The Life and Times of Kwame Nkrumah, Africa`s Man of the Millennium

January 5, 2018 | Author: Anonymous | Category: Social Science, Psychology, Conformity
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The Life and Times of Kwame Nkrumah, Africa’s Man of the Millennium Neha Deol Chi Won Jenny Lee Jessica Oliveira Course: Racialization & Ethnicity in Canada Instructor: Dr. Charles Quist-Adade

Dr. Kwame Nkrumah of Africa: Chief architect of Ghana’s Independence 50 Years Ago

Kwame Nkrumah (1909 – 1972)

Ghana’s Prime Minister 1957-1960

Ghana’s President 1960-1966

An international symbol of freedom as the leader of the first black African country to shake off the chains of colonial rule.

Early Life & Education 

Kwame Nkrumah was born in 1909 in Nkroful, a small town in western Ghana. He graduated from Achimota College in 1930, and taught at a seminary in Axim.

1939: He went to U.S. and graduated with B.A. degrees in economics and sociology.

1942: He earned a theology degree and received M.A. degrees in education and philosophy from the University of Pennsylvania.

Return to Ghana (Gold Coast) 

Nkrumah sailed to England in 1945, after attaining his Doctorate in the U.S.

He left London for Ghana (Gold Coast) and joined the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC) Party in 1947.

His aim was to help gain the independence of Ghana from Britain

Six UGCC leaders including Nkrumah were arrested and detained, with Nkrumah being singled out as the principal trouble causer.

He was later removed from the position of Secretary General and was appointed the Party's Treasurer.

On February 28, 1948, Ghanaian WWⅡ veterans were massacred by British police in Accra during a protest rally.

Nkrumah condemned the massacre and broke off from the UGCC which showed little agitation. The popular Sergeant Adjetey was on of the slain.

In 1951, Ghanaians elected Nkrumah’s CPP as the leading party of the General Assembly, prompting the British Colonial Government to release him from prison.

Independence of Ghana 

Agitation against, and dialogue with, the British colonial government continued. Finally, 6th March, 1957 was officially set as Independence Day.

Having steered the first independence movement in sub-Sahara Africa, Nkrumah emphasized that the work was only beginning and articulated that “the independence of Ghana is meaningless, unless it is linked to the total liberation of the African continent.”

Ghana was declared a republic in 1960 and became a charter member of the Organization of African Unity in 1963.

Politics 

He believed :  A non-aligned Marxist perspective on economics  Believed that socialism was a better system to capitalism (socialism already existed in Africa)  Respecting African values at the same time.

He was best known politically for his promotion of Pan-Africanism, ‘all Africanism’. (United States of Africa)

President Nkrumah quickly set out to sponsor a conference for the All-African Trade Union Federation. His biggest success in this area coming with his significant influence in the founding of the Organization of African Unity.

Nkrumah continued to push for the Charter of African States in 1961. To him, the Organization of African Unity (OAU) in 1963 fell short of his vision for a united Africa.

He courted Ethiopia to join Ghana, Guinea and Mali in a unifying accord.

He built economic alliances with the East.

Economy of Ghana 

He attempted to move Ghana’s economy toward a more industrial model. His reasoning was that moving Ghana out of the colonial trade system by reducing its dependence on foreign capital, technology, and material goods would allow it to become truly independent.

Building alliances, he met with JFK in March 1961 to discuss bilateral agreements and regional issues including the Congo question Nkrumah and JFK

Nkrumah and US President Dwight D. Eisenhower

US Vice-President Richard Nixon at Ghana’s independence celebration in 1957 in Accra

As Ghana’s president, Nkrumah’s foreign policy agenda included - The formation of the United States of Africa. - World peace; an end to the Cold War - Harmonization of economic and political relations with the East and the West

Ghana took enormous steps forward under Nkrumah’s leadership. Nkrumah created - a welfare system - started various community programs - established schools.

Kwame meets the East

Exile, Death & Tributes

Nkrumah Mausoleum in Accra 

His nationalist and radical anti-imperialist and Marxist policies and actions drew ire of Western governments, Britain and the USA in particular.

Was overthrown by US Central Intelligence Agency (C.I.A.) sponsored coup d’etat in 1966

Was domiciled in Guinea, Conakry, where he was installed co-president with ideological bedfellow, Sekou Toure. Nkrumah never returned to Ghana, but continued to push for his vision of African unity.

Despite his retirement, his fear of western intelligence agencies did not abate. He lived in constant fear of abduction and assassination.

In addition, Nkrumah: 

was the only world leader to attempt a peace accord with America to end the Vietnam War;

was one of the most important players in the non-aligned movement;

introduced a free healthcare delivery system as well as free, compulsory universal elementary education in Ghana;

Established 68 new state-owned factories within a record time of nine years.

Africa’s Man of the Millennium

He died of skin cancer in April 1972 in Romania.

He was buried in Ghana in a tomb at the village of his birth, Nkroful. (Re-buried in Accra in the Nkrumah Mauseleum ) TBKZ4HY

Today, Nkrumah is still one of the most respected leaders in African history.

Voted as Africa’s Man of the Millennium by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).

On the flipside

But Nkrumah also had his flaws. His one-party state ‘democracy’ stifled different and divergent views from the other side of the political divide. His installation as “Life President” of his party, the Convention People’s Party, made him a dictator in the eyes of many.

Did nothing to discourage party cronies from turning him into a demigod.

Nkrumah used the Preventative Detention Act (PDA) enacted by the British Colonial Administration to throw his political opponents into jail without trial.

