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February 10, 2007 | Feature Article

A Fitting Memorial Museum for Ghana’s first President Kwame Nkrumah at Nkroful

A  Fitting Memorial Museum for Ghana’s first President Kwame Nkrumah at Nkroful

The late President Kwame Nkrumah was the son of a goldsmith; he was educated at mission schools in the Gold Coast (now Ghana) and became a teacher. A brilliant student, he pursued his educational career hence making to become not only a three dimensional thinker but a strategically focused individual fit to lead a country.

In 1949, Nkrumah formed his own party, the Convention People's party, and led a series of strikes and boycotts for self-government. He was imprisoned (1950) by the British for sedition, but was released in 1951 when his party swept the general election; he became prime minister in 1952.

The African Star Kwame Nkrumah burst upon the world international stage on March 6, 1957. The date the tables turned, as a British colonial official called it six years earlier, the “most daring political experience yet carried out in Africa.”
As history unfolded, at midnight, Nkrumah presided over a solemn ceremony at Black Star square in the capital city of Accra as the symbol of a century of British colonial rule over the Gold Coast, the Union Jack, slipped beneath the floodlights.
Rising in its place was the tri-colour flag of red, gold, and green, with a black star at its centre, the standard of the new, independent nation of Ghana, the first British colony in Africa to achieve sovereignty in the 20th century. Ghanaians must reflect on the ecstasy worldwide we were all in when the Black Star defeated the US football team during the world cup finals last year, and reflect then reflect upon the emotions Kwame and his team and our parents and grand parents went through. I bet the euphoria was even then greater across our nation Ghana, Africa, Asia, and even Europe. Ghana became the nation to be seen associated with.
What a remarkable achievement indeed.
I wonder what it meant for w Kwame Nkrumah's parents. Their son Kwame never build them a family home as a legacy for their family, even though he was the first President of Ghana. He put Ghana first, and never got the chance later. This is an opportunity to put that right, in a small way.

Having a memory museum in Nkroful for our late President could be linked into the secondary school curriculum. It would enhance Ghana's political history – help give some focus, maybe part of a 'Citizenship course'? We all should learn about the history of our Country, recent as well as past. Countries that celebrate and take pride in their political birth pains are more stable; the citizens take pride in the achievements of that the country and are less likely to support change outside the political system. No pride, no respect, regime change by any means becomes more likely. We do not want to be like so many other African countries. This is Ghana unique selling point.

Referring to my article the integration of all political parties for Ghana @50 published on 1 February 2007 on ghanaweb.com, it was clear that we failed to honour Kwame until now.
The memory of our dear brother Kwame Nkrumah is currently cherished by a dwindling number of veterans of the movements for black liberation in the United States and national independence in Africa and the Caribbean. Kwame spent the pivotal period of his life 10 years in the US. I wonder how many African American students know of him.
During the Black History month celebrated in Britain his name is hardly mentioned.
Ghanaians must raise the profile of Kwame Nkrumah always.
It would have been nice to see our current Government working in partnership with the late President's family to discuss the opportunity of perhaps building a fitting memorial museum for Kwame and market the birth place of our late President. This would enrich the our history and generate a new dimension of Ghana 's desperate tourists industry. Many people all over of the world know of Kwame Nkrumah more than any other name in Ghana and the rest of Africa. Ghana needs to be smart enough and focus strategically in building a memorial museum that would exalt the late President whose selflessness is what we are enjoying now.

Ghana owes Kwame so much. I mentioned the locations of all our High Commission in the developed countries. How did Kwame Nkrumah manage to get this right? Given that location, location, location matters so much everywhere we live.

Ghanaians in Diaspora must not forget the hurdles in our history as Kwame fought day and night with spiritual back ups from his family and external encouragements even from my late grand mother whom I never met. Kwame Nkrumah was focused and mediated to see Ghana through. It was his prays that Ghana see a light at the end of the colonial rule.

With such a struggle, resilience, determine to succeed and the collaboration of Kwame Nkrumah and his team we are free today.

This is the sacrifice every leader in Africa must aspire to and be focused on strategic objectives until the end of their reign.

