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Ghana History: How “Ashikishan” The Woman On The 50 Pesewa Coin Was Killed

Did you know that Rebecca Naa Dedei Aryeetey also known as Dedei Ashikishan, was killed? This article will explain to you how she died.

Dedei Ashikishan was a Ghanaian business woman, political activist and a feminist. She was popularly known for her flour business in Accra. She is also the woman on Ghana’s 50 Pesewas coin. She was also named after the two decker bus in Ghana (Auntie Dedei).

Rebecca Naa Dedei Aryeetey was born in 1923 and died on 22nd June 1961.

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How Ashikishan Was Killed

Her closeness to Nkrumah made her an enemy of rival political party which allegedly led to her early death. She died tragically at a CPP function in Ho on 22 June 1961 at the age of 38. It was alleged that the political activists and feminist was poisoned at the function after taking a hot tea when she complained of stomach ache


Rebecca Naa Dedei Aryeetey was the Political Activist and Chief Financier of Kwame Nkrumah led CPP.

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It takes great work and achievements for anybody, particularly a woman in a male-dominated world to win a place on a national currency. Many have seen the image on the 50 pesewas coin yet, many do not know how she won her place there.

The historical account of happenings in Ghana has very little on women leading and supporting the charge for independence and self-rule.

One among a few if not the only woman who has been favoured by the history of Ghana is Yaa Asantewaa. By now you are familiar with the 50 pesewas coin and perhaps are familiar with the double-decker buses that became known as the Auntie Dedei bus in recent years but who is this woman and why does she merit a space even on a national currency?

How Ashikishan Was Killed

She is said to have been raised in the hearts of the capital of Ghana, a place known as James Town and went into flour business right after basic school.

At the age of 30, she had become popular for her exploits in the flour business and had won for herself the title ‘Flour Queen’ leading the Market Women Association.

As campaigner and financier of the CPP, she campaigned and funded Kwame Nkrumah’s first political campaign which saw him win the Ashiedu Keteke seat in the house of legislature, a place that was said to be the nerve centre of the Ga-Dangme Confederacy.

Many political historians have alluded to the fact that If Mr Nkrumah had lost that seat, he would never have become the Prime Minister of Ghana.

By the time Mr Nkrumah was released from jail in 1951, Gbedemah had mobilised the market women as the backbone of CPP in Accra. The leader of the pack was Naa Dedei.


Naa Dedei heavily contributed financially to support the CPP. She increased her influence through her contributions day in day out.

She became a target of other political parties and the colonial government following her closeness with Mr Nkrumah. Historical accounts say she had accompanied Mr Nkrumah to a CPP party function in Ho. She was served food and complained later of stomach pains.

She was suspected to have suffered food poisoning and died. She died single and childless. She has been described by many history writers as a true nationalist who campaigned and funded Mr Nkrumah against her own kinsman Odarkwel Obetsebi-Lamptey.


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