What Amiri Baraka Said About Kwame Nkrumah-9


?It is Nkrumah the theoretician and practitioner of Pan-Africanism who continues to provide interest and respect (Kofi Hadjor, ?Realist, dreamer or visionary??, published in the ?African Concord,? Oct. 9, 1986, p. 8-9).?

Kwame Nkrumah
Kwame Nkrumah

?Even General J.A. Ankrah, who headed the Supreme Military Council that took over Ghana after the February 24, 1966, coup d??tat that toppled Nkrumah, confirmed that his [Kwame Nkrumah?s] place in African history had been assured (See Ama Biney?s ?The Political and Social Thought of Kwame Nkrumah, p. 2).?

?Dead politicians are different things to different people. Both their good and their wrong define the goal posts and hence the playing fields upon which the survivors take their positions in society. Their good is usurped, their failures exhumed and magnified as appropriate and in accordance with creed. It is the nature of humanity to review the past, for in doing so we not only define our won essence but also seek to learn lessons if we genuinely desire to do so (Charles Abugre, ?In Defence,? p. 11-13).

?The Institute of African Studies, established in 1961 and formally opened in 1963 by the late Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, first president of the Republic of Ghana, is undoubtedly one of the earliest institutes and centers of African centers on the African continent?That Congress aimed to galvanize Africanists, researchers, scholars, and activists in the coordination of energies and resources?material and intellectual?towards the study of the continent and its people, and chart a course for the discipline of African studies (See Ameyaw Debrah?s ?Renowned Author, Ngugi wa Thiong?o in Ghana for International Conference on African Studies?).

Realistically, what do the above statements say about the greatness of ?Africa?s Man of the Millennium? and ?Eric Walberg?s ?Greatest African?? It is no wonder Nkrumah?s contributions to education, world politics, and African culture are seminal in many significant respects, as well as globally influential, enduring, and transformative. In fact, the Zimbabwe International Book Fair in partnership with African Writers? Association, the African Publishers Network, Book Development Councils, Library Associations, and Pan-African Booksellers Association, under the able guardianship of Ali Mazrui, came up with Africa?s 100 influential books of the 20th century?appropriately dubbed ?Africa?s 100 Best Books.? Interestingly, the influential works of four African presidents made it to the final compact, competitive list: Nkrumah?s ?Ghana: The Autobiography of Kwame Nkrumah,? Jomo Kenyatta?s ?Facing Mount Kenya,? Leopold Senghor’s “Ouvre Poetique,” and Nelson Mandela?s ?Long Walk to Freedom.? No other Ghanaian president or prime minister was accorded this level of respect by the international team that assembled and ranked Africa?s most influential scholarly works of the 20th century! Aside that, Ama Ata Aido’s “Anowa,” Ayi Kwei Armah’s “The Beautyful Ones Are Not Yet Born,” Kwame A. Appiah’s “In My Father’s House,” Meshak Asare’s “Sosu’s Call,” J.E. Casely-Hayford’s “Ethiopia Unbound,” and Efua Dorkenoo’s “Cutting the Rose” also made it to the final list.? However, this fact must be emphasized in no uncertain terms since Nkrumah the redoubtable politician was also an influential thinker and accomplished scholar of global proportions. In fact, Nkrumah co-founded the American and Canadian branches of the African Studies Association and the African Students Association.

Likewise, he was instrumental in creating an Institute of African Languages and Culture at the University of Pennsylvania, one of the eight of America?s Ivy League institutions of higher learning. In addition, in 1945, the Lincolnian, a Lincoln University newspaper, voted him the ?Most Outstanding Professor-Of-The-Year.? In other words, Nkrumah was bigger than the aggregate biography his ideological enemies harbor in their atomized cocooned world. ?There is a particular poignancy to the history of Ghana because it was the pioneer. Kwame Nkrumah was more than a political leader; he was a prophet of independence, of-imperialism, of Pan-Africanism,? writes Frederick Cooper, adding: ?His oft-quoted phrase ?Seek ye first the political kingdom? was not just a call for Ghanaians to demand a voice in the affairs of state, but a plea for leaders and ordinary citizens to use power for a purpose?to transform a colonized society into a dynamic and prosperous land of opportunity (See ?Africa Since 1940: The Past of the Present,? p. 161). On the other hand, Amilcar Cabral said of Nkrumah: ?the strategist of genius in the struggle against classic colonialism (See ?Unity and Struggle,? p. 115).

Further, Sam Nujoma, the founder of modern Namibia, maintains: ?Ghana?s fight for freedom inspired and influenced us all, and the greatest contribution to our political awareness at that time came from the achievements of Ghana after its independence. It was from Ghana that we got the idea that we must do more than just the UN to bring about our own independence (Ama Biney, p. 2). Didn?t Nelson Mandela and the leadership of the ANC dedicate similar eulogistic statements to Nkrumah, a modern pathfinder of African nationalism? Finally, Kenneth Kaunda declares: ?Nkrumah inspired many people of Africa towards independence and was a great supporter of the liberation of southern Africa from apartheid and racism (Ama Biney, p. 3). Importantly, several respected scholars from around the world have carefully studied and written extensively about Nkrumah?s transformative contributions to education and African culture, as we pointed our earlier. Namely, Nkrumah and his big ideas have consumed the intellectual attention of many an important scholar across the world since the 1950s. It continues in earnest today!

Who are some of these scholars who have spent their entire intellectual careers on Nkrumah? We can cite five of these distinguished intellectuals: Zizwe Poe, Kwame Botwe-Asamoah, Molefi Kete Asante, Ama Biney, and Kwame Arhin. Again, let?s recall that Nkrumah, a polymath, was a profound thinker who came in a variegated package of intellectualism: Philosopher, scholar, priest, politician, writer, historian, anthropologist, sociologist, cultural theorist, professor, educator, theologian, mass organizer, and orator (See the Introduction of Kwame Botwe-Asamoah?s book for an exhaustive discussion of Nkrumah?s education). What is the nature of Nkrumah?s precise contributions to education? ?This question is as intensely long as the response is as intellectually sophisticated. In the main, Ama Biney, one of Britain?s outstanding Nkrumah scholars, has this to stay: ?The role of education was central to the success of Nkrumah?s economic policies. Not only did he consider it key to educating a competent and technically skilled workforce, but also Nkrumah believed that Ghanaian citizens had to understand and share the ideology of the CPP in order to effect a second economic and social revolution in the country.?? Ama Biney sets the tone for us!

Indeed, Ama Biney?s overall understanding of Nkrumah?s philosophical and intellectual ideas on education is important, for she clearly demonstrates how Nkrumah linked education to national development and growth. In other words, Nkrumah?s appreciation of education went beyond narrow instructional formalities of theory to encompass formalized practicalities of education, which, yet again, among other things, directly entails translating theory into praxis for the social and economic betterment of society at large. Thus the issue for Nkrumah was essentially one between practical knowledge and technical knowledge. Yet he viewed his educational ideas in the larger context of improving African lives by using science and technology and progressive African wisdom to turn Africa?s wealth into higher standard of living, fighting diseases and ignorance, and curbing hunger. Ama Biney continues: ?Consequently, Nkrumah?s vision of education was thoroughly ideological.? Still, this salient point she raises should not be misconstrued because every form of education is either political or ideological, or both. Let?s allow her to continue: ?Education had an instrumentalist function and motivational purpose. Its aims were not only to produce skilled workers but also to forge a nationalist and socialist consciousness among all Ghanaians.? That was why Nkrumah once expressed his disaffection and impatience with Kumasi College of Technology and University College of the Gold Coast for their inability to be productive to Ghana?s immediate needs (Botwe-Asamoah, p. 149).

In addition, other intellectuals such as Ama Mazama, Zizwe Poe, Molefi Kete Asante, Kwame Botwe-Asamoah, Frantz Fanon, and Paulo Freire, a world-class critical pedagogist, have usefully advanced similar progressive ideas on educating the masses. Specifically, Freire technically looked at education from the moral landscape of the masses and their contributions to national growth and human development, in general, by stifling his intellectual and philosophical predilections for elitist didactic conceptualizations. Similarly, Nkrumah, unlike JB Danquah, whose conversation with the African-American author Richard Wright we profiled in ?What Amiri Baraka Said About Kwame Nkrumah (7),? unambiguously exposed Danquah?s political unsophistication, his child- and dreamlike animosity toward the collective wisdom, electoral supremacy, and moral power of the masses. Nkrumah, on the contrary, defrocked himself of elitist shenanigans and moral pretensions and joined the streaming chorus of the masses who truly constituted the political demographics of the neonatal nation-state. Then again, Nkrumah, like Freire, did not see education as the prerogative of the rich and powerful. However, it appears Nkrumah?s critical reading of Garvey, particularly, may have radically informed his progressive ideas on mass mobilization which he required for his brand of contentious politics.

In that regard, Nkrumah was not very far behind the grassroots-oriented social and political movements which Paulo Freire, Marcus Garvey, and Frantz Fanon advanced in their scholarly and activist works, ingredients required for the active transformation of human society. Thus Nkrumah framed his grassroots-based social philosophy in terms of educating the masses, this, irrespective of one?s social or economic class! Besides, he had great respect for traditional royalty but did not use it as a social barometer to determine who becomes part of his inclusive politics. This probably explains why Nkrumah attached so much importance to questions of power, moral essentiality, and wisdom intrinsic to a social, political, or cultural collectivity. Again, Marcus Garvey, Frantz Fanon, and Nelson Mandela eloquently stressed this point in their literary and activist works. Also importantly, the foregoing illustrates another salient point, that it is sheer betrayal of intellectual ignorance and of ideological emotionality not to see Nkrumah valued quality education for both sexes. Asante captures the social dynamics of mass mobilization when he wrote: ?The reason Mugabe is loved in Africa and hated in the West is the same reason Chavez is loved by the oppressed masses and hated by the West elites. They both see the same truth Nkrumah saw and that made him the victim of Western intrigue?This is why Nkrumah was assaulted, curtailed, ambushed in political policy, and eventually overthrown by the CIA (Molefi Kete Asante, ?Nkrumah Celebration,? Sept. 20, 2009).

