An American Secretary Becomes an African King


Lady King Peggy

It’s 4:00 a.m., and you’re in a deep sleep. The phone rings. What’s wrong? You’d probably think something is terribly wrong. Or, perhaps you were dreaming that the phone was ringing at 4:00 a.m.

Can you imagine being awakened at that time of the morning with a message that you have been chosen to be king of a town halfway around the world? Is it a dream or maybe a prank call?

That’s what happened to Peggielene Bartels. It was definitely not a dream or a prank call for the American secretary who works at the Ghanaian Embassy in Washington, D.C. That morning, the phone rang and for Peggy, her new reality began over three years ago. Peggy quickly learned that she would have an enormous decision to make in the days ahead.

It was reality for the 30-year veteran secretary. “America has been good to me,” she says, but it was now time for her to connect with her roots – Otuam, Ghana, where her parents were from — a hometown where she had never lived, but visited a few times.

It was by happenstance, that she became a secretary.

Peggy recalls, “When I was growing up I wanted to be a caterer, or I wanted to be a spiritual leader for some reason. When my mom became divorced from my dad she chose to have me go study catering in London, because she knew that I loved good food. When I went to London, I came on a holiday to the United States, and I went to the Ghanaian embassy to visit my father’s friend. By then he was an ambassador, so he offered me the job. I went back to England to finish studying catering and then returned to the United States.”

“When I came back, I worked as a receptionist. I then chose to further my education by attending Strayer University and becoming a secretary at the embassy. I thought I was going to be there for only a few years and then return to open up my own restaurant, but before I knew it I was still there. I’m still a secretary.”

In August of 2008, Peggy’s life was about to change drastically. Her life was destined for a higher purpose, though it was unknown to her until she received that early morning phone call.

Lady King Peggy, as she is often known, was niece to former King Joseph who had passed away a while before she received the phone call. Before his passing, Uncle Joseph would serve as king of Otuam for 25 years.

Over time when Peggy would return to Ghana to visit her mother, they’d travel to Otuam to see Uncle Joseph; his royal name, Nana Amuah Afenyi V. The last time she saw him was at her mother’s funeral in 1997 but she stayed in contact with him over the next ten years or so.

When the king becomes ill, it is customary for people to say, “The king has gone to his village for a cure.” If they said, “He may be in the village for a long while and won’t be coming back soon,” it meant the king had died.

“It’s a code that they normally use for kings, queens and the chiefs whenever they pass on. They don’t come and tell you the king is dead,” Peggy stated.

Those were the words that gripped at the heartstrings of Peggy as she answered the early morning call from her uncle Kwame Lumpopo. His next words, “Congratulations, you are the new king,” are what put her in daze. After all, it was 4:00 a.m. in the morning and she hadn’t completely awakened yet.

It was then that she learned she had been chosen as the next in line to become king, because her uncle wanted it that way. She hadn’t grasped the magnitude of what was about to happen; how her future would change, and the impact she would have on thousands of lives.

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Exceptional People Magazine is where self empowerment, hope and inspiration happen. I’m Monica Davis the founder of Exceptional People Magazine and my mission is to enhance the quality of life of all people by promoting goodwill, unity and better living through positive media. Through this magazine you will be inspired to reach new heights.

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