Meet Auntie Dede, a woman whose image is on 50 Pesewas Coin – Her Profile And Death
Rebecca Naa Dedei Aryeetey aka Dedei Ashikishan, Pioneer Ghanaian Woman, a Political Activist, Feminist, Chief Financier of CPP and a wealthy flour queen during the Gold Coast era.
At age 30, she was the queen of all flour dealers, that’s where the name ‘Ashikishan’ meaning flour in Ga came from. Dedei became so rich, influential and her huge house at Kokomlemle hosted most CPP women activities.
She, unfortunately, died of food poison at a CPP function at Ho in the Volta Region at age 38 that shook the whole of Accra.
She was the woman of the moment then. Her family was told after the 1966 coup that her tea that morning was deliberately poisoned because she knew way too much, she had too much knowledge of top secrets since she was allegedly Dr. Nkrumah’s ‘sidechick’.
All of that still remains unsubstantiated allegations.
The double-decker buses, ‘Auntie Dedei’ brought in to Ghana by Harry Sawyerr in the 80s into the 90s were named after her.
Listed Life Facts About Dedei Aryeetey
1. Activist: Political Activist.
2. Feminist: A Preeminent Feminist
3. Financier: Chief Financier of Convention People’s Party (CPP).
4. Etymology: Dedei is a generic Ga name for a 1st born girl. Ashikishan is flour in Ga.
5. Entrepreneur par Excellence: Dedei Ashikishan (DA) was, therefore, the Queen of the flour business in Accra and by extension the whole country.
6. Early life: DA was born Rebecca Dedei Aryeetey in 1923. The mother was from Ga and the father Ataa Ayite was from Ga (Asere) and Osu. The father’s mother from Osu was called Ama Richter.
7. Childhood: Dedei grew up in Ga (James Town British Accra).
8. Education: After basic education, she went straight into flour business.
9. Business tycoon: By 30, DA was the flour queen in the whole of Accra – wealthy with her huge house in Kokomlemle.
10. Leader of the Market Mammies Association: She soon became the Market Mammie of Accra’s Makola market.
11. Campaigner and Financier: She campaigned and funded Nkrumah to win in Ashiedu Keteke, the nerve centre of the Ga-Dangme Confederacy.
13. Gbedemah: By the time Nkrumah was released from jail in 1951, Gbedemah had mobilized the market women as the backbone of CPP in Accra. The leader of the pack was Dedei.
14. Nkrumaphoria: The Nkrumaphoria really caught Dedei and she poured MONEY into CPP.
15. Increased influence: As her financial contribution increased so was her influence in the party.
16. Targeted: Her closeness to Nkrumah and the usual rumours made her a target.
17. Accompanied Nkrumah Dedei: Accompanied Kwame Nkrumah to a CPP party function in Ho. She was served some tea, after five minutes she started complaining of stomach pains ‘’kaaa fee, ma fee’’ Dedei was gone by poisoning.
18. At the burial: At the cemetery, Nkrumah cried like a baby.
19. No Post Mortem: On the 22nd June 1961, 38year old Rebecca Dedei Ayitey, CPP financier died at a CPP function mysteriously and no post mortem was done.
20. Unmarried and childless: She died single and childless, she put everything into CPP.
21. A true Nationalist, she campaigned and funded Nkrumah against her own kinsman Odarkwei Obetsebi-Lamptey.
22. Harry Sawyerr Double Decker Buses: When Harry Sawyerr brought double-decker to Accra, they were named Auntie Dedei apparently after her.
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