On September 21, 1909, at Nkroful, Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah, the greatest African thinker was born. On April 27, 1971, in faraway Bucharest, Romania, this utmost living thinker ceased to think. He went to sleep forever! Today, we remember this great son, this great thinker! He was simply the greatest thinker, and his greatness was founded on his ideological and political thoroughness and immaculateness.
His death was an incalculable loss to the working people of Ghana, Africa and the world. His departure has left a yawning gap that is felt by all progressives fighting for the liberation of Africa from the clutches of imperialism and neo-colonialism. Historical scholarship has interrogated the legacy of this great man. We do not intend to replicate this today. Rather, the People’s Democratic Movement wishes to remind the Ghanaian people, particularly the youth, about the world into which Nkrumah led Ghana, his diligent efforts to industrialize and modernize Ghana, a country that had experienced some 400 years of slave capture, and another 100 years of colonization – i.e. 500 years of subjugation at the end of which Ghana had become underdeveloped, dependent and quasi-capitalist formation.
A colossal political figure within and outside of Ghana, Nkrumah’s time as head of state of Ghana from independence in 1957 to 1966, as well as his role as Prime Minister from 1951 to 1957, comprises over a decade-and-a-half of the most formative years of the Ghanaian state. His scholarly work on “Pan-Africanism” and “Neocolonialism” gave birth to thousands of followers, many of whom joined the Convention People’s Party (CPP), and some so enthusiastic that they would be called “Nkrumahists.” Such admirers developed a major wing in African postcolonial thought. Nkrumah is respected as the main leader in Ghana’s quest for self-government.
The People’s Democratic Movement believes that appreciating Nkrumah and his historical impact cannot be accomplished by analyzing him solely in the context of an era of his own making. Nkrumah fits in a context, preceded by events that would have impacts on his governance. And he, in turn affected the Ghanaian, African and world history, political development in significant ways. Besides, Nkrumah’s political and ideological actions built a legacy that cannot be comprehended only within the confines of his leadership up to 1966. On the contrary, the Osagyefo and his economic, social and political policies were as related and connected to the world around Ghana. He was a great nationalist figure with enormous global touch. Nkrumah was to Ghana as Sun Yat Sen was to China, and Jose Marti was to Cuba.
Undoubtedly the most reverberating axiom of the African independence movements was Nkrumah’s proclamation of a “political kingdom”, which sought to assure the African people of the formation of post-colonial governments that would be the steady foundation for the new African republic. Nkrumah was an embodiment of reason, freedom and modernity.
Such was the man. He was a historically dynamic, revolutionary force, even institution. Like Karl Marx, Frederick Engels and Vladimir Lenin, Kwame Nkrumah was before all else a revolutionist, whose main mission in life was to contribute, in one way or another, to the overthrow of capitalist mode of production and to contribute to the liberation of the working class. He stood firm and fought all his life. And, he fought with a great “passion, a tenacity and a success such as few could rival” (to borrow Engels description of Marx).
Today, Ghana is heavily poor and indebted. The future looks break. We are putting our future at risk with the huge amounts of debt we are accumulating for our children to deal with in the future. There is disarray. We seem embarked on a journey without maps to an uncertain destination. We are confused, and seem more than hopeless. We can never extricate ourselves from the mess, desolation and muddle unless we return to Nkrumah. Nkrumah and his brilliant works will endure through the ages.
As we celebrate the birth of this great son of Africa, the People’s Democratic Movement wishes all Ghanaians the very best of every good thing in life. But, we say “Back to Nkrumah”!!!
*This article is expressed solely according to the right of the author – People’s Democratic Movement, a left-wing organisation based in Ghana. Views therefore expressed are solely theirs and do not reflect those of The Worker.