This is apparently so because the analytic pregnancy of his philosophical advocation for mass education concurrently carried a feminized ideological imprint of quality education (See also E.A. Haizel?s ?Education in Ghana, 1951-1966: The Life and Work of Kwame Nkrumah?). It?s to say the political economy of sexism was a definite no-no in his inclusive politics. ?As a result, there was the introduction of fee-free elementary education, teacher training, and university education; free textbooks; the expansion of university facilities?all were evidence of the high premium Nkrumah placed on education,? writes Ama Biney. What motivated Nkrumah to see women as the natural equals of men? Nkrumah valued the education of girls/women whom he essentially saw as ?the architects of the nation.? Regarding the education of females, let?s be clear on one point, though, that Nkrumah may have directly extracted a philosophical leaf from the pedagogical work of the renowned educator Kwegyir Aggrey, one of his mentors. Ama Biney confirms this: ?In this endeavor, Nkrumah also focused on the education of women, whom he considered the architects of the nation. Like his mentor Aggrey, he believed that educating women meant the education of a whole nation.?

What was the legal foundation of Nkrumah?s educational ideas? Let?s see what Nkrumah scholars have to say on this. ?The Accelerated Development Plan for Education, which had been introduced in 1952, reflected his ambition,? observes Ama Biney, adding: ?From 1952 to 1961, there was a tremendous increase in the number of public and primary and secondary schools. It was the 1961 Education Act that made education compulsory for school-age children, and also girls, which consequently increased enrollment figures. The access of girls from poorer socioeconomic backgrounds was increased under Nkrumah?s government.? And here are the statistics Ama Biney provides to buttress her case: ?Around 1965-66, girls constituted 44 percent of total primary school enrolment, 35 percent in middle school, and 25 percent at secondary school. More young women also entered higher institutions of learning and were sent abroad with men to train in the professions (ibid, 101).? On the other hand, Ama Biney?s critical evaluation of Nkrumah?s cultural contributions to education enjoys a heavy dosage of historical and philosophical reinforcement from Botwe-Asamoah?s own work on Nkrumah.

Undeniably, Botwe-Asamoah has also written that the Seven-Year Development Plan, for example, guaranteed free and compulsory secondary education for all children living in Ghana (See Botwe-Asamoah?s ?Kwame Nkrumah?s Politico-Cultural Thought and Politics,? p. 144). Again, according to Botwe-Asamoah, Nkrumah firmly believed that the political ripeness of women represented a barometric calculus, of a social and political nature, by which it was possible to determine the height to which a nation?s revolutionary consciousness arose (See also Nkrumah?s ?Handbook of Revolutionary Warfare?). In another place Botwe-Asamoah quotes Genoveva Marais as saying: ?Nkrumah was the man who gave the African womanhood real meaning, a new identity, for the first time in history, it was typical with him, the literary lioness, the politicians eager to spread their female wings. In fact, Kwame Nkrumah created a new dimension for the African womanhood. There were female members of the parliament and a judge.? Aggrey the theory and Nkrumah the praxis!

As a result of these, Nkrumah emphatically tied his educational policies to the intellectual elevation of women in society. These radical decisions were revolutionary on the part of Nkrumah, however, for, generally, female judgeship and promotional officialdom of women, for instance, had not marked the social fixtures of colonial politics in the then-Gold Coast. Nkrumah changed all that by experientially outdistancing Aggrey and the colonial machinery. Nkrumah?s revolutionary ideas were technically populist but spiritized with emotionless elements of quality, political prudence, and social reasonability. ?Also, we do not find the role of women in the early nationalist movements in the Gold Coast,? notes Botwe-Asamoah. ?The latter goes further to say that ?Evening News,? a paper established by Nkrumah, had a columnated space on its front page devoted to women issues, where, Mabel Dove Danquah, JB Danquah?s ex-wife, and Akua Asabea Ayisi, an ex-High Court Judge, worked alongside Nkrumah on the paper. ?It is common knowledge that women were more influential in the Convention People?s Party (C.P.P) than their male counterparts,? writes Botwe-Asamoah. What Botwe-Asamoah seems to be remotely implying is that Nkrumah used mass media as educational tool to reach the Ghanaians!

