Saturday, September 21, 2013

104 years since the birth of Kwame Nkrumah

If Nkrumah were still alive he would be 104 today. He died of cancer in Bucharest Romania in 1972. He was the first leader of Ghana after it gained its independence from the British on 6 March 1957 and ruled until his overthrow in a military coup on 24 February 1966. After which he lived most of the rest of his life in exile in Guinea. Much of the state and physical infrastructure of Ghana was built during his tenure as president. Among other things he built Tema Harbour and Akosombo Dam. This latter project created Lake Volta which remains today the largest man made lake in the world and a major supplier of fish, an important source of protein for Ghanaians. In addition to being a visionary leader for Ghana, Nkrumah was an important Pan-African thinker and leader. He was instrumental in helping form the Casablanca Group and the Organization of African Unity as well as playing a key role in the Non-Aligned Movement. During the late 1950s and early 1960s he was the most prominent African leader south of the Sahara on the world stage. The only other African leader at this time to play such an important international role was Nasser in Egypt. In 2009 President Mills declared Nkrumah's birthday a national holiday here in Ghana and gave it the official title of Founder's Day.

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