By Chazmine A. Moore

Theodisiah Okoh is the artistic designer behind Ghana’s flag, which is no small achievement since the design influenced many other African countries’ flags such as Guinea, Cameroon, Senegal, Togo, Mali, The Republic of Congo, and more. Okoh crafted the design for the Ghanian flag following Ghana’s liberation from colonial rule.

Okoh’s original inspiration for the color scheme of red, yellow, and green stemmed from Ethiopia’s flag. Ethiopia represented an African country that was never colonized. The red represented the struggle for independence. The yellow represented the gold and minerals in Ghana. The green represented the fertile land. Unique to the flag of Ghana, Okoh placed a black star to represent the skin color of the resilient African people.

The influence of Okoh’s flag extended to the greater pan-African movement that occured in the 1960s. Her  work continues to inspire artists such as the flag designer for South Africa post-apartheid and Cartoon Network producer, Ian Jones-Quartey.

Like many great artists Okoh was not recognized for her contribution until after her death in 2015. However, Okoh’s vital role in the nationalist movement within Ghana to her larger role in the pan-African movement, showcases the history of strong African women who played essential roles in nationalism by protecting, preserving, and shaping the nation.

Read Shola Lawal’s full article “Red, green and gold: A pan-African history of flags and the remarkable woman who inspired it” here: