Kwame Nkrumah's Mission and Vision for Africa and the world.
Kwame Nkrumah had a vision not only for Africa but also the whole
world. He foresaw the imminence of a unified world in which all sectors
of society would have no choice but to work together. His vision and
mission then was to prepare Africa for the task of playing a role in
this approaching unified world society, not as a subordinate continent
but as an equal and dignified member and partner. To achieve this, there
was a need to dismantle the structures of colonialism and put in their
place new structures to support local aspirations in order to promote
development and create a conducive environment, in which the individual
could operate. Nkrumah's point of departure was the newly created
independent state, Ghana, from where he would move into Africa and,
thereafter, into the world. Nkrumah's thinking, therefore, operated
at three levels. He began from the concerns of the individual, moved on
to address issues of the sub-systemic which was the state and finally
settled on the systemic which is the continent Africa and thereafter the
world. He recognized the need to create a conducive atmosphere for all
three to function freely in order to attain the desired goal of equal
players in a unified world society. Nkrumah had absorbed from the
teaching of Dr. James Eman Kwegyir Aggrey, as can be seen later in this
paper, the metaphor of the piano with its black and white keys, together
creating harmony and he used that to demonstrate the potential of the
African in the unified world society.
Keywords: Colonialism, African development and unity, Unified world society.
(Criticism and interpretation)
African nationalism (Analysis)
|Publication:||Name: Journal of Pan African Studies Publisher: Journal of Pan African Studies Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Social sciences Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2012 Journal of Pan African Studies ISSN: 0888-6601|
|Issue:||Date: Jan 15, 2012 Source Volume: 4 Source Issue: 9|
|Topic:||Event Code: 290 Public affairs|
|Persons:||Named Person: Nkrumah, Kwame|
|Geographic:||Geographic Scope: Africa Geographic Name: Africa; Africa Geographic Code: 60AFR Africa|
Kwame Nkrumah's mission in the world was to dismantle colonialism in Africa. His vision was the restoration of the dignity that was lost as a result of slavery and colonialism to enable the African to function freely in the coming unified world society as an equal player and partner. The campaign and process for decolonization in Africa was kick-started with urgency and energy in 1947, when Kwame Nkrumah returned to the Gold Coast to take up the position of Secretary of the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC), the first political party formed to achieve independence for the Gold Coast. That campaign and process would continue until 1994 when the last colony in Africa, South Africa, would gain her independence.
By 1947, the world had become polarized and, therefore, it was only normal for Nkrumah to adopt non-alignment as his philosophy of life and action. Essentially, Kwame Nkrumah was a man of peace but he needed to tap into the huge resources, which both superpowers at the time possessed. In this regard, it is instructive to note that it was the massive assistance that Nkrumah had from Russia which made his Science City (Ghana Atomic Reactor Centre at Kwabenya) a reality. But then it was also the personal intervention of the President of the United States which made Akosombo (Akosombo Hydro-Electric Project) the basis of Nkrumah's industrialization program in Ghana, possible. Nkrumah believed in humanity in a passionate way and recognized and saluted all who worked for the promotion of human dignity. In 1961, when he was presented with the Lenin Peace Prize, he paid glowing tribute to Lenin as one of the most outstanding personalities of the 20th century. Lenin was a man who believed that a society founded on exploitation of man by man is immoral and must be changed and he devoted himself not just for the Russian people but to all humanity and succeeded in establishing a social system that has made a remarkable impact on world history (Obeng, 2009: 107). Kwame Nkrumah was keenly aware that the problem of humanity would not be fully addressed if the problem of Africa was not addressed, and he made it his mission to do that. In this crusade, Kwame Nkrumah was not alone, for others also recognized the urgent need to address the problem of Africa. In 1991, at the African/African-American Summit in Abidjan, the late Rev. Leon Howard Sullivan predicted the revival of Africa as a continent and called on all Africans in the diaspora to contribute to this course because he believed the economic salvation of the entire world rested on Africa. Africa, he claimed, is the economic future of the world (Encyclopedia of World Biography, 2004). Again, in 2001 when giving his W.E.B. DuBois lectures in Accra, Ali Mazrui noted, "Africa in the twenty first century is likely to be the final battle ground of the forces of globalization--for better or for worse" (Mazrui, 2001).
