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Ophelia Nyantakyi
You may describe her as fashionable, pretty, intelligent and bold and you will not be wrong. It is however not until you have met her in person will you realize that the 35 year-old songbird, whose husband set the pace for her entry into the music career, is indeed a woman of many parts.

Born in January 1971 in Obomeng-Kwahu, in the Eastern Region, Ophelia Nyantakyi is an embodiment of hardwork and perseverance whose ‘fighting spirit’ continues to make her an icon in the three major enterprises she undertakes at present.

With an impressive musical career spanning over a decade, Ophelia (born Abena Serwaa) has touched many hearts with her songs which are written for her by her husband, Collins Nyantakyi.

In previous years, she had only been backing her husband but her own first album, Hosanna, which was launched last year is ‘breaking’ the sales points of many music shops.

It features the hit song, Hosanna, and others like Daa Daa Daa and Mekamafuo.

From a very youthful age, Ophelia started performing at the Presbyterian church where she then worshipped. As a pupil of the New Era School at Palladium in Accra, Ophelia never lost any opportunity to showcase her talent in singing either alto or tenor in any given musical piece.

Given the financial difficulty at home, Ophelia as the eldest child of Kwaku Danso (deceased) and Leticia Frimpong. She opted to trade at Katamanto to support her parents and two siblings. After sometime she felt the need to learn a skill with which she could earn a decent living and so went to learn sewing at Adabraka.

It was around this period that she met and got married to Collins Nyantakyi, a renowned gospel musician and writer who has written many songs for other artistes to render.

"I do not know what it was then, but I remember that I was so good that in a matter of year I was left on my own to cut up designs and sew. I was expected to study for three years", she told The Spectator.

Ophelia then started to sew on her own at home and later got a shop at Okaishie where she started business with two apprentices. Today she manages a big sewing ‘industry’ at the Dansoman Zodiac junction, Christened after her maiden name (Abena Serwaa) ABS Sewing Institute. It has about 40 apprentices under training. Apart from sewing to the specification of customers, she also sews different clothing styles for men and women which she sells.

Having successfully built her clientele at Dansoman for the two years she has operated there, Ophelia is now planning to open another branch of ABS institute at Abeka Lapaz to serve her customers who are springing up all over Accra.

As to how she comes by the elaborate designs like the ones she wears on stage during performances, Ophelia said "it is just a gift from God. I only need to take some time off and in the quietness of my room, the designs just come alive to me. That is why I believe that mine is a God-given talent and for which I am ever grateful".

She sews everything a woman could possibly wear from boubous, kaba and slit, full dresses and trousers to shirts for men and samples of her clothing designs are those showcased by Madam Grace Omaboe (Maame Dokono), Gifty Anti of GTV, Stacy of TV3 and other television or media personalities.

Aside sewing, Ophelia is a hair dresser-another reason why she likes to wear fanciful hairstyles.

Looking at the busy schedule she runs daily, it is a wonder how she manages to practice her songs. "I only need a small sound system which I use whiles I am cutting up designs or sewing, and as I do so I rehearse the songs which has been put on cassette. This is just to ensure that before I start the studio recording, I am sure of all the words and can sing with meaning".

Ophelia, apart from singing, sewing and hairdressing which she does commercially, also loves to cook but not for commercial purposes. Her creativity in her professions is transferred to the kitchen where she comes out with exotic dishes of both local and international ‘tastes’. In order to spend time with the family and cook some of her favourite dishes for the week, Ophelia does not work on Saturdays and Sundays and rather stays at home.

One thing that Ophelia rejects outright is the branding of her mode of dressing on the musical scene as "unacceptable".

"I love to dress up. Of course why not? How am I expected to appear on stage as a clothes designer? That is me and people should begin to accept me as I am and stop the criticisms that they keep bandying around".

Using her pastor, Rev. Dr. Mensah Otabil of the International Central Gospel Church as an example, she questioned, "if the man appears on stage dressed up as he usually does, don’t you admire him. I am sure his appearance alone attracts most people to listen to his sermons".

At church she keeps a very low profile and sings only when it is very necessary otherwise she thinks that upcoming musicians should also be given the opportunity to build themselves and become better.

"People should spend more time encouraging others and not draw them back with the kind of wild allegations that they make up. It is such criticisms that makes people like me prosper the more because God will only add up to the blessings", she said passionately.

Describing herself as a woman who "loves to pray", Ophelia believes that "God wants holy people and judges the hearts of men and women. It is wrong for anyone to judge me on the basis of my appearance because in heaven you will certainly see me sitting on the right hand of the father", she said confidently.

"It pains me a lot when I hear all kinds of things being said. I am a very open and an approachable person and so if anyone has a problem with me, come and share it rather than spice it up and tarnish my image. God will not allow anyone to have his or her way with me".

Ophelia, who laces her speech with a lot of gratitude to God, says she admires her husband, Collins, a lot. "My husband is God-sent and has been a real support in every venture I undertake. I can only thank God for giving me such a rare jewel".

"He wrote all the songs for my album, I guess God in his own wisdom, decided to spread the talents, he writes and I sing. Don’t you think it is fair?" she asked laughing.

A mother of two, she cherishes her two boys, Prince who is 11 years old and Gilbert who is eight years old. She loves to enjoy her cooking especially if it is a meal of rice or banku with ‘aponkye kotodwe’ (goat knee) light soup.

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