The Centenary of an Extraordinary Man

African Update – 19/09/09

The man who led Ghana to become the first tropical country to gain independence from colonial rule and, more than any Afrikan leader in the 20th century, helped greatly to liberate the Afrikan continent from foreign domination and oppression, would turn 100 years old on 21 September 2009.

Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah will be remembered, honoured and celebrated in Ghana and Afrika from September, 2009 to May 2010. The government of Ghana has prepared a rich programme to celebrate the centenary of this extraordinary man and announced that his birthday will be a public holiday.

In 1957, Kwame Nkrumah made the following famous statement: ''The independence of Ghana is meaningless unless it is linked up with the total liberation of Afrika" and by these prophetic words Nkrumah started the liberation movement across Afrika and dedicated his whole life to it.

Kwame Nkrumah became the first president of Ghana on 1st July, 1960. Nkrumah was a pioneer and a model of the Afrikan liberation struggle, one of the leading architects and advocates of Pan-Afrikanism and the principal driving force behind the founding of the Organisation of Afrikan Unity [which later become Afrikan Union] and the Non-Aligned Movement. Nkrumah has also authored several books, famous amongst which is Afrika Must Unite - a kind of treatise on the case for Afrikan Unity.

In an interview with Amy Goodman (www.democracynow.org) on 16th February, 2009 the Kenyan scholar professor Ali Mazrui described Kwame Nkrumah as the first post-colonial black president of the world. According to Mazrui, Nkrumah was, and still is, the “most ambitious pan-Afrikanist leader of the 20th century”.

At the turn of the 21st century, BBC World Service listeners voted Nkrumah as the Greatest Afrikan of the 20th century. In 2004, in a year long poll conducted by an influential magazine New African for its readers to choose the greatest Afrikan of all time, Nkrumah came second only to Mandela by just 12 votes. Even several years after his death, Kwame Nkrumah is still very popular in Ghana, Afrika and the whole world. The name Nkrumah is very much alive and his ideals and visions have become even more relevant and urgent now.

In celebrating Osagyefo (the liberator) Kwame Nkrumah we do so with the historic mission statement he made at the dawn of Ghana’s independence on the 6th of March, 1957: "Today, there is a new Afrikan in the world, and that new Afrikan is ready to fight his own battle and show that, after all, the black man is capable of managing his own affairs. We are going to demonstrate to the world, to the other nations, that young as we are, we are prepared to lay our own foundation." This mission suffered a serious setback when Nkrumah was overthrown in a coup on 24th February, 1966 supported by CIA. But his ideals still live on.

We wish you a happy Centenary and say: freedom, freedom, freedom and triumph to the struggles of the Afrikan people everywhere.

Afrikatu Kofi Nkrumah, Accra, Ghana

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Our library has aquired a number of new and interesting books. Here is the list of the latest titles.

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  • Fashion Cities Africa by Hannah Azieb Pool
  • Frantz Fanon: Toward a Revolutionary Humanismby Christopher Lee
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  • Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity and Poverty by Robinson, James A., Acemoglu, Daron
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  • A History of Modern Africa: 1800 to the Present by Richard J. Reid
  • Authentically African: Arts and the Transnational Politics of Congolese Culture by Sarah Van Beurden
  • Children in Slavery through the Ages by by Gwyn CampbellSuzanne MiersJoseph C. Miller
  • Global Health in Africa: Historical Perspectives on Disease Control by Tamara Giles-Vernick
  • Rumba on the River: A History of the Popular Music of the Two Congos by Gary  Stewart
  • Women and Slavery, Vol. 1: Africa, the Indian Ocean World, and the Medieval North Atlantic by Gwyn Campbell
  • Women and Slavery, Vol. 2: The Modern Atlantic by Gwyn Campbell
  • Cahier d'un Retour Au Pays Natal by Aimé Cesaire
  • Healing Traditions: African Medicine, Cultural Exchange and Competition in South Africa, 1820-1948 by Karen Elizabeth  Flint
  • Global Education Policy and International Development: New Agendas, Issues and Policies by Antoni Verger
  • Black Skin, White Coats: Nigerian Psychiatrists, Decolonization, and the Globalization of Psychiatry by Matthew M. Heaton
   

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