Did you know the woman on the 50 Ghana Pesewas coin was a political activist, a devout feminist & the chief financier of the CPP?
It takes great work and achievements for anybody, particularly a woman in a male-dominated world to win a place on a national currency.
Many have seen the image on the 50 pesewas coin yet, many do not know how she won her place there.
The historical account of happenings in Ghana has very little on women leading and supporting the charge for independence and self-rule.
One among a few if not the only woman who has been favoured by the history of Ghana is Yaa Asantewaa. By now you are familiar with the 50 pesewas coin and perhaps are familiar with the double-decker buses that became known as the Auntie Dedei bus in recent years but who is this woman and why does he merit a space even on a national currency?
Rebecca Naa Dedei Aryeetey, also known as Dedei Ashikishan which translates as flour was a political activist, a devout feminist and the chief financier of the then Kwame Nkrumah led Convention People’s Party (CPP).
She was born Rebecca Dedei Aryeetey in 1923. Per her traditional name, she was the firstborn girl child and has been described in several articles as an entrepreneur with no match.
She is said to have been raised in the hearts of the capital of Ghana, a place known as James Town and went into flour business right after basic school.
At the age of 30, she had become popular for her exploits in the flour business and had won for herself the title ‘Flour Queen’ leading the Market Women Association.
As campaigner and financier of the CPP, she campaigned and funded Kwame Nkrumah’s first political campaign which saw him win the Ashiedu Keteke seat in the house of legislature, a place that was said to be the nerve centre of the Ga-Dangme Confederacy.
Many political historians have alluded to the fact that If Mr Nkrumah had lost that seat, he would never have become the Prime Minister of Ghana.
By the time Mr Nkrumah was released from jail in 1951, Gbedemah had mobilised the market women as the backbone of CPP in Accra. The leader of the pack was Naa Dedei.
Naa Dedei heavily contributed financially to support the CPP. She increased her influence through her contributions day in day out.
She became a target of other political parties and the colonial government following her closeness with Mr Nkrumah. Historical accounts say she had accompanied Mr Nkrumah to a CPP party function in Ho. She was served food and complained later of stomach pains.
She was suspected to have suffered food poisoning and died. She died single and childless. She has been described by many history writers as a true nationalist who campaigned and funded Mr Nkrumah against her own kinsman Odarkwei Obetsebi-Lamptey.
The fact that many do not know about her contribution to Ghana’s independence could perhaps be the reason she is not celebrated enough as a contributor to Ghana’s Independence.
On 1st July 2007, the Cedi (₲) was redenominated to the GH (¢), such that ₲10,000.00 was equivalent GH¢ 1.00. The redenomination did not affect the intrinsic value of the currency.
The Central Bank gave two reasons for the redenomination. Thus, increasing difficulty in maintaining accounting and statistical records and problems with accounting data and processing software.
By this development, a new 50 pesewas coin came into circulation with Rebecca Naa Dedei Aryeetey becoming the face on the popular coin.
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