Beloved Mother

The Significance of Ruth Botsio’s Funerary Print

Christopher Richards


On July 1, 2016, the Christ the King Catholic Church in Accra, Ghana became the site of an impromptu, yet noteworthy display of fashion. The occasion was the funeral of Ruth Botsio, a celebrated fashion icon and wife of the Independence-era politician and diplomat, Kojo Botsio. To symbolize her cultural and familial contributions, Botsio’s family commissioned a unique commemorative print, which altered the conventional funerary color scheme of black and red to reflect Botsio’s penchant for pink, resulting in a black fabric emblazoned with hot pink patterns. Taking inspiration from Doran Ross’s scholarly contributions to the field of Ghanaian art history, this essay analyzes the symbolism of Botsio’s commemorative print, attesting to the continued relevance of Herbert Cole and Ross’s concept of the visual-verbal nexus and the importance of examining Ghana’s textile arts. Additionally, Suzanne Gott’s (2009) exploration of Asante poatwa and fashionable funerary dress is referenced to acknowledge the potency of Botsio’s commemorative print in asserting elite status and social connections, whether actual or fictional. This sartorial disruption ultimately speaks to the inherent malleability of Ghanaian traditions and the continued innovations in Ghanaian dress practices.

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