Interestingly, Nkrumah, it turned out, was not only interested in the education of the youth per se, as adult education represented a notable scoop of his progressive educational policies. Against this background, the government of Nkrumah designed non-formal adult education for those Ghanaians who had pushed past school-going age. Likewise, Freire implemented a similar instructional program in his native Brazil. Elsewhere Botwe-Asamoah notes: ?In 1960, the government established the Ghana Education Trust for the expansion of secondary schools and teacher training colleges in the country. In all, the government built forty boarding and lodging secondary schools, including accommodation for the faculty, in each zone in the country.? Haizel also suggested that Nkrumah?s democratization of education according to the Seven-Year Development Plan and the Ghana Educational Trust schools ?stand as concrete evidence that Nkrumah was not only engaged in rhetoric (Botwe-Asamoah, p. 36).? That is, Nkrumah was not a doctrinaire but a pragmatist. Then, in bits and pieces, the central issue of Africanizing the colonial educational system, as advanced by Mensah Sarbah, Kwegyir Aggrey, and Casely-Hayford, among others, began to take shape as Nkrumah and his cabinet members, particularly Kojo Botsio, took a closer look at colonial education.

The idea was to situationalize education within the philosophical confines of African culture where, in both practice and principle, the supposed psychocultural mileage between the African mindset, his immediate environment, and colonial education faced a high degree of minification for Africa?s benefit, development- and growth-wise. Yet Nkrumah?s Afrocentric Pan-Africanism theoretically presaged the intellectual, cultural, and political inclusion of the African world in the philosophical panorama of human socialization. Let?s recall that the African world had always been integral to Europe?s intellectual and cultural evolution until the rise of white supremacy severed that link (See Martin Bernal?s ?Black Athena?). Evidently, Botwe-Asamoah devotes a considerable number of pages to these epistemological questions, as he unearths important epistemological parallels between Nkrumah?s ?The African Genius? and the seminal Pan-Africanist ideas of Edward W. Blyden. ?First, Nkrumah called for a re-interpretation of and a new assessment of African past and the abrogation of Eurocentric paradigms towards the study of African phenomena,? notes Botwe-Asamoah. The latter?s statement underscores Nkrumah?s revolutionary Afrocentric project vis-?-vis reframing colonial education to address issues plaguing the African world.

Botwe-Asamoah goes further: ?Second, he proposed the development of an African-centered paradigm in the intellectual and artistic pursuits of the Institute of African Studies and the School of Music and Drama. It meant that the School?s creative endeavors should be free from the propositions and presuppositions of the Western world?In this regard, Nkrumah urged the faculty to invalidate the distortions of those Eurocentric scholars who made European studies the basis of the new assessment. Third, Nkrumah urged the Institute of African Studies and the School to fertilize the universities and the nation with their work. Their intellectual and creative work should seek to benefit the welfare of the people, in order to solve Africa?s economic, cultural, technological, and scientific problems. Fourth, he saw the School of Music and Drama linking the University of Ghana closely with the National Theater Movement in Ghana. The school, he stressed, should develop new forms of dance, drama, music and creative writing out of African traditions, which, at the same time, express the wishes and aspirations of the people.? Nkrumah also saw a need for instructional emphasis on the accomplishments of classical African civilizations and ?the study of African arts in order to uncover the African traditional institutions and values that unite the people (Botwe-Asamoah, p. 145).

What a revolutionary thinker and revolutionary ideas! Interestingly, Afrocentric scholars have rigorously pursued these ideas and developed them holistically. Asante has critically looked at these same questions which confronted Nkrumah (See ?The Role of Afrocentric Ideology,? ?Knowledge as Property: Who Owns What and Why,? ?An Afrocentric South African University,? and ?Where is the White Professor Located?). Besides, KA Busia seemed to capture the philosophical dynamics of this psychocultural mileage and how it disoriented the African mindset towards the cardinal north, Europe. Busia once wrote: ?At the end of my first year at secondary school [Mfantsipim, Cape Coast], I went home to Wenchi for the Christmas vacation. I had not been home for four years, and on that visit, I became painfully aware of my isolation. I understood our community far less than the boys of my own age who had never been to school. Over the years, as I went through college and university, I felt increasingly that the education I received taught me more and more about Europe and less than my own society (See Walter Rodney?s ?How Europe Underdeveloped Africa,? p.246). Therefore, to resolve the inherent psychocultural contradiction which Eurocentric education necessarily placed between the African mind and his immediate environ, Nkrumah, very much in the intellectual vein of Sarbah, Casely-Hayford, and Kwegyir before him, proposed Ghanaian languages as a medium of instruction for his Afrocentric educational formula.

