Sixty-five-year-old Elizabeth Asantewaa sits in her chair with an amputated limb and a decaying leg. She was too young at the time to understand what had happened to her.
As time went on she grew to understand her situation.
Elizabeth Asantewaa, suffered injuries when a bomb exploded on 6th March 1964, as she was about presenting a bouquet to Ghana’s first president, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, at an Independence anniversary celebration.
“What I just saw was boom, it lifted me up and brought me back onto the ground. It was a big blast. All I saw was my leg burning,” she said.
Thankfully she survived, but 51 years on, she is a pauper, afraid her deteriorating health could kill her at any moment. Elizabeth Asantewaa’s leg was amputated to prevent the spread of the impact of the bomb explosion so she could continue to live.
Her disfigured supporting leg is equally decaying by the day. She usually walks with the support of crutches.
Today the case is different. Her condition worsens daily due to lack of medical care. Elizabeth does not only feel neglected but is hurt and upset.“I feel general weakness, I need constant massage, I often feel dizzy. It’s tough for me.”
In her case, if her pain does not kill her hunger might.
“Sometimes when I don’t have money, I only drink water and sleep.”
If only Elizabeth, her parents or whoever nominated her for that glorious moment to present a bouquet to Osagyefo had known the aftermath, they would have turned down the opportunity.
The bomb exploded with her dreams. Elizabeth tells me Dr. Kwame Nkrumah promised her needs will be provided for by the government.
The support ended with his overthrow.
Elizabeth has some hope but that keeps fading with each passing day as she grapples with the reality of her decaying leg and the help that may never come.
“I’m pleading with the president, he knows my story, and I’m appealing to him and all Ghanaians to help me.”