Today, Ghanaians every where are proud to be called Ghanaians. Ghana has positioned and above all established itself to do business with all developed countries, for example Switzerland, Sweden, British, U.S, France and many more in the 1950's.

The high & lows of our late President Kwame Nkrumah in the light of Ghana @50.

Returning to the Gold Coast in 1947, he was made general secretary of the United Gold Coast Convention party by its founder, Dr. J. B. Danquah, who was later jailed by Nkrumah.

Kwame Nkrumah's political party was Convention People Party (CPP)

 Prime Minister : 1957-1960

 President : 1960-1960

 Lead a successful movement to create an independent Ghana, but tarnishing his own reputation with an increasingly dictatorial regime, which ultimately led to his overthrow

 1935- Travelled to the United States to study at Lincoln University in Pennsylvania.

 While studying law there he held important posts in African nationalist organizations, espousing Pan-Africanism.

 1945 - Helped organise the Fifth Pan-African Congress, held in Manchester, England

 1947- Returned to Africa to become general secretary of the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC), a movement to establish independence from Britain

 1949 - Split from UGCC on the grounds that it was working too slowly, and
formed the more radical Convention People's Party (CPP) and by doing set the scene necessary to foster the vision.

 Additional information from a reader from ghanaweb.. Kwame was leader of Government Business 1951-1957.

 Nkrumah provided constitutional experts to support the Kenyan/Ugandan/Malawian independence negotiations at Lancashire House, Britain.

 His government provided financial support to the people of Guinea, when France withdrew all support to the people of Guniea in 1958.

 Kwame Nkrumah supported the National Liberation Movements in Southern Africa, ie Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe. Provided Ghanaian passports to leaders like Sam Nujoma of Namibia.

 Kwame Nkrumah organised the first All African Peoples Conference in Accra in 1958

 Nkrumah supported Algeria's independence struggle led by Ahmed Ben Bella

 He is the only Ghanaian leader whose name is named after streets, parks etc across Africa. Nairobi, Maputo, Kampala, Conakry, Algeria, etc

 His Bank account balance in London, which he had as a student was less than 400 UK pounds as at the time of the coup in 1966.

 President Julius Nyeyere of Tanzania and Kamuzu Banda of Malawi used to send him money for survival in Coankary. We thank the Governments of Tanzania and Malawi for their support.

 1951 - Led the CPP to a sweep in national elections and formed a Government to begin the transfer of power from British colonial authority to home rule

 1957- Became the first Prime Minister of Ghana upon its independence, a title that changed to be President in 1960.

 Kwame was even able to convince and influence African American luminaries. For example, diginitries like Ralph Bunche, the chief United Nations trouble-shooter; Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., fresh from the success of the Montgomery bus boycott; A. Philip Randolph, the grand old man of the civil-rights and labour movements; and Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., Harlem congressman and pastor of the Abyssinian Baptist church to come down and witness our special day. What a colourful and historic that day was.

 Probably the leading proponent of pan-Africanism, he affected a loose union with Guinea (1959) and Mali (1960). Following a course of international political neutrality, he secured economic and technical aid from the United States and the Soviet Union.

 In 1961 Nkrumah invited black American scholar W.E.B. Du Bois to live in Ghana, where Du Bois began work on his unfinished Encyclopaedia Africana.

 Nkrumah was awarded the 1962 Lenin Peace Prize for his leadership in Pan-Africanism and anticolonialism.

 1963- Participated in the establishment of the Organisation of African Unity but found opposition to his dream of continental union

 1964- Became increasingly dictatorial after surviving two assassination attempts, forming a one-party state and naming himself president for life

1966 - Was removed from power by military forces while as he increasingly isolated himself from the populace, meanwhile promoting a cult of personality. In 1966. Sadly whilst on a trip to Beijing, his government was overthrown. He subsequently took refuge in Guinea and remained there for the rest of his life.

 He was kept a life by Guinean president Sekou Toure, the Chinese, Cuban governments. They supplied the white clothing's he used.

 Nkrumah died in Bucharest, Romania, while undergoing treatment for cancer.

