The Woman King and the Kingdom of Okoa

The Woman King and the Kingdom of Okoa

Youth Cultural Language Preservation Discovery Program

The African Roots and Heritage Foundation officially launched their newest program called Youth Cultural Language Preservation Discovery Program – (YCLPDP). It is designed to immerse the youth, students, and members of the Diaspora and the surrounding community, who want to participate in their own Sankofa[1], that is “go back and pick up the gems of the past” and ready this generation for the ongoing African Renaissance. In this program we are able to meet the needs of the Global African Community.

Our purpose is to record the various histories and uncover the hidden gems of the many kingdoms. With all these findings our will is to publish the data in multiple formats, giving the ARHF All star volunteers the opportunity to work on noble projects that will lead to Africans as a whole taking control of how we are represented in all media spaces. This will eventually lead to reforming the way we think of ourselves and facilitate true independent governance in all affairs.

At the invitation of Her Royal Majesty Nkunkuma Marie-Louise Zoa (Woman King) of the Kingdom of Okoa the African Roots and Heritage Foundation with staff and volunteers visited with the Royal Court, on Saturday, August 26, 2023 in the village of Soa, which is situated in the Centre region of Cameroon.

THEME: Women in Leadership: Women as the Guardians of African Traditions and Culture

The Nkunkuma and Royal Court greeted the ARHF team by dance and singing a song of welcome, performed by the princesses of the Kingdom.

The Nkunkuma and the High Priest of Okoa gave each member a handshake. We quickly learned the diversity among the various Kingdoms throughout Cameroon. It is seldom or actually not permissible to touch the King. But in the Kingdom of Okoa we discovered, the kingdom has a unique set of practices, not found in other kingdoms, which makes it stand out among its neighbors.

The Executive Director, Professor Anita M. Diop, presented the Nkunkuma with a Certificate of Credential appointing HRM as the Cultural Ambassador of the Kingdom of Okoa to the African Roots and Heritage Foundation. Other gifts were exchanged to demonstrate goodwill between the two leaders.

ARHF determined several goals to meet in this visit.

1) To establish a partnership between ARHF and the Okoa Kingdom for the purposes of recording and valorizing their history and culture, while utilizing our volunteers to interview and accurately record the history, culture, language, and much more for this kingdom, creating attractiveness in the Diaspora for those who want to rediscover their roots, which will increase tourism and ultimately, we are taking control by writing our own history and narrative.

2) To create the research and documentation on Women in Leadership: Women as the Guardians of African Traditions and Culture in a traditionally male run society. Highlighting the successful governance of a kingdom with a female hierarchy.

3) To learn about the natural ways to preserve Kingdom Cultural artifacts and storage.

This opportunity was also the official launch of the YCLPDP - Youth Cultural Language Preservation Discovery Program.

Our Youth Coordinator, Dr. Ahmad Bello, coordinates the YCLPDP. Under his direction the youth volunteers are guided to conduct research on the Kingdom, highlighting the history, language, culture, methods of succession, governance and artifact preservation and much more. With the data collected it is the will of ARHF to publish these findings for the public with the hope of developing a research center.

It was established in this meeting that as a gift and a high honor from the Royal Palace of Okoa that land is given to the African Roots and Heritage Foundation to build its NATYTI - New African Thought Youth Training Institute and Research Center on the land next to the Pied dans l'eau (Feet in the Water) restaurant.

Other invited guests were Professor Cecile Dolisane Ebosse, the Head of the Department of Black Civilizations and Literature at the University of Yaounde 1 and Dr. Dora Mbu was also in attendance. The staff of ARHF and 14 volunteers with backgrounds in History, Anthropology, Black Civilizations and much more.

YCLPDP is designed to be the bridge between learning theory in academic classroom and immersion into the culture.

[1]Sankofa, a Twi word from the Akan people of Ghana, which means, “go back and pick up the gems of the past”.

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