom (UK) and Ireland, the first of its kind in that part of Europe.
The ceremony, supervised by the Omanhene of UK and Ireland, Nana Osei Kwame Kotoko II, was performed on behalf of the Asantehene, Otumfuo Osei Tutu II.
Scores of Ghanaians, including tribal chiefs from different ethnic groups across the UK and Ireland, graced the occasion which also witnessed the installation of the Benkumhene, Nana Kojo Adom.
While administering the oath of allegiance to the newly installed Ohemaa, Nana Kotoko II said the installation of Nana Debrah could not have come at a better time given the numerous issues affecting Ghanaian women in Britain.
He said he made the decision to have an Ohemaa in place who would be solely responsible for addressing the concerns of women in that country irrespective of their tribe.
After going through the necessary traditional rites to be formally proclaimed as the Ohemaa, Nana Debrah was carried shoulder high by friends and well-wishers and ponded with powder amid excitement and jubilation.
Call for unity
Speaking to the Daily Graphic in London after the event last Saturday, Nana Debrah underscored the need for Ghanaian women in the UK and Ireland to unite for the common purpose of providing the needed help to one another in times of difficulties.
She indicated that she would use her reign as the Ohemaa to embark on a vigorous education campaign to get Ghanaian women in both countries to take care of their children in terms of investing in their education.
A mother of six and a preschool teacher, Nana Debrah indicated her willingness to make a difference in the lives of underprivileged women both at home and abroad as she decried the economic situation of head porters (kayayei) and likened their conditions to that of slavery.
According to Nana Debrah, investing in technical and vocational education for the kayayei was the way to go, adding that with a collective effort from the citizenry, Ghana could move forward through partnerships to help solve the issue of migration of the youth from the northern part of the country to the south for menial jobs.