The Overthrow of Kwame Nkrumah in Ghana
24th February 1966 was a memorable day for me. On the morning of that day, I was busy doing cleaning duties at home when I heard some unusual noises outside our house (42 Link Road, now Eduardo Mondlane Road, Sempe-Manprobi) in Accra. Naturally, I stopped what I was doing and went outside to find out what the problem was all about. People in the neighbourhood were pouring out into the street to celebrate the overthrow of the First President of Ghana in a bloody coup d'etat. The announcement of the event had been made on the radio that morning.
I went back to complete my cleaning duties and got dressed for school. When I reached school, there was total confusion. The headmaster, Master Addo, had not turned up and the students were all outside chatting about the morning's announcement. After a while, one of the teachers called us to order and asked us to go home and come back the next day when they expected things to return to normal.
In February 1966, I was a second year student at the Korle Gonno (2) Middle Mixed School (KG2 MMS), one of the continuation schools for Mount Zion Methodist Primary School located on the same campus at Korle Gonno (near the Korle Bu hospital in Accra). The headmaster of the school was one of those "colonial" headmasters who maintained discipline with the cane. He had received word that the Minister for Education was going to pay a visit to our school on 24th February 1966. Therefore, one week before this date the whole school had to practise the welcome address for this important person. After the regular morning prayers and roll call, we all had to repeat three times the welcome address after receiving a signal from the headmaster: "Miss Sophia Doku, we welcome you".
On 23rd February 1966, the school, as usual, went through this exercise before we retired to our various classrooms. Our house was at Manprobi and so was Miss Sophia Doku's, but at that time, I little knew that we were living in the same area as such an important person, given the seriousness that Master Addo attached to the preparations to receive her.
The two stories above demonstrate how I was introduced to the man, Kwame Nkrumah. He must have been such an extraordinary personality to have generated so much excitement in the country after his removal from office and, naturally, I developed the urge to know more about this man. Unfortunately, for me this desire could not materialize immediately because not long after 24th February 1966, some officials from the Ministry of Education came down to our school and removed from our stores any book that dealt with the subject of Kwame Nkrumah. Thereafter, the name Sophia Doku was to serve as a constant reminder to me, as I grew up, of what Ghana and Africa lost that day and made me resolve to share with others whatever I learnt about the man.
Indeed, as a young lecturer in Kumasi some years later, when I was asked to teach the History of Political Thought, I included in the syllabus two African political theorists and the names I used were Frantz Fanon and Kwame Nkrumah. Fanon, a trained psychiatrist, diagnosed the disease Africa suffered from to be one of alienation caused by colonialism. His prescription for a cure was revolution so that freedom could be attained (Hansen, 1976). Kwame Nkrumah, who in 1960 hosted Fanon in Accra as ambassador of the Provisional Algerian Government, tackled the cause of the disease head on.
Nkrumah, the Theorist and Practitioner
In political theory, there is a distinction between pure theoreticians and pure practitioners. It is very rare to have one person possessing both attributes. Kwame Nkrumah was such a rare case. He was both a theoretician and a practitioner. Nikolai Lenin was another.
My subject, Kwame Nkrumah's Mission and Vision for Africa and the World, does not require a wholesale discussion of the entire life history of the person, his work and his achievements. However, the topic invites a discussion of the ideas of the man and no meaningful appreciation can be made of those ideas unless the gestation period for those ideas are investigated. Therefore, the formative period of his life will form part of this discussion.