Meanwhile, according to Botwe-Asamoah, the Nkrumah government issued an edict in 1962 which essentially said: ?That a pass in English is no longer necessary for a [high] School Certificate.? He adds: ?Prior to this, a failure in English constituted a failure in the final examination conducted by the (British) West African Examination Council, regardless of outstanding grades a student received in all other subjects.? What Botwe-Asamoah says is not far from the truth. The lives of many a brilliant Ghanaian has been ruined simply because of this Eurocentric policy. Why should our leaders allow a promising African?s intellectual life to come to a virtual standstill because of a supposed incompetence in a European language? But what was the outcome of this edict? ?But the Ghanaian intellectual cried foul and accused Nkrumah of lowering Ghana?s educational standard,? Botwe-Asamoah maintains. Granted that Nkrumah?s creative ideas on education tied into the moral and social exigencies of Afrocentric didactics, the Ghanaian intellectual elite should have allowed that alternative to go on trial before assessing its institutional failures and successes. That?s the nature of Eurocentric education! Eurocentrism discards everything African in the dustbin of cultural irrelevancy.

Most importantly, in 2009, Zizwe Poe, one of America?s respected authorities on Nkrumah, a scholar who delivered a powerful presentation on Nkrumah, titled ?Ancestral Footprints: The Legacy of Kwame Nkrumah,? at Rutgers University, during the 40th anniversary commemoration of the founding of African and African-American Studies as an academic discipline in the United States, has these to say about Nkrumah?s contributions to world politics: ?1). Nkrumah linked traditions of West African Nationalism and Pan-Africanism, 2). Nkrumah initiated and developed the first Pan-African liberated state in modern history, 3). Nkrumah elevated Pan-Africanism to the level of nation-state, 4). Nkrumah developed the concept of African Union as the Optimal level of Pan-African agency, 5). Nkrumah offered a philosophy to defend the ideology of the African Revolution.? Clearly, Nkrumah did not conceive his brand of Afrocentric Pan-Africanism mutually exclusive of the imperative needs for conscientizing the African masses via education. Certainly, this is another important point which Zizwe makes abundantly clear in his scholarly works on Nkrumah.

Relatedly, regarding Nkrumah?s contribution to education, Poe, also once a director of the University of California-Riverside African Studies Programs, a Lincoln University Department of History and Political Science professor, ex-officio member of the University of California-Riverside?s Chancellors Events and Relations Committee, and University of California Santa Cruz?s admissions counselor, writes: ?Nkrumah advocated education for a knowledge that led to human service and liberation. He also advocated a cultural grounding for education. His launching of the ?Encyclopedia Africana? and the African Studies Institute at the University of Ghana were two examples of his contributions to such an education.? He notes further: ?Nkrumah, much like Molefi Kete Asante and other Afrocentric scholars, called for a historiography of Africans to be centered on African interest and experience. The actors and ultimate forces responsible were to be found in Africa.? Poe adds: ?Nkrumah had attempted to influence the African Studies Association in this direction, but their scholars were too linked to colonial disciplines to be influenced. The resources of a state committed to Afrocentric education was a boon that has yet to be matched.? In effect, Nkrumah?s efforts to transform education to solve African problems encountered uncritical objections from Ghana?s intellectual elite, mostly Western-trained.

Yet the scholarly works of Botwe-Asamoah and Ama Biney underscore Nkrumah?s attempt to culturalize education along the creative faultlines of progressive African thinking. Poe?s merely a theoretical affirmation of what Biney and Botwe-Asamoah have exhaustively covered. Nevertheless, Poe?s critical observation is radically Freirean in analytic, pedagogical, and philosophical scope, this, because both Freire and Nkrumah, as well as Mazama, Asante, Cabral, Thiong?o, Fanon, and Diop, saw education primarily as a means of grassroots conscientization, in other words, giving a people?s total control of their psychological and spiritual resources in the service of their development and growth, exclusively, and as an instrumentalist forte to be employed in overthrowing all forms of hegemony, be it colonialism, Eurocentrism, ethnocentrism, neocolonialism, racism, and imperialism. That having being said, Poe further reminds us: ?For Nkrumah this commitment was not to a mere ?color-coding of faculty? but to a ?corrective vision of facts,? Afrocentric education was to serve the purpose of building an optimal power base for the African Revolution, which was, in turn, to improve the lives of Africans in particular and humanity in general. By developing the intellectual and technical awareness of the youth, future generations were guaranteed. By assuming a healthy presentation of the people?s deep history, a general sense of awareness was awakened (See ?Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah, A Lincoln University Alumnus: His Profound Impact on Pan-African Agency?).

