Ghana celebrates Dr Nkrumah today

Today in History, on September 21, 1909, Kwame Nkrumah was born in Nkroful, Gold Coast (Ghana).

Dr Kwame Nkrumah

Kwame Nkrumah, during his years as a student in the United States, was known as Francis Nwia Kofi Nkrumah. He later changed his name to Kwame Nkrumah in 1945 in the UK, preferring the name "Kwame."

He was the first Prime Minister and President of Ghana, having led the Gold Coast to independence from Britain in 1957. An influential advocate of pan-Africanism, Nkrumah was a founding member of the Organisation of African Unity and winner of the Lenin Peace Prize in 1962.

In 1930, Nkrumah completed studies at the acclaimed Prince of Wales’ Achimota School in Accra. Dr. Kwegyir Aggrey, Assistant Vice Principal and the first African staff member at the college, became his mentor.

Dr Nkrumah became the leader of government business in 1951 after leading the CPP to victory to form a government, a process which eventually led the Gold Coast to independence from British rule in 1957.

He also played a key role in the formation of the then Organisation of African Unity (OAU).

As the leader of the country, Dr Nkrumah led massive socio-economic development that resulted in a number of infrastructural projects, including the construction of the Akosombo Dam, the Tema Motorway, among other projects.

He was also a trained teacher. He went to the United States in 1935 for advanced studies, receiving a B.A. degree from the Lincoln University in 1939.

He also received a Bachelor of Sacred Theology degree in 1942, a Master of Science in Education from the University of Pennsylvania in 1942 and a Master of Arts in Philosophy the following year.

While lecturing in Political Science at Lincoln, Dr Nkrumah was elected President of the African Students Organisation of America and Canada.

He continued his schooling in England, where he helped to organise the fifth Pan-African Congress in 1945.

He then founded the West African National Secretariat to work for the decolonisation of Africa. Nkrumah also served as Vice-President of the West African Students Union (WASU).

During his lifetime, Nkrumah was awarded honorary doctorate degrees by the Lincoln University, the Moscow State University, the Cairo University, the Jagielloniaan University in Krakow, Poland and the Humboldt University in former East Germany.

In February 1966, while Nkrumah travel out of Ghana on an official visit to North Vietnam den China, a group of military and police officials stage a coup d'état to overthrow him. Joseph Arthur Ankrah of the National Liberation Council and Lt. Gen. Emmanuel Kotoko were the two notable persons who were responsibility for the coup.

Nkrumah was known for some notable quotes and they include;

"I prefer freedom in danger than servitude in tranquillity"

Dis be wan message on de need for Africans to be free from colonial rulers.

"De independence of Ghana is meaningless unless it is linked up with de total liberation of Africa"

Nkrumah lived the rest of his life in Guinea, where he was named honorary co-president by President Sekou Toure.

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