A Law in Nature and the Formative Years of Kwame Nkrumah
There is a universal cultural belief that in response to the pleas, sufferings and cries of a people in bondage, a child shall be born who will lead his people to liberate themselves from the shackles of bondage. These gifted ones are called Sonnenkinder (Children of the Sun). As a philosophical concept, Thomas J. Perry in England developed the idea of the Children of the Sun in the 1920s (Ludlum, 1978: 272). But the concept was known long before that period to Johann Jakob Bachofen in Switzerland (Bachofen, 1861) whose theory of cultural evolution inspired a whole generation of ethnologists and anthropologists including Henry Lewis Morgan (Ancient Society) and Friedrich Engels (Origins of the Family, Private Property and the State). The contention is that the Children of the Sun have been with mankind throughout history. They are pioneers, shapers of history; rulers of societies who possess certain privileges which enable them carry out their usually very difficult tasks. For instance, young Alexander abandoned the teaching of his teacher, Aristotle, that the Greek was the real man and the barbarian scarcely man at all and this was as a result of his realization that he had a mission from God to reconcile the world and initiate and forge the brotherhood of man under the fatherhood of God (Ferguson, 1963: 54). Another such character was Mao Tse-Tung, who started building the foundations of a modern vibrant China from 1949 by banishing the ruthless economic exploitation and political oppression of the Chinese peasant by landlord rule and later imperialism (Mao, 1967: 309, 315-334).
Kwame Nkrumah belongs to this category of people. His mother carried him in her womb long after the regular nine months before finally giving birth in 1909. The formative years of his life began at the Achimota School, where he studied under Dr. James Eman Kwegyir Aggrey, the Assistant Headmaster of Achimota College in Accra. Aggrey taught his students the story of the baby eagle that grew up with the chicken on the ground eating the same grain and playing together, but when it was of age, it had to be prompted to leave the chicken and move up to the heavens where it belongs as king of the birds.
That eagle story referred to Africa, ultimately, and Kwame Nkrumah understood that his task then was how to get Africa to be ready to get off the ground and into the heavens where it belongs. Dr. Aggrey also taught his students about the discipline of the keyboard which was made up of white keys and black keys. On their own, the keys produced different sounds, but for harmony, the two sets needed to be played together. The keyboard referred to the world ultimately, and Kwame Nkrumah realized that that world was speedily becoming one entity and the best thing to do was to equip Africa to be able to function in that one world with dignity.
Other Formative Influences on His Life
To be able to do something for Africa, Nkrumah himself needed to be trained to undertake the task. Besides Dr. Aggrey, two other people appeared to have had some tremendous impact on Nkrumah. One was Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe who returned from the United States in 1934 to edit the African Morning Post newspaper in Accra. Very critical of the Colonial Administration, he used his editorial column to portray a vision of a new Africa under the leadership of progressive youth instead of the reactionary chiefs who readily collaborated with the colonial government. In the end, it was the combined influence of Aggrey and Azikiwe that made Nkrumah decide firmly to go to America to study. While on his way to the US, Nkrumah read about the invasion of Ethiopia by Italy in October 1935 in a London newspaper. According to him, his nationalism "surged to the fore" and he was willing to go through hell itself, if needed in order to prepare himself to play a part in bringing about the downfall of colonialism (Afari-Gyan, 1976). This clearly showed that Nkrumah had developed a sense of nationalist feeling in him before he commenced his studies in the United States and his period in America was to further prepare himself to contribute to the termination of colonialism in Africa.
During the first four years of his life in America, Nkrumah concentrated on his studies but, subsequently, he began to acquaint himself with many political organizations such as the Republicans, the Democrats, the Communists and the Trotskyites. His rationale for getting involved with so many organizations was to learn the techniques of organization and to find a formula by which the colonial question and the problem of imperialism could be solved. It was in the course of such associations that he met C.L.R James, and through him, was able to learn how an underground movement worked.
Kwame Nkrumah studied Karl Marx and Nikolai Lenin but the third personality who appeared to have had much impact on him was Marcus Garvey. Marcus Garvey had a message for the person who was concerned with the liberation of Africa. He wanted "Africa for Africans" and he asserted emphatically that blackness was never a badge of inferiority but that Africa had a history of past achievements which black people all over could take pride in. In fact, Garvey's tremendous influence on Nkrumah was later reflected in the fact that when Nkrumah became President of Ghana eventually, he named the national shipping line as the Black Star Line, the same name Garvey had given to his shipping line. He named the independence square, the Black Star Square and the Black Star was placed in the centre of the National Flag as the lode star of African Unity. Again, Nkrumah's Convention Peoples Party's motto "Forward Ever, Backward Never" was also perhaps taken from Garvey who had written: "The Negro stands at the crossroads of human destiny.... He must move forward or backward. If he goes back he dies, if he goes forward, it is with the hope of a greater life". During one of his speeches at the independence of Ghana, Nkrumah observed "I wish I could quote Garvey". Afari-Gyan (1976) wondered whether at that point in time, Nkrumah had viewed the occasion as a concrete first step toward the realization of Garvey's unfulfilled dream of a strong, united, black-ruled Africa.
