Magazine article New African

End of an Era: Peggy Appiah, the Well-Known British-Ghanaian Writer of Books for Children and Wife of the Late Ghanaian Statesman Joe Appiah, Passed Away in Kumasi on 11 February at the Age of 84. Her Literary Friend and Collaborator, Ivor Agyeman-Duah, Pays Her This Tribute

Magazine article New African

End of an Era: Peggy Appiah, the Well-Known British-Ghanaian Writer of Books for Children and Wife of the Late Ghanaian Statesman Joe Appiah, Passed Away in Kumasi on 11 February at the Age of 84. Her Literary Friend and Collaborator, Ivor Agyeman-Duah, Pays Her This Tribute

Article excerpt

Peggy Appiah spent over 50 years in Kumasi since she left England after her marriage to the Ghanaian lawyer, statesman and presidential advisor, the late Joe Appiah. For all these years, she chronicled both as a profession and hobby, traditional folklore of the Asante people--village lives as well as natural history--especially the behaviour of birds, in over 30 books.

Some of the books were reflected as text in the prescribed reading of primary and secondary schools in Ghana and of the West Africa Examination Council. At one time, and it is still the case, she had the best collection of Asante gold-weights in the world which featured in exhibitions from Australia to the US.

Peggy was highly respected in the traditional and national ruling classes--especially in the palace of the king of Asante where she had since 1954 been welcomed by the Asante kings Osei Kyeretwie, Prempeh II, Otumfuo Opoku Ware II, whose wife was related to Joe Appiah, and the current king, Osei Tutu II.

More importantly, Peggy was also beloved by the working class of her adopted society who admired her simplicity, considering she was the daughter of the British chancellor of the exchequer, Sir Stafford Cripps, and Isobel Swithenbank.

Cripps, who was chancellor from 1947-50, was credited with the British economic reforms after World War II and was one of the avant-garde politicians who we could label today as cosmopolitan or globalist (a promoter of racial integration and harmony in London of the 1940s), an agenda which Kwame Anthony Appiah, his grandson, has taken to the world intellectual stage as a godfather.

Peggy Cripps, (Mrs Appiah's maiden name) was definitely aware of her political family in the English aristocracy and was therefore used to media exaggeration and negative publicity. Her marriage to Joe Appiah was one of the most sensational romantic expressions between a black and a white, a subject of the Queen in the evening of empire and leading daughter of a leftist Labour grandmaster, and was a puzzle in the British media at the time.

To champions of decolonisation, the class of student agitators (which included Joe Appiah) in the 1950s, however, it was a silver-lining or a rainbow coalition of God's children. …

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