Peggielene Bartels: The Woman Who Became A King

When you were a kid, did you ever have that fantasy that you were actually a prince or princess but nobody knew it?

In 2008, a telephone call to a woman who is a secretary living in suburban Washington. DC brought that fantasy to reality for her.

Her name is Peggielene Bartels, and in 2008 when her uncle passed away, she was notified that she had been chosen as the new king of the town of Otuam in her native Ghana.

Suddenly facing a dizzying array of new responsibilities, King Peggy, as she became known, embraced the new role and assumed leadership of her community.

In 2012 she told her story in a book called King Peggy and that’s when I had the chance to meet her. So here now from 2012. King Peggy.

King Peggy still works at the embassy of Ghana in Washington, and still lives in the suburbs. She is 70.

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Wangari Maathai

She was the first African woman to win the Nobel Prize.

Kenyan-born Wangari Maathai was educated in the U.S., then returned to Kenya and became a social, environmental and political activist

Photo: Kingkongphoto &

In 1977, when she was 37 years old, Wangari Maathai established what she called the “Green Belt Movement.”

What started as a modest effort to improve the environment and natural resources grew into a major environmental — and women’s rights — effort. And it frequently got Maathai in trouble.

I met her 14 years ago when she wrote a book about her life and her work.

Here now, from 2006, Wangari Maathai.

Wangari Maathai died in 2011 after fighting ovarian cancer at age 71. She is buried at the Wangari Maathai Institute for Peace and Environmental Studies in Nairobi, Kenya.