Kwame Nkrumah's Vision for Africa
Marcus Garvey's unfulfilled dream of a strong, united black-ruled Africa might well be taken as the point of departure for Kwame Nkrumah's vision for Africa. And to a very limited extent, the relationship of Marx and Lenin may be compared to that of Garvey and Nkrumah in that Marx was the theoretician while Lenin was both a theoretician and a practitioner and he had to mould Marx to be able to produce the first communist state. Garvey also made some very bold pronouncements, but Nkrumah had to study the positions on the ground and develop strategies for making those noble pronouncements workable. The symbol of that noble dream of a strong, united, black-ruled Africa was definitely Dr. Aggrey's mature eagle. It was also Asikiwe's vision of a new Africa under the leadership of progressive youth rather than the reactionary chiefs who readily collaborated with the colonial powers.
In 1945, Nkrumah left America for London to continue his studies in law and complete his doctorate degree. But while there, he abandoned the idea and instead entered into serious preparations to return to the Gold Coast. In London, Nkrumah met several intellectuals of anti-colonial orientation such as George Padmore, and those connections helped to finally perfect his political outlook. In 1947, when Nkrumah accepted the invitation to become the General Secretary of the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC), he was ready to undertake his mission in Africa and the world.
Ghana would, henceforth, become the springboard for promoting and ultimately attaining independence for the whole continent. Ghana would be prepared to become the gateway for the development of the whole continent. The vision operated at three levels--the individual level, the sub systemic level (Ghana) and the systemic level (Africa).
First, the individual required being equipped to function as a free person and the environment in which he found himself had to be made conducive to permit him/her to function normally in order to express him/herself. Equipping the individual meant providing that person with the necessary education to become abreast with modern standards. Creating a conducive environment at the sub-systemic level meant dismantling the colonial system and putting new structures into place to support local aspirations. It also meant doing the same at the systemic level. On 19th April 1958, Ghana hosted the first Conference of Independent African States in Accra, and Nkrumah launched the idea of African Personality in international diplomatic circles. In December of the same year the All African Peoples Conference followed, on which occasion, the notion of "African Personality" stimulated the forces of nationalism in every African country (Asante, 2010).
Apart from the notion of "African Personality", Nkrumah also spoke about the African Genius. Indeed, this was the title given to his speech at the formal inauguration of the Institute of African Studies at the University of Ghana. According to Professor George Hagan, in "The African Genius" Nkrumah identified the cultural poles in the African cultural situation, aware that these are what should determine the bearings of the African quest for freedom and respectability (Hagan, 2001: 16).
Equipping the individual also involved his education as well as his cultural identity. In 1951, Nkrumah introduced the Accelerated Development Plan for Education to provide, as soon as possible, a six-year primary school program for all children at public expense (Haizel, 2001; 60). With respect to secondary education, Nkrumah established the Ghana Education Trust Schools in all districts of the country. In addition, there were vocational, technical, nursing and teacher training colleges all over the country. Furthermore, Nkrumah established several tertiary institutions across the country including the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology at Kumasi (Akosa, 2010). As Hagan has pointed out, one positive effect of the leadership of Nkrumah was that he made certain that the peoples of Africa gained a consciousness of their cultural identity. By the time of his overthrow, he had established practically all the institutions of cultural development of Ghana: the National Museum, the Arts Council of Ghana, the Research Library in African Affairs and the Ghana Film Corporation. There were also transformations in archival and library services, broadcasting, theatre and public entertainment, development of Ghana languages, development of publications on Ghanaian culture and cultural events and art and cultural education (Hagan, 2001: 1).
