Today in History, exactly 98 years ago, on 13th June, 1928, Madam Theodosia Salome Okoh Affectionately known as ‘Dosia, Mama Maa’ or simply ‘Maa,’ was Born. She was a Ghanaian stateswoman, sportswoman, teacher and artist who is best known for designing the Ghana national flag in 1957. She also played a leading role in the development of hockey in Ghana.
She was born as Theodosia Salome Abena Kumea Asihene in Wenchi 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.
When on Ghana’s Independence from Britain the need for a new flag was advertised, she submitted her design, which was adopted as the Ghana National Flag by the country’s first president Kwame Nkrumah from March 6, 1957.
As Theodosia Salome Okoh explained in an interview: “I decided on the three colours of red, gold and green because of the geography of Ghana. Ghana lies in the tropics and blessed with rich vegetation. The colour 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….”
Sixty three years after she first designed the Ghana National flag, the vibrant stripes of red, yellow, and green behind a black star, remain a strong symbol of national pride and identity for the Ghanaian people.
She 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 died on April 19, 2015 at the Narh-Bita Hospital in Tema after a short illness, aged 92. President John Dramani Mahama directed that all flags should fly at half mast for three days, starting from Tuesday, 21 April 2015 to 23rd April 2015, in her honour.