News

Ghanaians Reflect on Legacy of Kwame Nkrumah

Anna Boiko-Weyrauch

This week, Ghanaians are marking the 100th anniversary of the birth of their first president, Kwame Nkrumah, who championed independence from British rule and promoted the liberation and unification of the entire African continent.

Musicians with horns and drums helped usher in this week's ceremony at Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park and mausoleum in Accra.  People from all parts of Ghanaian society attended the event, commemorating the national holiday.

President John Atta Mills spoke of the independence leader's example for all Ghanaians.

"Kwame Nkrumah stood for so many things: unity, hard work, perseverance," said John Atta Mills. "And we should always be guided by these values, which I believe are the only values that can help us in building a better Ghana."

Nkrumah Memorial Park sits on what was once British colonial polo-grounds where Mr. Nkrumah declared Ghana's independence in March of 1957.

"Today from now on, there is a new African in the world," said Kwame Nkrumah. "That new African is ready to fight his own battles and show that after all, the black man is capable of managing his own affairs."

"March 6, 1957, we were young men," said Victor Nortey, who was there to hear Mr. Nkrumah's historic speech.

"It was so exciting," he said. "The euphoria for national independence then took off and whatever it was that had to be done for national independence we were all for it.  And we were running up and down - up-country and down-country, everywhere that Kwame Nkrumah went, we needed to go there.  And it was like you have ignited a fire, which everybody was basking in."

President Nkrumah worked to industrialize Ghana by building dams, schools, roads and factories.  He was a leader of pan-Africanism, organizing meetings of African states and writing a number of books on the subject.

Later, he imprisoned his opponents, abolished rival political parties and declared himself president for life.  Mr. Nkrumah was overthrown in a CIA-backed coup in 1966 and lived in Guinea for several years before his death in 1972.

Today, he is widely remembered as a hero for his contributions to Ghanaian independence and contemporary political thought.  This week, many people marked the national holiday of his hundredth birthday by visiting Nkrumah memorial park.

"When we come around this place it gives us that spirit of togetherness," said one visitor. "It brings the people of Ghana together and everyone who comes here is full of joy.  You know he is our hero, and we really adore him.  We wish he is here now."

"Kwame Nkrumah means a lot," said another. "The man who helped Ghana to gain our independence and it is a very great achievement.  I remember when I was in school I learned he was man of passion.  He have this kind of human sensitive and all that.  So Kwame Nkrumah means a lot to me, a lot."

"I was not there, I was not born, from what I have heard ... he is a great leader," said another person. "He has done a lot for us and he make Africa proud."

"His legacies are relevant," said a visitor to the Nkrumah memorial park. "His ideologies are relevant today as it was then.  Talk about unity. Talk about economic empowerment.  Talk about freeing yourself from neo-colonialism, colonialism and imperialism."

"I see Kwame Nkrumah as a god-given son, to Ghana, to Africa and to the world," was the opinion of still another visitor.

Ghana was Africa's first European colony to declare independence.  On that night 43 years ago, Mr. Nkrumah said the future would demand a lot of hard work.

"I am depending on the millions of the country, the chiefs and people, to help me to reshape the destiny of this country," said Nkrumah. "We are prepared to build it up and make it a nation that will be respected by every other nation in the world."

This year's commemorations have seen the creation of a new political party - the Nkrumah Never Dies Party.  Elsewhere, other organizations are marking the anniversary by launching new social programs, including a scholarship fund and anti-malaria campaign. 

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugeesi
X
Carolyn Weaver
July 06, 2015 6:47 PM
In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.

VOA Blogs