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Dr Kwame Nkrumah; A Pan-African Leader

Dr. Kwame Nkrumah (September 21, 1909-April 27, 1972) was a Ghanaian politician, political theorist, and revolutionary. He was the first Prime Minister and President of Ghana, leading the Gold Coast to independence from Britain in 1957.

As an influential advocate of Pan-Africanism, Nkrumah was a founding member of the Organization of African Unity and the recipient of the Lenin Peace Prize in the Soviet Union in 1962. After twelve years of higher education abroad, developing his political philosophy and organizing with other pan-Africanists living abroad, Kwame Nkrumah returned to the Gold Coast and began his political career as a defender of national independence. He formed the Convention People’s Party, which achieved rapid success due to its unprecedented appeal to ordinary voters. He became Prime Minister in 1952 and retained his position when Ghana declared independence from the United Kingdom in 1957. In 1960, the Ghanaians approved the new constitution and elected President Nkrumah. His government was mainly socialist and nationalist. It funded national industrial and energy projects, developed a strong national education system, and promoted Pan-African culture.

Under Nkrumah’s leadership, Ghana played a leading role in African international relations during the period of decolonization. In 1964, a constitutional amendment made Ghana a one-party state, and Nkrumah served as president for life of the country and its political parties. Nkrumah was deposed in 1966 by the National Liberation Council, which privatized many of the country’s state-owned companies under the supervision of international financial institutions. Nkrumah spent the rest of his life in Guinea and was named Honorary co-president of Guinea. Ghana became independent on March 6, 1957. As Britain’s first African colony to gain majority-rule independence, the celebrations in Accra became the center of world attention; more than 100 journalists and photographers covered these events. U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower and his Vice President Richard Nixon attended the event on behalf of the United States to express their congratulations. The Soviet delegation urged Nkrumah to visit Moscow as soon as possible. African-American political scientist Ralph Bunche attended for the United Nations, while the Duchess of Kent represented Queen Elizabeth. Deals from all over the world poured in. Even without them, the country still appears prosperous, cocoa prices are high, and the potential for new resources development is huge.

When March 5th became the sixth day, Nkrumah stood in front of thousands of supporters and declared: “Ghana will be free forever.” He delivered a speech at the first session of the Ghana Parliament on Independence Day. He told the citizens of his new country, “We have a duty to prove to the world that Africans can conduct their own affairs with efficiency and tolerance and through the exercise of democracy. We must set an example for all Africa.” Nkrumah was hailed Osagyefo, which means “redeemer” in the Akan language. This independence ceremony included the Duchess of Kent and Governor Charles Arden Clark. With more than 600 reporters in attendance, Ghana’s independence has become one of the most internationally reported news events in modern African history.

The Ghana flag, designed by Theodosia Okoh, reversed the Ethiopian green and yellow lion flag of Judah and replaced the lion with a black star. Red symbolizes bloodshed; green represents beauty, agriculture and abundance; yellow represents mineral wealth; and the black star represents freedom in Africa. The country’s new coat of arms was designed by Amon Kotei, which includes an eagle, a lion, a St. George’s cross, and a black star, with lots of gold and gold trim. Philip Gbeho was commissioned to create a new national anthem “God bless our homeland Ghana”. As a monument to the new nation, Nkrumah opened the Black Star Square near Osu Castle in Accra’s coastal area, Osu. The square is used for national symbolism and mass patriotic gatherings. Under the leadership of Nkrumah, Ghana adopted a number of social democratic policies and practices. Nkrumah created a welfare system, launched various community programs, and established schools

In 2000, he was voted “African Man of Millennium” by the BBC World Service audience. The BBC described him as “Hero of Independence” and a “symbol of International freedom”, and was the trembling leader of the first black African country to shake off the chains of colonial rule. “

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