Hence, a conducive environment involves the provision of public utilities, infrastructural development and the provision of job opportunities. Nkrumah's young administration of 1951 experienced major unemployment problems, and his response was the establishment of the Ghana Workers Brigade to mop up the unemployed youth and engage them productively. With the assistance of the United States, he built the Akosombo dam to provide a source of cheaper energy for the Ghana's industrialization program. He also advanced plans with the Russians for the construction of a second hydro-electric power station at Bui. This second project could not take place because of his overthrow. Indeed, in assessing the vision of Nkrumah for Africa and Ghana, it is instructive to look at the vision behind the establishment of the Ghana Atomic Reactor Centre at Kwabenya, otherwise known as the Science City (Ghana Review International, 2007).
When laying the foundation stone for the inauguration of the Centre on 24th November 1964, Nkrumah dedicated the atomic reactor to the progress of true science, to the application of science and technology to the well-being of man, to the enlargement of his spirit and to the promotion of peace (Ghana Review International, 2007: 7). The major motive for the decision to build the Centre was to enable Ghana take every advantage of decisive methods of research and development available in the modern world. Ghana, he argued, was compelled to enter the field of atomic energy because it promised to yield the greatest economic source of power since the beginning of man and would make it possible to solve many of Ghana's many--sided problems in all spheres of development in Ghana and Africa. A second reason for the Centre was the knowledge that peaceful uses of atomic energy could facilitate profound transformation in the life of mankind; a socialist society needs to have such profound changes to be able to produce for all. In other words, since Nkrumah was committed to building an industrialized socialist society, it was imperative to pursue scientific and technological research as a means of providing the basis of Ghana's and, indeed, Africa's socialist society (Ghana Review International, 2007).
It is evident that as far back as 1961, when he set up the Atomic Energy Commission to oversee the enterprise of the Atomic Project, Nkrumah had anticipated energy problems which could derail Ghana's industrialization program. The amount of energy from the reactor would be decisive in the development of industry, agriculture, health and other services. Specialists and scientists to run the Centre were trained in Russia and elsewhere, and they were already on the ground to start work in 1964 (Ghana Review International, 2007). When up-to-date infrastructure like the Science City are provided, the Ghanaian and the African could perform in the unified world society, Nkrumah foresaw with confidence. This empowerment of the Ghanaian and the institutions he had to work with went hand in hand with managing the political difficulties in the rest of Africa.
Ghana, thus, became the springboard for providing immediate assistance to other sub-systems within the system which had run into difficulties. In 1958, for instance, when France tried to punish Guinea for voting "Non" in the referendum, Ghana provided immediate support in the form a loan to bail that country out. Ghana also provided other support to freedom fighters in other sub-systems who needed to use war as a tool for liberation. Those who benefited from this outreach included SWAPO from Namibia, the ANC from South Africa, NLF from Algeria, FRELIMO from Mozambique and ZANU-PF from Zimbabwe. The country also served as a sanctuary for those scorched by the heat of liberation struggle. Furthermore, Nkrumah also played a leading role in the establishment of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) to actually champion the cause of unification. The vision implied that when all the problems had been resolved at the sub- systemic level, then the next stage would be the resolution of the problem at the systemic level. It is significant to note that on 24th February, 1966 when Nkrumah was overthrown, he was on a mission to Hanoi to help end the war in Vietnam.
The discussion will now focus on the ideas which collectively constitute the vision of Nkrumah, and for this purpose, it is proposed that the format developed by Kwadwo Afari-Gyan in his paper presented to the Political Science Department in 1976 (11th March, 1976) and subsequently published by African Heritage Studies, be employed.
The term systemic (Africa), sub-systemic (Ghana) and the individual level will be employed to attempt to delineate the various levels which seem to be at play in Nkrumah's analysis of his vision. One of the observations of Afari-Gyan regarding the ideas of Nkrumah was that in all his analysis, Nkrumah failed to make such a distinction and moved freely between the systemic and the sub-systemic levels. From here, he advances to discuss the ideas under three organizing themes, namely, socialism, neo-colonialism and African Unity. These categories will be employed in the discussion of Nkrumah's ideas.
