On this date 108 years ago, a great philosopher and statesman was born. Kwame Nkrumah was born on September 21, 1909 in Nkroful, an Nzema village in the Western Region of what was then known as the Gold Coast. Thanks to this inspiring leader and five other influential Ghanaians who are collectively known at the “Big Six,” the Gold Coast is today known as Ghana – Africa’s first independent nation since European colonialism divided the continent.
Much like the American celebration of George Washington’s birthday was eventually enlarged to celebrate all American presidents, Nkrumah’s birthday has become a public holiday in Ghana called Founders Day and celebrated every September 21. As Ghanaians and Pan-Africans around the world reflect on the legacy of Ghana’s founding fathers and strategize on the nation’s future, here are nine quotations by the great Osagyefo which remind us of the broad, ambitious vision that they established, the critical political views they held, and the distance we have yet to go in fulfilling their goals for a free, united and independent Africa – not just politically but economically.
These are not Nkrumah’s most famous quotes. You may already be familiar with his most popular gems such as “I am not an African because I was born in Africa, but because Africa was born in me” or “Our independence is meaningless unless it is linked up with the total liberation of Africa.” Rather, these quotes were selected to show the depth of Nkrumah’s vision – his world view and his political savvy.