Further, wrestling University of College of the Gold Coast from the prehensile colonial paternalism of the metropolis became a sweltering priority for his de-colonization philosophy. Therefore, Nkrumah worked with Thomas Hodgkin, an English historian of Africa and first director of the Institute of African Studies, and others, directly and indirectly?Kwabena Nketia, Efua Sutherland, Mawere Opoku, J. de Graft-Johnson, Ephraim Amu, Kojo Botsio, WEB Du Bois, Philip Gbeho, William Abraham, Akua Ayisi Asabea, George Padmore, etc., to make the institutionalization of the Institute of African Studies within University of College of the Gold Coast a material possibility. Principally, the primary political motive was to transform the University College of the Gold Coast into a typical African institution of higher learning via the Institute, an institution where the rigorous study of Africa, its economic, social, and cultural needs, assume investigative primacy over Eurocentric scholarship of no practical use to Africa (See Asante?s ?The Afrocentric Idea in Education? and ?The Philosophical Bases for an African University: Designing Afrocentric Curricula for African Universities?). Again, Nkrumah faced vigorous opposition from Ghana?s Eurocentric elite. But then again, Nkrumah?s instrumental role in creating the Kumasi College of Technology and the University of Cape Coast crowned his educational policies.

At this point it?s important to stress that the idea of having a university in Ghana was not JB Danquah?s seminal concept at all, as some misinformed Danquah-esque apologists suggest. In fact, the original idea to have a West African University appears to have originated with London King?s College and Edinburg University graduate Dr. Africanus Horton (1835-1883), among others, who was an influential Creole African nationalist author, of Igbo ethnicity, as well as a respected scientist, surgeon, banker, mining businessman, and political thinker (See his books ?Vindication of the African Race? and ?West African Countries and Peoples?). Dr. Horton theoretically toyed with Pan-Africanism and African ?self-government.? Aside that, he politically and intellectually agitated for African independence a century before his ideas became a material reality in the 1950s and then via the 1960s. No wonder he is seen as ?one of the founders of African nationalism.? But the real ?father of Pan-Africanism? goes to Edward W. Blyden (1832-1912), an African-American and Liberian (See his influential books ?Christianity, Islam and the Negro Race,? ?West Africa Before Europe: And Other Addresses, Delivered in England,? and ?African Life and Customs?).

That said, it was actually Casely-Hayford who appropriated Dr. Horton?s idea of a university for the West African sub-region and with that idea in hand he campaigned for a university for the Gold Coast instead. In fact, according to Botwe-Asamoah: ?Nine years later, the National Congress British West Africa, led by Casely-Hayford, petitioned the British Government ?to found a British West African University on such lines as would preserve in the students a sense of African nationality. This request yielded no positive response until 1945, when the Colonial Government finally embraced the idea of a university for the Gold Coast (Botwe-Asamoah, p. 149 or read the whole of Chapter 7; see also Geoffrey?s ?Reap the Whirlwind?). However, we do also acknowledge that Aggrey?s introduction of WEB Du Bois and Marcus Garvey to Nkrumah may have helped sow some of the feverish seeds of nationalist awakening in the fertile soil of Nkrumah?s big heart (for others who influenced Nkrumah, see Basil Davidson?s ?Black Star: A View of the Life and Times of Kwame Nkrumah?). Then, of course, Nkrumah and WEB Du Bois initiated the encyclopedic project, though Kwame Anthony Appiah and Henry Louis Gates, Jr., two ex-collegiate friends and later professors in the same departments, carried it the project to its logical conclusion by bringing it to fruition.

Pointedly, Nkrumah?s educational ideas extended to the arts as well. Namely, Nkrumah?s direct and indirect role in the establishment of the National Theatre Movement, Ajumako?s School of Ghanaian Languages, the Arts Council of Ghana, the Ghana Dance Ensemble, the Institute of Arts and Culture, the Institute of African Studies (plus its School of Music and Drama), and the Ghana Bureau of Languages, and the Institute of Foreign Affairs cannot be suppressed for revisionist reasons. It should also be emphasized that Nkrumah served as the president of the Arts Council of Ghana while Chief Justice Sir Arku Korsah, JB Danquah, Sir C. Techie-Mensah, and all six of the Regional Presidents of House of Chiefs served as patrons (Bowte-Asamoah, p.126). Again, JB Danquah served as an advisory panelist for Nkrumah?s Arts Council of Ghana vis-?-vis the Music, Drama and Literature, Arts and Crafts and Cultural Research appendage to the Arts Council (Botwe-Asamoah, p. 127). As we alluded earlier, media was another creative area that saw Nkrumah?s intellectual investiture. As Botwe-Asamoah has said Nkrumah proposed ?Pan-African News Agency to correct the distorted image of Africa being projected in the West.? We have explored Pan-African News Agency elsewhere and will not belabor it here.

Yet education alone could not have done it all. Security was another serious matter. Didn?t Nkrumah propose a standing army, African High Command, so-called, which the West erroneously, deceptively calls AFRICOM? Didn?t Nkrumah provide the embryonic idea for the African Union (Organization of African Unity) even while his enemies, particularly the West, variously opposed via their African stooges and androids even as they built the European Union? In other words, African unity was central to his restorative project. We ask: Where exactly could Nkrumah have gone wrong? In the meantime, some, like the Nigerian scholar, Dr. Chinweizu, and South Africa?s legal scholar, Dr. Shadrack Gutto, have argued that there is no need for including Arabized North Africa in the African Union because of its bifurcated allegiances, one to the Arab world and the other to Africa. Dr. Chinweizu believes the problem is further compounded by the fact North Africans essentially see themselves as ?white,? deploring the fact that Nkrumah?s marriage to Fathia, a Copt whom he sees as ?white,? was a tactical mistake, though we strongly believe Nkrumah may have settled for that conjugal decision chiefly based on a symbolic yet tactical reason: Bringing the North and South together.

