There’s Gotta Be a “King of the Hill” Joke in Here Somewhere

5 Apr

Thanks yet again to my fellow geography wonk Jen Dziura for linking to the fantastical story of King Peggy, the Ghanaian-American woman who woke up one day to find that she had been elected as the next king (yes, king) of Otuam, her family’s ancestral community in Western Africa.

“Your uncle always wanted you to be the next king,” Kwame Lumpopo went on. “He was so proud of you.”

But Peggy knew there was more to the process of picking a king. As Kwame Lumpopo explained, the king’s elders had to propose names to the chief priest, Tsiami, who then said each person’s name while pouring schnapps into the ground. If the schnapps was absorbed, it meant the ancestors did not want that person to be king. If the schnapps steamed up, it was a clear sign they wanted that person to rule.

“And when Tsiami said my name, the schnapps steamed up?” Peggy asked.


There was a long pause.

From “King Peggy in Ghana,” O magazine, March 2012

Man. I love this. I also love imagining that it’s peach or butterscotch schnapps, some grode flavor that none of your guests will drink so it just sits on your bar-table for years and gets all gluey. This tribe finally figured out a use for it.

(I also love Oprah so don’t even step. We can talk about that in another article sometime.)

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