"My desire is to see the emancipation of women at every level of development to enable them to contribute and benefit from the socio-economic and political progress of the country.... Women's vital role of promoting peace in the family, the country and the world at large must be acknowledged. And to do this, they must be empowered politically to equip them adequately for the challenges of critically identifying and assessing solutions for the betterment of society."


Dedicated to the memory of my father J. O. T. Agyeman, my mother Felicia Agyeman; my extended Ashanti families - Agyeman, Akosa, Bonsu, Osei, and Prempeh; and my extended Akyem families - Owusu, and Sarpong. Also dedicated to the women whose stories nurture our legacy.


Writing this book began long before I had the chance to put my first thoughts onto a paper. As such, I have been immensely fortunate to have had so many great people through the years who inspired everything I am today, and for all of whom, I am profoundly grateful.

My deepest gratitude goes to my mother, Madam Felicia Agyeman, whose encouragement and contribution to unearthing much of my family’s history set me on this journey. My father’s most important wish was to see his daughter embrace a life that made a difference for her community and her people, and I am forever grateful for his guidance and for the honour of allowing my children also to keep the name Agyeman.

My grand Aunt Afua Konadu gave me the best historical grounding any child growing up could ever have, and I thank her for the example of integrity, duty, and honour.

To my curious husband Jerry John Rawlings who was dying to read the contents of my book before publication. Also to my children Zanetor, Yaa Asantewaa, Amina, and Kimathi for their boundless curiosity about our family’s heritage and background. Each of you brings incredible joy to me, and I thank you for pushing me to work even faster on this book. Aunty Alice Adwoa Agyeman remains a rock of our family, and her reassuring words carried me.

To Erika Amoako Agyei for having the confidence in my story, that it ought to be told. Kissy Agyeman-Togobo deserves my huge ovation for the countless hours reviewing the early drafts in line with the Oxford version of the English language. My immense gratitude also to Mildred Annan who spent many weeks and months typing my handwritten notes over and again with an incredible commitment and gentle smile, and never a single complaint.

I also thank E. Obeng-Amoako Edmonds, whose patience, advice, encouragement and precious time poured into the manuscript made the words come alive.

There are many more people for whom my words will not aptly express my full gratitude, but for whom I am eternally grateful for their influence and support.

The pages of my life are filled with many men and women, from the villages and cities across the world who inspired me, admonished me, and most importantly, taught me. For all the lessons I carried along, perhaps none had been more salient than knowing that every unsuspecting moment and encounter has a way of shaping a person’s life.