Nkrumah adopted socialism as a vehicle for breaking down colonialism and for promoting development at the sub-systemic level thereafter. He retained a Marxist-Leninist attitude but maintained that there was no ready-made formula for developing post-colonial Africa. And while he had great admiration for the speed and volume of Soviet achievement, he emphasized that the Soviet experience was something to learn from, rather than something to slavishly follow. His search for the right socialist formula reached its peak in his publication, Consciencism: Philosophy and Ideology in Aid of Decolonization in Africa.
His justification for the need for philosophical consciencism as an ideology for decolonization is based on the assumption of the irreversibility of the dynamic changes which had taken place in African society under the impact of alien cultures, together with the view that for any institution or ideology to be effective, it must relate to the conditions of the people it purports to serve. Through a process analogous to gestation or grafting, philosophical consciencism would synthesise a harmonious whole out of the otherwise conflicting cultures in Africa.
Nkrumah believed in social justice, that is, access by the general population to the resources of society particularly with the basic necessities of life. Two obstacles stand in the way of providing social justice. First, there are concrete realities associated with ex-colonial societies such as poverty, illiteracy, ignorance and disease. The second obstacle was the pervading presence of colonial mentality. He believed these problems required to be removed and this could be best carried out under the one party system which would be the appropriate vehicle for socialism. Since the multi-party systems represented conflicting interests and since he conceived democracy primarily in terms of social justice, the only logical conclusion from his reasoning was that a socialist one-party state was the best form of democracy for Africa.
Again, since Nkrumah initially believed that full-fledged Marxian classes did not exist in Africa, he felt that socialism could be achieved here through reform instead of revolution. Secondly, while his philosophical consciencism is embedded in a materialist philosophical viewpoint, Nkrumah's analysis of traditional African society led him to attempt to bridge the gap between idealism and materialism. This attitude changed after the overthrow when the idea began to show in his writings that socialism in Africa could be achieved through violent and decisive struggle (Nkrumah, 1970).
The term neo-colonialism became applicable after the granting of independence to African countries. Nkrumah christened it as the highest stage of imperialism. The argument is that rather than being the terminal stage of capitalism, imperialism made it possible to appease the working classes in capitalist states through welfare measures which itself was made possible by the continued exploitation of the former colonies. However, faced with challenges from the socialist countries as well as from liberation movements in the colonies themselves, imperialism had to abandon its old form of naked exploitation and enter the neo-colonial stage.
In the neo-colonial state, the old exploitation continues but this time the supervisors are the national bourgeoisies. Three methods of exploitation are noted. First, the multinational corporations supervise one aspect of the exploitation; second, Balkanization also enables neo-colonialism to continue, and finally, those who provide aid to the African countries subtly ensure its perpetuation.
According to Afari-Gyan, the concept of neo-colonialism parallels that of socialism in importance in the thought of Nkrumah. Socialism is the sure road to Africa's development; neocolonialism is the number one enemy of Africa's development. Therefore, socialism is an antidote to neo-colonialism and anything that promotes the growth of socialism serves to frustrate neo-colonialism.
There are five stages towards the attainment of total political union or integration. These are: a free trade area, customs union, common market, economic union, and finally, political union (Ojo et. al, 1985). What Nkrumah wanted was total political integration. His continental union was to have three main objectives: overall continental planning on a continental scale; a unified land, sea, air, military and defence strategy; and a common foreign policy (Speech to African Heads of State and Government, Addis Ababa, 24th May, 1963 in Obeng, 2009: 179).
Nkrumah emphasised that the interests of neo-colonialism and the objectives of African governments are directly opposed, for whereas the strength of African countries lies in their unity, the strength of neo-colonialism lies in their disunity. He believed that a united socialist Africa is a necessary condition for the realization of the African Personality, and positive neutralism and non-alignment, the necessary medium for its expression.