The point is that the continental integrity of Africa mattered to the continentalist Nkrumah because classical African history and historiography had informed his conjugal decision, meaning that Africans had occupied the continent from the beginning of historical time. Theories of anthropology, migration demographics, and evolution advanced by the likes of Cheikh Anta Diop and Louis Leakey support our view (See Diop?s ?Civilization or Barbarism: An Authentic Anthropology?). The work of the Egyptologist Robert Bauval, an Egyptian-born Maltese, and Thomas Brophy, a NASA astrophysicist, affirm our contentions regarding African evolutionary antecedence in North Africa (See ?Black Genesis: The Prehistoric Origins of Ancient Egypt?). ?Alone, Bauval has exposed Western attempts to conceal shattering discoveries made by researchers, Egyptologists, historians, etc, from the general public (See ?Breaking the Mirror of Heaven: The Conspiracy to Suppress the Voice of Ancient Egypt?). Finally, F.C. Volney, an 18th-Century French historian, orientalist, politician, and philosopher, was shocked to see the Africanness of ancient Egypt (See his ?The Ruins of Civilization?). Therefore, Nkrumah was aware of the Africanness of ancient Egypt before marrying Fathia. In fact, his own intellectual work on classical African civilizations incontrovertibly confirms our view!

Let?s see what Poe meant when he said Nkrumah?s educational policies leaned towards human liberation. Dismantling Apartheid comes to mind. Nkrumah?s campaign against Apartheid, that is, his struggles to liberate Black South Africa, the southernmost tip of the continent and make it part of the community of nations, is public knowledge, a gesture the United Nations acknowledged in 1978. ?In the summer of 1978, she flew to New York to receive a gold medal awarded posthumously to my father at the United Nations headquarters, during a special session of the UN committee against Apartheid,? Gamal Nkrumah recalls of his parents, adding: ??First of all, let me thank the General Assembly most sincerely for their very kind decision to pay such a singular tribute to the memory of my late husband, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. He himself, I am sure, would have considered his contribution to the international campaign against apartheid as a duty, without looking for international approval or award. But at alas, his untimely death has robbed us of his presence and encouragement. Elsewhere, quite poignantly, Gamal writes: ?For two long days at the Palais du Peuple in Conakry, mourners from all over Guinea, South African anti-apartheid activists and freedom fighters, and representatives of African and foreign governments paid tribute to Kwame Nkrumah. Fidel Castro and Amilcar Cabral spoke touchingly of Nkrumah?s vision and accomplishments (See ?Fathia Nkrumah: Farewell to all that?). This was a great man at whose funeral the entire world wept!

It should said that Nkrumah had wanted to use his progressive educational policies to put Ghana and Africa on the world map. In addition, Prof. Vincent Mbirika, an Nkrumahist, has a take on this Nkrumahist idea: ?The Chinese, who were least amused with Europeans, ignored European culture for a long time. In doing so, they made room to improve on their culture and surpassed us by far, not just in technology, but even in matters we ought to have been champions like procreation?(See ?Knights of Africa Sovereign Order?). Both Kwegyir Aggrey and Kwame Nkrumah realized that not every aspect of Western ideas was healthy for Africa?s growth and development. It was primarily why both proposed Afrocentric education for Africa. Eurocentrism is indeed a powerful force and not easily vanquishable. Ironically, it still comes as a surprise to some observers that both Nkrumah and his collectivity of self-styled democratic opponents, Busia, JB Danquah, Afrifa, and others, men used by the West and driven by an unhealthy quest for underserved power, underestimated the political power of the West (See Dr. Kwame Botwe-Asamoah?s ?The Politics of J.B Danquah?s Heroic Legacy,? (l)-(V); see also his essay ?K.A. Busia: His Politics of Demagoguery,? ?Kwame Nkrumah: The One and Only Founding Father,? all published on Ghanaweb).

Today, Nkrumah, who probably understood the diabolical mindset of the West better than his myopic opponents, stands tall among respected, learned men and women, while his opponents are hardly known outside the flimsy borders of Ghana. Let?s take another discursive detour: Classical African civilizations informed Nkrumah that the intellectual power of the black man was equal to the white man (and the Asian). This was what pushed him to think beyond his horizon. We know the ?Bell Curve? was a sham. Nkrumah would not have accepted it! A provocative remark by Crouch may have been approved by Nkrumah. Stanley Crouch, an African-American journalist and jazz critic, writes: ?This time white musicians who can play are too frequently elevated far beyond their abilities in order to allow white writers to make themselves feel more comfortable about being in the role of evaluating an art from which they feel substantially alienated (See ?Putting the White Man in Charge?). This frank assessment earned him a pink slip from ?Jazzimes.??Then, Kwame Anthony Appiah, Joe Appiah?s son, and others have undeniably claimed Sudan got its political independence before Ghana?s.

