Kwame Nkrumah is undoubtedly one of the greatest African leaders who lived in recent times. There is no denying the fact that few other African leaders have been able to contribute so much to the progress and development of Africa in recent historical times as have Kwame Nkrumah.
Some may attribute Nkrumah’s laudable achievements and accomplishments to the circumstances and times he found himself. But it should be noted that the circumstances and times he found himself were not favourable at all for the extraordinary achievements and accomplishments he was able to made in life.
If anything at all Kwame Nkrumah should be appreciated for being able to accomplish and achieved all these extraordinary things in life despite all the formidable odds and challenges he faced throughout his life.
A careful look at the life and times of Kwame Nkrumah will show that he was exposed to all manners of unpalatable challenges and the vicious machinations of his enemies almost throughout his entire life. It will require the high intelligence, serious hardwork and enduring perseverance for anybody to be able to do and achieve the things Kwame Nkrumah did and achieved in his tumultuous lifetime.
Kwame Nkrumah was a polymath and a multi-talented personality. He was a philosopher, a politician, an activist, and a reformer all combined in one.
Kwame Nkrumah and Pan-Africanism
Kwame Nkrumah was, above all, an ideologue. He was able to successfully reform the philosophy of Pan-Africanism and take it to higher dimensions and levels which the African Americans could not. It is quite interesting to note the fact that without the contributions of Kwame Nkrumah the very philosophy or movement of Pan-Africanism might have been dead by now.
The African Americans, of necessity, invented Pan-Africanism. But Pan-Africanism was too complex an ideology and too demanding a movement for the African Americas that right from the beginning Pan-Africanism have always faced stunted and inchoate growth. Right from the time of Reverend Edward Blyden through the days of the First Pan-African Congress to the days of the Black Movement activism in the USA, the story of Pan-Africanism was always that of one step forward and several steps backward.
The story of Pan-Africanism was practically nothing to really write home about… until Kwame Nkrumah became a Pan-Africanist.
When Kwame joined the Pan-African movement he immediately brought in the much needed enduring indefatigability and consummate resourcefulness that the African Americans have all along been unable to give Pan-Africanism. So successful and useful did Kwame Nkrumah became to the Pan-Africanist movement that he immediate became a leading figure in the Pan-African movement in the USA.
Initially Pan-Africanism was more or less an African American movement but when Kwame Nkrumah joined and became a leading and prominent member of the movement Pan-Africanism began to take on a broader and wider appearance.
Before long the Pan-African movement begun to assume a wholly native African form as far too many native Africans then flocked into the movement due to the prominent role of Kwame Nkrumah, a native African, in the movement.
Such was the paradoxical story of the Pan-Africanist movement that when Kwame Nkrumah joined the movement he almost singlehandedly reformed it into an international movement away from the parochially African American movement that it was before he joined the movement.
In any case Kwame Nkrumah was able to transform the Pan-African movement into the great, international and successful movement that it became in latter times. If Kwame had not joined the Pan-African movement and if he had not hijacked it away from the rather incompetent hands of the Africxan Americans, the Pan-African movement might have been a dead one by now.
Kwame Nkrumah transformed Pan-Africanism into a native African and international movement. All African leaders then became members of the Pan-African movement. Students, workers and activists throughout the length and breadth of the African continent then became members of the Pan-African movement.
What Pan-Africanism could not achieve when it was in the hands of the African Americans, Pan-Africanism was able to achieve when it was in the hands of the native African leaders spearheaded by Kwame Nkrumah.
Kwame Nkrumah used the Pan-African movement to liberate the African in all parts of the world and not just in the USA alone. Kwame used the Pan-African movement to vigorously challenge and fight European colonialism and imperialism in all parts of the world. It is no wonder, therefore, that Kwame Nkrumah’s native country of Ghana became the first African country to gain independence from the European Great Powers.
And Kwame Nkrumah became not only the first Black African president of Ghana but also the first Black African to become the president of an African country.
As a matter of fact Pan-Africanism also became a movement that Kwame Nkrumah tried to use to unite all African countries into a single United States of Africa. But the Americans and the Europeans, using the Nigerians and other African leaders, frustrated Kwame Nkrumah’s laudable attempt at uniting Africa into a United States of Africa.
If Kwame Nkrumah had succeeded in uniting Africa into a United States of Africa then Africa would have emerged, during that Cold War era, as the third superpower, aside from the USA and the USSR, in the world. It was the fear of Africa becoming a superpower that made the Americans and the British to frustrate Kwame Nkrumah’s effort at uniting Africa into a United States of Africa.
The American intelligence people most especially, never relented until they were able to topple Kwame Nkrumah from his seat as the President of Ghana through a totally unnecessary coup by the Ghanaian soldiers. The coup plotters after overthrowing Kwame Nkrumah had nothing reasonable to say or offer Ghana or Africa in general. Worse still they had not tangible reason or explanation for why they overthrew Kwame Nkrumah in the first place.
The coup that overthrew Kwame Nkrumah from power as the President of Ghana was a dead blow to
Kwame Nkrumah was also a visionaire; he saw a great future for Africa and he spent his life working towards making that vision a reality. He was committed promoter of everything African despite the fact that his educational and professional trainings were all Western. Kwame Nkrumah justifiably enough rejected most Western cultural values and traditions and tried as much as possible to adopt traditional African values. That was why he changed his English name to a traditional African name, Kwame Nkrumah.