His enforcement of the PDA to crack down on his opponents, who were bent on unseating him through terrorist bombings and numerous assassination attempts, was criticized as dictatorial and draconian.

I speak of freedom… (an excerpt) ‘…Divided we are weak; united, Africa could become one of the greatest forces for good in the world. I believe strongly and sincerely that with the deep-rooted wisdom and dignity, the innate respect for human lives, the intense humanity that is our heritage, the African race, united under one federal government, will emerge not as just another world bloc to flaunt its wealth and strength, but as a Great Power whose greatness is indestructible because it is built not on fear, envy and suspicion, nor won at the expense of others, but founded on hope, trust, friendship and directed to the good of all mankind…'

Books by Kwame Nkrumah

Dr. Nkrumah published over 14 books in his life time. The following are some of his works; • •

• •

• • •

Towards Colonial Freedom (1947) Ghana: The Autobiography of Kwame Nkrumah [International Publishers (1957) Africa Must Unite (1963) Consciencism: Philosophy & Ideology for De-Colonization (1964) Neo-Colonialism: The Last Stage of Imperialism (1965) I Speak of Freedom (1973) Axioms of Kwame Nkrumah (Freedom Fighters Edition)

Nkrumah & Martin Luther King Jr. in Accra March 1957

Nkrumah & W.E.B Bois

Axioms of Kwame Nkrumah

“It has often been said that Africa is poor. What nonsense! It is not Africa that is poor. It is the Africans, who are impoverished by centuries of exploitation and domination” (Speech in National Assembly, Accra. 8 August 1960

“I can see no security for African states unless African leaders like ourselves have realized beyond all doubt that salvation for Africa lies in unity” (Speech at the closing session of the Casablanca Conference, 7 January, 1981)

The African personality is… defined by the cluster of humanist principles which underlie the traditional African Society (Consciencism, first published 1964)


We do not see ourselves merely as Arab Africa, Black Africa, English Africa, French Africa. We are one people, one continent with one destiny.

Africa is marching forward to freedom and no power on this Earth can halt her now

The continent of Africa is compact, self sufficient and unique.

We Must Organize as never before, for organization decides everything.

Without discipline true freedom cannot survive.

I do not know how anyone can refuse to acknowledge the right of humans to be free.

Freedom is not a commodity which is "given" to the enslaved upon demand; it is a precious reward, the shinning trophy of struggle and sacrifice.

We are prepared to move ahead side by side with African patriots everywhere until Africa is totally free and united under an All-African Union Government.

A Revolutionary fails only if he/she surrenders.

The guerrilla is the masses in arms.

Time is on the side of the masses, and nothing can permanently frustrate their ultimate fulfillment


Our armed struggle for freedom is neither moral nor immoral, it is a scientific historically determined necessity.

Practice without thought is blind, thought without practise is empty.

In a revolutionary situation it is a crime against the people to forgive those who have betrayed them.

There is no force, however formidable that a united people cannot overcome.

We are running out of time in Africa not only have we to eliminate or eradicate the deficiencies of our past, but we must also, in the shortest possible time, attempt to catch up with modern techniques of our time.

The secret of life is to have no fear.

Capitalism is but the gentlemen's method of slavery.

Political power is the inescapable prerequisite to economic and social power.

The Degree of a country's revolutionary awareness may be measured by the political maturity of its women.

Africa wants her freedom, AFRICA MUST BE FREE, It is a simple call, but it is also a signal lighting a red warning to those who would tend to ignore it.


Real Black freedom will only come when Africa is politically united. it is only then that the Black man will be free to breathe, the air of freedom, which is his to breathe, in any part of the world.

No man is born a criminal, society makes him so, and the only way to change things is to change the social conditions. Where ever there is economic dependence there is no freedom.

As long as a single foot of African soil remains under foreign domination, the world shall know no peace.

Freedom without law is anarchy.

It is my deep conviction that all peoples wish to be free, and that the desire for freedom is rooted in the soul of everyone of us.

When all is said and done, it is the socalled little man, the bent-backed, exploited, malnourished, blood-covered fighter for independence who decides, and he invariably decides for freedom.

Neo-colonialism has no permanent friends, its only companions are its own interests.

Let us remember always that in the final analysis the masses are the final arbiter. They will always choose freedom and justice, as against oppression and corruption.

The people's armed struggle, the highest form of political action, is a revolutionary catalyst in the neo-colonialist situation.


It has often been said that Africa is poor, what nonsense! It is not Africa that is poor, it is the Africans, who are impoverished by centuries of exploitation and domination.

To Suggest that the time is not yet ripe for considering a political union of Africa is to evade the facts and ignore realities in Africa today.

Africa is clearly fragmented into too many small, uneconomic and non-viable states, many of whom are having a vey hard struggle to survive.

I do not know of any greater satisfaction than honest and efficient service rendered to the people in the best interest of all the people.

The people are the makers of history and it is they who, in the final analysis, win or lose wars.

Our war is not a war of conquest, it is a war of revolutionary liberation, we fight not only in self-defence but to free, unite and reconstruct.

The case for African unity is very strong and the instinct of the mass of the people right.

Only a united Africa can redeem its past glory and renew and reinforce its strength for the realisation of its destiny.

We are today the richest and yet the poorest of continents, but in unity our continent could smile in a new era of prosperity and power.

If we do not formulate plans for unity and take active steps to form political union, we will soon be fighting and warring among ourselves with the imperialists and colonialist standing behind the screen and pulling vicious wires, to make us cut each other's throats for the sake of their diabolical purposes in Africa

References (Bibliography & Photographs) Q&mode=related&search=

I Speak of Freedom, Kwame Nkrumah 1961

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