Name: Kwame Nkrumah

Alive- 1909-1972

Bio: Kwame Nkrumah was born on September 18th 1909 and died 27th April 1972. In his life time he led the independence movement in Ghana against the British colonial power and served as Ghana’s first Prime Minister and President. While at school he proved to be intellectually gifted and by 1925 he was a student-teacher at his school. Through his intellectual capabilities Nkrumah travelled to America where he was, on limited resources, able to study at Lincoln. In 1939 Nkrumah gained a Bachelor of Arts in economics and sociology and carried on at Lincoln as an assistant lecturer in philosophy. While a student at both Lincoln and later Pennsylvania (where he acquired a BA in Theology then the next year a MA in both philosophy and education) Nkrumah was an activist student and created the African Students Association of America and Canada, in which some members felt that this association should aspire for each of the African colonies to gain independence. While in London, after the Second World War, he helped organise the Fifth Pan-African Congress but by 1947 he was departing Britain to go back to Ghana. After ten years of struggle (in which time he had been incarcerated) Ghana became the first of Britain’s colonies to become independent in 1957. The celebrations however were short lived and by 1966 while on a state visit to North Vietnam and China his government was overthrown in a military coup. He spent the rest of his life as a guest of the President of Guinea. In 2000 in a vote by listeners of the BBC World Service he was voted Africa’s man of the millennium.

Quotes:

“Ghana will be free forever”

“…we have a duty to prove to the world that Africa can conduct their own affairs with efficiency and tolerance and through the exercise of democracy. We must set an example to all Africa.”

Further Reading:

  • David Birmingham, Kwame Nkrumah: A Case Study of Religion and Politics in Ghana (1998)
  • Kwame Arhin, The Life and Work of Kwame Nkrumah (1993)
  • D. Zizwe Poe, Ghana Under Military Rule 1966-1969 (1972)