To the extent that Africa still remains divided, the vision of Nkrumah remains very pertinent. The United States was able to achieve political union with the creation of the 1789 Constitution. Europe remained at the level of common market for a long time before recently moving one step up to that of economic union. In Africa, five geographical regions are recognized for analysis purposes and each could develop into an integrated entity. These are Northern, Western, Central, Eastern and Southern Africa. The ECOWAS experiment is close to a common market while none of the other regions is doing so well towards full integration.
In addition to the concept of full integration, the theory of neo-colonialism is still very valid today for with the demise of the USSR, the other super power and the implementation of the Structural Adjustment Programs (SAPs) in Africa, most African countries, including Ghana, cannot truly claim that they possess economic independence since the decisions for implementation of the SAPs are taken in New York and the West.
Notwithstanding the ongoing problems concerning unity and economic independence in Africa, it is remarkable that one of the foremost and vocal critics of Nkrumah as the leader of Ghana, nevertheless, appreciated his value to the continent. After the death of Nkrumah in Bucharest on 27th April, 1972, Adu Boahen wrote in his book, Ghana: Evolution and Growth in the 19th and 20th Centuries,
Thus ended the life and career of Kwame Nkrumah, the man who shook and inspired the whole of black people in a way that nobody has done since the time of Marcus Garvey, the man who inspired and accelerated the anti-imperialist and ant-colonial revolution to such an extent that it engulfed the whole of Africa, the man who became the first African politician of world stature in this country, who constantly advocated African unity and brought about the establishment of the OAU, who made the African proud of his continent and the black man everywhere proud of his colour (Boahen, 1975: 225).
The truth of the matter is that the man Kwame Nkrumah and his career ended on 27th April, 1972 in Bucharest. However, his vision for Africa and the world lives on and will continue to do so until Aggrey's eagle begins to fly and his keyboard begins to produce harmonious tunes. At that stage, the African eagle will be even more appreciated because the black keys will be felt on the world keyboard. Africa is the economic future of the world, and while the world needs Africa and Africa needs the world, it was from Africa that all humanity started (Leakey and Lewin, 1978; Leakey, 1994).
Today, African-Americans are organizing to provide the necessary assistance for Mother Africa to wake up. In the United States today, the African-American constituency is as powerful as the Jewish Lobby. Quite appropriately, Professor Agyeman Badu Akosa, President of the Kwame Nkrumah Foundation, has reminded America, in an open letter to President Obama that she has a duty and responsibility to support development efforts in Ghana and Africa because of the manner in which she assisted in cutting short the work of Nkrumah in Ghana and Africa (Akosa, 2009). After compiling a list of the institutions that Nkrumah established while in power in Ghana, Akosa wonders what employment opportunities would have existed today for the Ghanaian if all these institutions had been taken care of. That did not happen, but rather most of them were allowed to rot away or were sold out. This was because Nkrumah's rivals became the advisors to the successor governments, namely, the National Liberation Council (NLC) and the Progress Party, and they advised that these institutions should be discontinued. Akosa now asks what Africans must do to become self- sufficient and retain their dignity? In answer, Nkrumah says: Africa must unite and must terminate all neo-colonialist activities. He spoke of socialism but the type he was committed to could tolerate other systems. Indeed, socialist production can tolerate a pluralist society. In different sectors of today's world society, the public, the cooperative and the capitalist sectors of production do co-exist (Childs, 1980; Nicos Poulantzas in Pluta, 1980: 2-3 and Dodoo, 1995: 178).
These then are the reasons why the vision of Kwame Nkrumah remains relevant to Africa and the world, the man who escaped assassination attempts on his life seven times, the man who was buried three times, and the man who, on many occasions, had his effigy burnt to ashes by the very people he fought hard to liberate (Yeboah, 2009: 1).
The recent visits of three of the sitting Presidents of the United States of America--Bill Clinton (1998), George Bush (2008) and Barack Obama (2009)--to Ghana and Africa-are all testimonies to the new strides being taken towards the realization of the ultimate, a rejuvenated Africa taking its place among the states of the world with dignity. The mission of Kwame Nkrumah in the world has been accomplished and his vision for Africa lives on.
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Vincent Dodoo, Department of History and
Political Studies Social Sciences
Faculty, Kwame Nkrumah University of
Science & Technology. Kumasi, Ghana
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