Ghanaians must be positive and realised how lucky we are right now, had it not been the selfless act of Kwame Nkrumah and his team of Ministers. Kwame saw so much and was trying to push Ghana through towards our freedom. Looking around us we could all see what is happening to other African countries? Kwame Nkrumah made us to be the first African country to be assertive and take no nonsense to approach to obsession.

Although we have slipped behind some other ex-British colonies (e.g. Malaysia) as we are still enjoying our freedom. In fact, this is the time for all Ghanaians to work their socks off and aspire to achieve even greater things for Ghana our motherland. Laziness is not an excuse in the new era we are entering into. The world wants to see outcomes.

Ghanaians must stop feeling sorry for them selves now and rather focus strategically and systematically to address issues of grave concerns from health, education, social, infrastructure, security etc.

Ghana is privileged now than ever. As the saying goes “the first shall be the last”. Hence when Britain was struggling for its existence during the Second World War, they rose to face adversity and triumphed. Even Germany rebuilt itself from an even greater devastation.

Let us as Ghanaians exalt our late President Kwame Nkrumah's memory and offer him a purposely-built memorial museum in his hometown, which could also attract our children, tourists and others.
This could have lots of summer huts each to be used as workshop to teach our youth the way things are done in the then Gold Coast, i.e. the kente weaving, basket weaving, sewing, cooking of traditional foods, shoe making and many local trades. And charge people the same way things are done in Disneyland in Florida and France i.e. on hourly basis for a go..
A big restaurant, a cafeteria attached to sell drinks and a souvenir shop to sell memorabilia of Kwame Nkrumah. For example post cards of Nkroful and its surroundings, mugs, T shirts, tea towels and the memorial museum itself etc.

We could also have a statue of Kwame Nkrumah there so that our children and other people like tourists would be able to take photos and spread the history of our motherland.

This complex could then be finished off with mini botanical gardens all round the memorial museum which indeed would be befitting to our late President's contributions to Ghana.

Money generated could be used to build health centre, learning resource centre, public toilets and recreational parks with benches positioned along the parks , a kind of bird sanctury and water fountain or falls trickling down within the grounds. A special Kwame Nkrumah Trust fund could be set up in a Rural bank or otherwise. This could then be used to assist children living around Nkroful. This would help to assist financial assistance for their educational progress and to ensure they achieve their full potential. The whole Nkroful town would need a make over and this funds generated to ensure that vision of Kwame as a standard for Ghana ..

In conclusion, I would like to mention that although our President may have plans to honour the immediate family of our late President and whose vision we are still aspiring. I would emphasise that this honour is necessary. The whole African continent, African Americans and Africa descendants everywhere would be proud to see this happen.

Also the time is right for the Federal State of United State to acknowledge Kwame's achievements and perhaps include in their school curriculum a section for all American to know more about the history of our freedom.

I also hope the British Government could voice their recognition of Kwame Nkrumah's achievements for Africa and the commonwealth.

Kwame Nkrumah did so much to raise the profile of black people world wide in the middle of the 20th century. The timing is now right for Ghana to be performing and showing off outcomes and get A* stars it needs to flaunt to the international world.

Let us as every Ghanaian join our current leader to rejoice over our freedom.

The signal for the world is for all Ghanaians to unite behind the current Government for celebrations of our freedom.
This is what our late beloved brother Late President Kwame Nkrumah would beg for us to do.

What Kwame would hate to see in spirit is infighting among political parties.

Unity, Unity, Unity is what our nation wants to see on the 6th march onwards.

Last but not least, I would like to thank Mr CNN of ghanaweb.com for his approach to identifying Ghanaians individuals and putting them on the spotlight to acknowledge the recognition they deserve. There are many like Kwame Nkrumah out there and we as Ghanaians need to keep the touch of transformation and development into the next century shining very high.

Mercy Adede Bolus
Mercy Adede Bolus

The author has authored 171 publications on Modern Ghana.
Author's column: MercyAdedeBolus

Disclaimer: "The views/contents expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of Mercy Adede Bolus and do not neccessarily reflect those of Modern Ghana. Modern Ghana will not be responsible or liable for any inaccurate or incorrect statements contained in this article."

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