Kwame Nkrumah stands out in African history as one of its most illustrious sons who played a large part in the founding of Pan Africanism movement during the continent’s prolonged struggles with western imperialism. Though heavily blamed by most of his detractors for misappropriating the relatively large inheritance bequeathed to his government by the British, Nkrumah’s administration represented Ghana’s diverse cultural traditional and industrial enhancement. Here are 20 things you probably didn’t know about Kwame Nkrumah and the mark he left not only in the African Continent but also globally.
20 Lesser Known Facts about Kwame Nkrumah
1. Though he afterwards ruled with a heavy hand, Kwame Nkrumah was not game to the shallow political intrigues that were going on at that period of Ghana’s history. And as a Pan African, he was preoccupied with an exalted desire, that of a united Africa.
2. Kwame Nkrumah’s government initiated a program that was aimed at bridging the education gap between the country’s Southern and Northern communities.
3. His administration has over the decades proved to be one of the least corrupt that Ghana has ever seen, and most Ghanaians hold this belief even to this very day. Nkrumah advocated socialism and undertook many development projects that aided in turning Ghana into one of the most influential states in Africa.
4. He was extremely vocal in his campaign against graft, and made constant cabinet reshuffles, and also went on to suitably alter the ruling party’s structure to eliminate corruption. And a lasting proof of this was the slogan he adopted in this fight “One man, One car”.
5. Kwame Nkrumah embraced Soviet ideas and often regarded himself as Africa’s answer to Lenin. He eventually went on to win the then coveted Lenin Peace Price in 1963.
6. Nkrumah embraced education with an unflinching zeal, and worked his way through his tertiary education at his alma mater the Lincoln University of Pennsylvania. Earning a B.A degree in 1939, and a Master of science in education in 1942.
7. Kwame Nkrumah was once a preacher, and he actually earned a degree in theology while at college and was fond of preaching the word to Presbyterian black churches in New York and Philadelphia.
10+ More Kwame Nkrumah Facts
8. He stumbled on the ideas of radical Marcus Garvey in 1943, right about the same time he initiated a long correspondence with Trinidad’s Marxist, C.L.R. James.
9. His close association with radical idealism attracted the attention of the FBI, and he was, consequently, placed under close surveillance for his remaining days in the US.
10. Kwame Nkrumah returned to the UK where he had previously gone to apply for a student’s visa from the US embassy. This time he was seeking admission to study at the London School of Economics.
11. It is at this time that he assisted the Organization of African Congress in Manchester, England. He went on to found the West African National Secretariat (WASU) whose chief objective was the decolonization of Africa.
12. In the autumn of 1947, Kwame Nkrumah was offered the post of General Secretary to the United Gold Coast Convention (Gold Coast being the name Ghana formerly held). He accepted this challenge and arrived home on the 10th of December 1947.
13. In 1948, ex-servicemen that were demonstrating against the skyrocketing cost of living were opened fire upon by the police, which culminated in the death of dozens of people and almost the same tally were injured. This sparked off riots in most parts of Ghana.
14. The colonial government apprehended Nkrumah and other black political leaders on the 12th of March 1944.
15. Kwame Nkrumah was afterward quickly exonerated and was freed one month later.
16. This event made him a household name in Ghana where he began to emerge as a notable leader in the country’s youth.
17. He formed the convention of People’s Party (CPP) in June 1949, and shortly after the English government organized a widely denounced black commission that was comprised of the middle-class, to draft a constitution that would prompt self-governance in the country.
18. Kwame Nkrumah organized a people’s assembly that comprised of CPP members, the youth, and a wide cross-section of different trades. Advocating for a universal franchise devoid of property qualifications, and the immediate institution of a self governance status.
19. This was quickly rejected and caused Nkrumah’s second incarceration.
20. Facing ever-mounting pressure both internationally and locally, the British government was obliged to abandon Gold Coast, and eventually set up the first general election in the country, which Kwame Nkrumah’s party won with a landslide.