A Rainha de Otuam
Mr. Fish, «Clowncrack.com»
Eleanor Herman no Washington Post traz-nos a história de Peggielene Bartels, de 55 anos. A Sra. Bartels foi secretária da embaixada ganesa em Washington durante trinta anos até ao dia em que, de uma forma inesperada, foi escolhida para ser rainha de uma aldeia, Otuam, no seu país natal, o Gana. Agora a Sra. Bartels, além de lutar contra o sexismo, trabalha para pôr fim à corrupção que impede a aldeia de prosperar, dizendo aos mais velhos que têm metido ao bolso muito dos rendimentos da aldeia “Eu vim da América para trazer a mudança! Eu sou o Obama deste local!”:
Last fall, Peggielene Bartels was on the way to Agona Swedru, a market town about 1 hours from the fishing village of Otuam, in Ghana. Bartels, who is a secretary and lives in Silver Spring, wanted to buy new beads and sandals for the “gazetting” ceremony that would enhance her status as king. After the proceedings, and with the news published in the local gazette, she would be backed by other gazetted kings, adding huge heft to her power. Although it is possible for a woman to be a Ghanaian king, as the title refers to the person who wields executive power over a tribe or community regardless of gender, it is unusual. […]
Bartels had inherited 15 elders from the late king, all of them in their 70s and 80s. Most of them were in excellent shape from decades of fishing and farming, with the slender yet muscular arms of young athletes.
Bartels started her first council meeting briskly.
“You must understand that my thoughts are those of a man,” she said. “I am as strong as a man. I am as smart as a man. I demand the absolute respect of a man. If you understand this, we will get along well.” The elders nodded and smiled as Bartels translated for me.
After they left, she said: “I don’t trust them. I will get to the bottom of the missing money.” But she didn’t want to take any controversial steps until after her gazetting.
In the days before the ceremony, Bartels usually met with relatives and citizens at the dining room table from 4 a.m. until 8 p.m. Many visitors made calls to welcome the returning king, some bearing huge bowls of fresh fish, while others sought Bartels’s judgment in disputes with neighbors and family members. I sat in the corner next to my interpreter, Elijah Koomson, a 22-year-old recent university graduate.
When Bartels spoke to men, especially those accused of misbehavior, her voice bellowed, and her forehead folded into angry creases. But her manner was different with women; she used modulated tones, punctuated by smiles and encouraging nods. […]