09.03.2002 Feature Article

Lord Kitchener And The Birth Of Ghana

By Press
Lord Kitchener And The Birth Of Ghana
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By Caldwell Taylor

"Birth of Ghana” is a Lord Kitchener (1922-2000) composition that ought to be better known. The song was Kitch's "tribute to the Ghanian people" on the occasion of Ghana's accession to independence forty-five years ago on March 6, 1957. Ghana's independence electrified the Black world; perhaps this was the case because Ghana (once called the Gold Coast) was the first of Britain's Black colonies to fly the colonial coop. In 1957 Ghana was a towering symbol of racial confidence and an exhilarating road to new racial possibilities. The idea that Ghana pointed the way to the future was especially strong in the Caribbean For one thing, Ghana 'burst" the shackles of colonialism just as the so-called British West Indies were coming together in a federation that was viewed as a platform for the planting of a regional flag of political independence. Another thing: Caribbean people, and, especially, the followers of the ideas of Marcus Garvey (1887-1940) were overjoyed to see Marcus Mosiah's black star at the centre of Ghana's national flag. Kitch grasped the symbolism of the black star. And another thing: Caribbean people were proud of the fact that Ghana’s charismatic leader Kwame Nkrumah (1909-1972) was "taking advice" from two outstanding Caribbean sons, CLR James (1901-1989) and George Padmore (1902-1959); both from Trinidad and Tobago. Padmore, once a Moscow-based communist official who rubbed shoulders with "Comrade Stalin" , served as Nkrumah's advisor on African affairs. The excitement attending the birth of Ghana was no less palpable in the United States where a civil rights movement was beginning to take shape. Events in Ghana boosted the stride of the fledgling Movement Young Martin Luther King attended the Independence Day celebrations, and so also did Congressman Adam Clayton Powell. Before King and Powell, Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong went to Ghana to pay his devoirs to "his people". Satchmo was met by tens of thousands who sang "Sly Mongroose" (recorded by Rupert "Lord Invader" Grant in New York in 1946) while they banged on drums. And at a government reception presided over by Kwame Nkrumah himself, Satchmo sang Black and Blue, "Nkrumah's favourite song". Was Kitch's "Birth Of Ghana" An Nkrumah Favourite? Well, we really don't know. We do know that the song was brought to Nkrumah attention and that he saw it as an expression of racial solidarity and of filial charity. It is no wonder that Ghanians of a certain age remember Kitch with so much fondness and affection. Long live Ghana! BIRTH OF GHANA - Lord Kitchener (Aldwyn Roberts) This day will never be forgotten The sixth day of March 1957 When the Gold Coast successfully got their independence officially Chorus:

Ghana, Ghana is the name Ghana we wish to proclaim We will be jolly, merry and gay The sixth day of March, Independence Day Dr Nkrumah went out of his way To make the Gold Coast what it is today He endeavoured continually To bring us freedom and liberty The doctor began as an agitator He became a popular leader He continued to go further And now he is Ghana's prime minister The national flag is a lovely scene With beautiful colours red, gold and green And a black star in the centre Representing the freedom of Africa Congratulations from Haile Selassie Was proudly received by everybody He particularly comment On the Doctor's move to self-government

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