He was a visionary.He thought big, but he thought big for Ghana and its people, and for Africa and its people.He had a great dream for Africa and its people.He had the well being of our people at heart.He was no looter. He did not have a Swiss bank account.He died poor. Shakespeare wrote that “the evil that men do lives after them”, but ” the good is oft interred with their bones”.
We may borrow some few moments about the day he declared Ghana’s political independence, as witnessed by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in March 1957. For those who have not read King’s writings on the influence, Ghana’s Independence and Nkrumah had on him and the U.S. Civil Rights Struggle; read up on one of his biographers – Claiborne Carson – on the chapters on King and the African influence.
IN HIS OWN WORDS – AN INSPIRATION FROM GHANA HE NOTES:-
“It seems this morning that I can hear God speaking. I can hear him speaking throughout the universe, saying, “Be still and know that I am God. And if you don’t stop, if you don’t straighten up, if you don’t stop exploiting people, I’m going to rise up and break the backbone of your power. And your power will be no more!” And the power of great Britain is no more.I looked at France. I looked at Britain. And I thought about the
Britain that could boast, “ The sun never sets on our great empire.” And I say now she had gone to the level that the sun hardly rises on the British Empire.
AS DISTINGUISH GUEST AT GHANA’S INDEPENDENCE , MARCH 6th,1957 – He wrote “Ghana has something to say to us.It says to us first that the oppressor never voluntarily gives freedom to the oppressed.You have to work for it. Freedom is never given to anybody. Privileged classes never give up their privileges without resistance.”
MLK notes further “ The minute I knew I was coming to Ghana I had a deep emotional feeling.A new nation was born. It symbolized the fact that a new order was coming into being and an old order was passing away.So I was
deeply concerned about it.I wanted to be involved in it, be a part of it, and noticed the birth of this nation with my own eyes. Struggling had been going on in Ghana for years.The British saw that it could no longer rule the Gold Coast and agreed that on the sixth of March, 1957, it would release the nation.All of this was because of the persistent protest, the continual agitation, of Prime Minister Kwame Nkrumah and the other leaders who worked along with him and the masses of people who were willing to follow.”
M.L.King Jr. sums up his emotions thus : ” So that day finally came.About midnight on a dark night in 1957, a new nation into being.That was a great hour. As we walked out, we noticed all over the polo grounds almost a half million people.They had waited for this hour and moment for years. People came from all over the world —- seventy nations – to say to this new nation: “We greet you and give you our support…..It was a beautiful
experience to see some of the leading persons on the scene of the civil rights in America on hand: to my left was Charles Diggs, to my right were Adam Clayton Powell and Ralph Bunche…..Mordecai Johnson, Horace Mann Bond A. Phillip Randolph.”
A handsome black man walked out on the platform, and he was followed by eight or ten other men.He stood there and said, “We are no longer a British colony.We are free and sovereign people. When he uttered those
word, we looked back and saw a flag coming down and a new flag coming up. That new flag going up is the symbol of a new age coming into being.” ” I could hear people shouting all over that vast audience “Freedom! Freedom! Freedom !”…” Before I knew it , I started weeping.I was crying for joy. And I knew about all of the struggles, all of the pain, and all of the agony that these people had gone through for this moment.”
After Nkrumah made that final speech, we walked away, and we could hear little children six years old and old people eighty and ninety years old walking the streets of Accra crying: ” Freedom 1 Freedom!” they were crying it in a sense that they had never heard it before.And I could hear that old Negro spiritual once more crying out : Free at last, Free at last, Great God Almighty, I’m free at last.” ” The thing that impressed me more than anything else that night was when Nkrumah and his other ministers who had been in prison with him walked in.They didn’t come in with the crowns and all those garments of kings.They walked in with prison caps.Nkrumah stood up and made his closing speech to parliament with the little cap he wore in prison for several months and the coat he wore in prison for several months.The birth of this new nation renewed my conviction in the ultimate triumph of justice.And it seemed to me, this was fit testimony to the fact that eventually the forces of justice triumph in the universe.”
Here are some observations by Sam Nujoma, 1st President Of Namibia. Here is a brief account of his encounters and experience as young freedom fighter in an interview in 1997 on Ghana’s 40th Independence anniversary.
“ At the time of Ghana’s Independence, I was a young man of 29 years, and this historic Independence celebration had a tremendous enduring impact on my life. It provided a ray of hope for the future of our own liberation, and from that day on I decided that come rain or shine, hell or high water, joy or pain, life or death, we will liberate our motherland Namibia as it was done in Ghana !”
“After the brutal killing of our people on 10 December 1959, during the Windhoek Old Location Massacre, I decided to flee the country of my birth. My journey into exile took me through several African countries, most of
them still battling the yoke of colonialism, and I finally arrived in a free and Independent Ghana in April 1960. This was like a breath of fresh air, and I found myself in the centre of the campaign for African Independence and unity.”
“There was a Positive Action Conference in progress , organized by President Kwame Nkrumah, and I met African leaders from different liberation movements in Africa, including Nkrumah himself, Patrice Lumumba and Josef Kasavubu of the then Belgian Congo, and the legendary Frantz Fanon who was representing the Algerian National Liberation Front (FLN). I gave an eyewitness account of the Windhoek Old Location Massacre. To this day, I remember vividly Nkrumah’s words at the Positive Action Conference, the central message of his speech being that “ the continent was awakened: the giant that had been asleep was aroused”. I held personal talks with Nkrumah on several occasions, and he always urged to “Keep On! The Ghana government is behind you.”
I need to mention that perhaps the most important practical contribution Ghana made to Namibia in particular, was the fact that in 1966, Ghana’s permanent representative to the UN proposed Resolution 2145, which effectively terminated the South African mandate and placed South West Africa under the direct responsibility of the UN. This Resolution…culminatedin the independence of Namibia on 21 March 1990.”
Nkrumah will always be remembered for the good contributions he made forthe emancipation and liberation of Africa and Africans worldwide. His words will always remain one of our battle cries “Africa Forward Ever, Backwards Never … You Have Nothing To Lose But Your Chains.”