In fact, Appiah?s credibility as a political historian, if we may put it that way, in so far as Ghana?s political history is concerned, derives mainly from his father having being an avowed Nkrumahist, then later an anti-Nkrumahist. His other atom of credibility may have derived from his father?s having led a Ghanaian delegation to Guinea to retrieve Nkrumah?s body for state burial. Yet historical familiarity is no substitute for historicity. The simple fact is that Appiah, like Gates and Crouch, detests Black Nationalism. We strongly believe this to be the case because Appiah?s seriously compromised by his splintered allegiances to his biracial parentage, European and African, as well as by white patronage of his scholarly work in the American academy. Appiah, like Crouch and Gates, vigorously opposes Asante?s Afrocentric philosophy. He would have opposed Nkrumah?s Afrocentric policies. Gates opposes Asante?s Afrocentric ideas as well, yet the Afrocentric methodology is the basis of Gates? American Book Award-winning book ?The Signifying Monkey: A Theory of African-American Literary Criticism.? Even his influential book ?Figures in Black: Words, Signs, and the ?Racial? Self? feeds on the Afrocentric methodology.

What is the African world to do in the absence of a visionary leader like Nkrumah? Why are we calling on the neocolonial leadership of the African world to emulate the example of Nkrumah? It?s to point to the lack of vision, of intellectual foresight, of organizational prowess, of understanding of today?s economic and political complexities, and of critical thinking on the part of today?s African leadership. That is to say, we need to unearth Nkrumahism just so we can make good use of most of his creative ideas which are still relevant today. Essentially, it?s not surprising that Prof. Naana Jane Opoku-Agyemang, the Vice-Chancellor of UCC, once opined: ?The life of Nkrumah had been a major source of inspiration to many leaders the world over (See ?Nkrumah Influences History?Prof. Kwesi Botchwey,? published by Ghana News Agency, Sept. 21, 2010). Indeed, if Nkrumah is an inspiration to others, why not us? Besides, President Obama, for instance, has not failed to fall back on creative ideas going all the way to the radical decisions President Franklin Roosevelt made to revive America?s failing economy.

Elsewhere Dr. Maxwell Awuku, founder of ?Kwame Nkrumah Citizens Movement,? quotes Nkrumah as saying: ?Our aim is to establish in Ghana, a strong and progressive society in which no one will have any anxiety about the basic means of life, about work, food and shelter; where poverty and illiteracy no longer exist and disease is brought under control; and where our educational facilities provide all the children of Ghana with the best possible opportunities for the development of their potentialities. Dr. Awuku adds in another place: ?The plan lays its greatest emphasis on the modernization of agriculture and the most rapid expansion of industrial activity in Ghana?Only in this way can the standard of living of the masses of the African people be raised to a level consistent with the human dignity of the man of the twentieth century (See ?Implement Nkrumah?s 7-Dev. Plan?). Still, export-oriented industrialization and self-sufficiency are neither here nor there, neither capitalism nor communism, neither Karl Marx nor Milton Friedman, neither West nor East. It?s common sense. The leadership of post-Nkrumah?s Ghana has not woken up to this Nkrumahist reality. Wasn?t Nkrumah a humanist as we said before?

Finally, it?s clear that Nkrumah?s extensive reading, his association with knowledgeable and critical thinkers of all ideological stripes, such as a cosmopolitanized intellectual African American ?non-violent? philosopher, Bill Sutherland, Efua Sutherland?s husband, a onetime advisor to Nkrumah, Nyerere, and many of Africa?s nationalist leaders and guerilla fighters, put him ahead of the stunted thinking of his opponents as well as of today?s African leadership, in fact, as far as appreciating the complexity of the world goes (See Johnson?s ?Fighting for Africa: The Pan-African Contributions of Ambassador Dudley J. Thompson and Bill Sutherland; see Meriwether?s ?Proudly we can be Africans: Black Americans and Africa, 1935-1961; and Daines? ?African Americans in Ghana: Black Expatriates and the Civil Rights Era?).? Let?s conclude with Asante: ?Nkrumah was a prophet of reality; his politics took the form of proactive work to raise the level of consciousness of the masses. But the process is long; the job is hard, and the people are often unwilling to give up the devil they know for the devil they do not know. Yet Nkrumah?s influence, as we celebrate him today, continues today, continues to grow as it has grown each year that we do not bring into existence the united Africa for which he devoted so much energy??

We shall return?


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