Today marks the 114th birthday of the foremost Pan-Africanist and first president of Ghana, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah.
Born to Kofi Ngonloma of the Asona Clan and Elizabeth Nyanibah of the Anona Clan at Nkroful in the Western Region of what was then known as the Gold Coast, Nkrumah led the West African nation to gain its independence from Britain in 1957. This feat made it the first sub-Saharan nation to gain its independence.
A staunch advocate for a united African state and the total liberation of the African continent from imperialism and Western dependency, Nkrumah was also one of the founding fathers of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), now the African Union (AU).
Nkrumah was overthrown in a coup on February 24, 1966, by the military with Western backing while on a state visit to China and North Vietnam. He is reported to have died of prostate cancer with no family member by his side after months of failing health following the mysterious death of his cook in Conakry, Guinea, where he was exiled.
Though much has been written about Nkrumah, from his private to his public life, certain facts about him that are hardly or not even known, including the details he provided when he was applying to undertake a PhD in Anthropology at the London School of Economics in 1945, make for a very interesting case. As Ghana, then known as Gold Coast hadn’t yet attained independence, Nkrumah filled his nationality on the form as “British Subject.”
As the world remembers the great leader, here are five books by him you should read to awaken your black consciousness:
Neo-Colonialism: The Last Stage of Imperialism
Nkrumah released this book in 1965. According to reports, it was so controversial that the U.S. Department of State blocked $25 million in foreign aid to Ghana upon its release. The book was among the first to openly criticize Western governments, especially the United States, which had wanted to paint themselves as impartial at worst, and supportive of African countries at best at the end of colonialism. The book pointed out the exploitative nature of these countries’ relationship with Africa, especially in economic terms.
Ghana: The autobiography of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah
This book is about Kwame Nkrumah’s birth and early childhood as well as his rise to power and fame. It also helps to understand the beginning of the African Revolution.
Dark Days in Ghana
In this book, Nkrumah exposes the military-police dictatorship established in Ghana after his overthrow in 1966, setting it in the context of the wider African and world situation.
Africa Must Unite
If you have an interest in world socio-economic developmental processes, then this book is yours. It is essentially about the total liberation and unification of Africa.
I Speak Of Freedom
This is a selection from the speeches of Nkrumah up to 1960, linked by narrative.
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