Kwame Nkrumah and the independence of Ghana

Kwame NkrumahBy Gyekye Tanoh:

What is the real legacy of Kwame Nkrumah?

A mass movement led by Kwame Nkrumah won Ghana its independence 50 years ago.

Ghanaian socialist Gyekye Tanoh looks back at those inspiring struggles – and draws the lessons for today

On Tuesday 6 March Ghana, the first sub-Saharan African country to achieve its freedom, commemorated 50 years of independence from Britain.

In 1957 Kwame Nkrumah, the man who led the nation’s freedom struggle, declared, “The independence of Ghana is meaningless until it is linked with the total liberation of Africa.”

That night people erupted in jubilant cheering in Accra, Ghana’s capital.

This reverberated across Africa and found an echo throughout the black diaspora in the Caribbean, Britain and the US, and among anti-imperialists everywhere.

Today the dominant images of Africa are of starving, fly-blown children, civil wars and desperate migrants who risk abominable official racism in countries like Britain.

It makes it almost impossible to imagine the electrifying energy that spread across Africa following Ghana’s independence. Nkrumah was revered as the movement’s pre-eminent figure.

On independence night, calypso giants Lord Kitchener and Mighty Sparrow joined African artists at the mass celebration.

At the official ball US vice-president Richard Nixon patted a black man on the back and patronisingly inquired how it felt to be free.

“I wouldn’t know, I’m from Alabama,” was his indignant response.

Nixon’s respondent was one of the many thousand militants and leaders – including Martin Luther King – who came to Ghana to meet, discuss and celebrate.

Accra became a staging post for anti-colonial struggles.

Sekou Toure (who later became the president of Guinea) and Patrice Lumumba (who became president of Congo) sought and gained support there.

Ghana today: here.

Nkrumah’s policies; Ghana’s ticket to development – Samia Nkrumah. September 21, 2014. Kwame Nkrumah’s 105th birthday today: here.

Jean Genet: ‘Apostle of the wretched of the earth’ and his The Blacks: a challenge to the injustice of imperialism: here.

Malawian poet Jack Mapanje: here.

Quotes, real or imagined, by African politicians: here.

Anti-imperialism in African American history: here.

Seventy years ago one of the most important meetings in the postwar era took place in Manchester, but it is rarely remembered. The fifth Pan-African Congress (PAC) was held on 15-21 October 1945, and marked the beginning of the end of European colonial rule in Africa and the Caribbean: here.

Eighty clay figures depicting both animals and humans have just been excavated in Northern Ghana, according to information provided to Discovery News by the University of Manchester: here.

In an August 18 meeting of the National Security Council, US President Dwight Eisenhower told Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) chief Allen Dulles that Patrice Lumumba, the recently elected premier of the newly-independent Republic of the Congo, must be “eliminated” so that the Congo would not become “another Cuba”: here.

14 thoughts on “Kwame Nkrumah and the independence of Ghana

  1. Introduction to Nkrumah Legacy Politics Series:
    VENUE : School of Oriental & African Studies,
    Main Building, Thornhaugh Street , London WC1
    SATURDAY 24 MARCH, 2pm to 5pm.
    Background To Kwame Nkrumah’s Journey To
    North America And Europe . Room G52
    SATURDAY 31 MARCH, 2pm to 5pm.
    Kwame Nkrumah in North America And Europe .
    Room G52

    SATURDAY 14 APRIL, 2pm to 5pm.
    Kwame Nkrumah In Anti-Colonial Movement in
    The Gold Coast And Politics Until 6 March 1957.
    Room G52

    SATURDAY 21 APRIL, 2pm to 5pm.
    Kwame Nkrumah As Prime Minister And President
    Of Ghana. (Room to be announced later)

    FRIDAY 27 APRIL 2007 – 6.30pm
    Film and Discussion on the Murder of Anti-Colonial
    Leader (Felix Moumie) of Cameroon .
    Khalili Lecture Theatre, School of Oriental and African
    Studies (SOAS), Thornhaugh Street , London WC1.

    SATURDAY 5 MAY, 2pm to 5pm.
    Kwame Nkrumah From 24 February 1966 To 27
    April 1972. Room L67

    SATURDAY 19 MAY, 2pm to 5pm.
    Kwame Nkrumah Legacy Politics From 27 April
    To Today. Room L67

    SATURDAY 26 MAY 2007 – 12 noon to 5pm
    African Liberation Day
    Vernon Square Campus, V 111, School of Oriental &
    African Studies (SOAS), Vernon Square , London WC1.

    There will be a similar programme in Accra , Ghana ,
    in July / August 2007.


  2. tim said…

    Good luck on May 3rd and good luck on the campaign to save the William Morris gallery. I like the quote of his on globalization. In his utopian fictional work’News From Nowhere’, he has one of the characters say this of capitalism/imperialsim:
    “As the World-Market grew with what it fed on: the countries within the ring of “civilization” (that is, organized misery) were glutted with the abortions of the market, and force and fraud were used unsparingly to “open up” countries outside that pale. This process of “opening up” is a strange one to those who have read the professions of the men of that period and do not understand their practice. . .
    When the civilized World-Market coveted a country not yet in its clutches, some transparent pretext was found – the suppression of a slavery different from, and not so cruel as that of commerce; the pushing of a religion no longer believed in by its promoters; the “rescue” of some desperado or homicidal madman whose misdeeds had got him into trouble amongst the natives of the “barbarous” country – any stick, in short, which would beat the dog at all. Then some bold, unprincipled, ignorant adventurer was found (no difficult task in the days of competition), and he was bribed to “create a market” by breaking up whatever traditional society there might be in the doomed country, and by destroying whatever leisure or pleasure he found there. He forced wares on the natives which they did not want, and took their natural products in “exchange”, as this form of robbery was called, and thereby he “created new wants”, to supply which (that is, to be allowed to live by their new masters) the hapless, helpless people had to sell themselves into the slavery of hopeless toil so that they might have something werewith to purchase the nullities of “civilization”.”

    Source: here.


  3. Kwame Nkrumah: Consciencism

    Philosophy and ideology for decolonization

    Kwame Nkrumah was one of the founders of Pan-Africanism. He was a leader in the liberation struggle against colonialism in his country Ghana. With the victory over colonialism in Ghana in 1957 Nkrumah was the president. This book is an important contribution to the liberation struggle and insight to the contributions of the great revolutionary, Kwame Nkrumah.

    Monthly Reveiw Press, softcover, 121p, index


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