Public Figures

Dr Kwame Nkrumah Biography: Age, Wiki, Political Career, Death, Achievements, Family, Wife And Children

Dr Kwame Nkrumah was a Ghanaian politician, political theorist, and revolutionary. He was the first Prime Minister and then the President of Ghana, from 1957 until 1966.

He was also a leader of Pan-Africanism and a founding member of the Organization of African Unity. He won the Lenin Peace Prize in 1962.

He was born in 1909 in the Gold Coast (now Ghana) and died in 1972 in Romania. He is regarded as one of the most influential figures in African history.

Dr Kwame Nkrumah Early Life and Education

Nkrumah was born in September 1909 in Nkroful, a small village in the western region of the Gold Coast (now Ghana). He was the son of a goldsmith and a retail trader, and belonged to the Anona clan.

He was baptized a Roman Catholic and attended Catholic elementary schools in nearby towns. He showed a keen interest in learning and reading, and was influenced by the nationalist and anti-colonial sentiments of his teachers and elders.

In 1926, he enrolled at Achimota College in Accra, the capital of the Gold Coast, where he received a teacher training certificate in 1930. He taught at various schools in the country, including a Catholic seminary, and became involved in political activities.

He joined the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC), a nationalist party that sought self-government by constitutional means. He also became interested in the ideas of socialism, Marxism, and black nationalism, especially those of Marcus Garvey, the Jamaican-born leader of the Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA).

In 1935, Nkrumah decided to pursue further studies in the United States, where he hoped to gain more knowledge and experience to advance the cause of African liberation. He obtained a scholarship to study at Lincoln University, a historically black college in Pennsylvania, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1939 and a Bachelor of Theology degree in 1942.

Dr Kwame Nkrumah also obtained two master’s degrees from the University of Pennsylvania, one in education and one in philosophy. He studied the works of Karl Marx, Vladimir Lenin, and other socialist thinkers, and became a member of several African student organizations.

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Dr Kwame Nkrumah Career Journey

Dr Kwame Nkrumah Biography

Dr Kwame Nkrumah was a visionary leader who dedicated his life to the liberation and unity of Africa. He played a pivotal role in the struggle for independence from colonial rule and the formation of the Organization of African Unity. He also pursued a socialist and pan-Africanist agenda that aimed to transform Ghana and the continent into a prosperous and egalitarian society.

Nkrumah’s political career began in 1947, when he was invited to serve as the general secretary of the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC), a nationalist party that sought self-government by constitutional means. He soon realized that the UGCC’s approach was too moderate and slow, and he advocated for immediate self-government and mass mobilization.

He founded the Convention People’s Party (CPP) in 1949, which adopted the slogan “Self-government now”. He led a series of protests, strikes, and boycotts against the British colonial authorities, which resulted in his arrest and imprisonment in 1950.

However, Nkrumah’s popularity and influence did not diminish. His party won the first general election under a new constitution in 1951, and he was released from prison to become the leader of government business and then the prime minister of the Gold Coast in 1952.

He negotiated with the British government for further constitutional reforms and political autonomy, and he prepared the country for full independence. On 6 March 1957, he declared the independence of Ghana, the first sub-Saharan African country to achieve this feat. He became the first prime minister of Ghana, and he renamed the country after the ancient West African empire of Ghana.

As the prime minister and later the president of Ghana, Nkrumah embarked on an ambitious program of economic and social development. He invested in infrastructure, industry, agriculture, education, health, and welfare. He also promoted the cultural and scientific advancement of the nation, and he supported the arts and literature.

He introduced a state-led and planned economy, which aimed to reduce the dependence on foreign aid and trade. He also established a one-party system and a strong central government, which he believed were necessary to ensure stability and efficiency.

Nkrumah’s vision was not limited to Ghana. He was a staunch advocate of Pan-Africanism, the ideology that called for the solidarity and cooperation of all African people. He supported the liberation movements in other African countries, and he provided financial and military assistance to them.

He also initiated and hosted the All-African People’s Conference in Accra in 1958, which brought together representatives from various African nationalist groups. He proposed the creation of a continental union, which would have a common market, a common currency, a common defense system, and a common foreign policy. He was instrumental in the formation of the Organization of African Unity (OAU) in 1963, which aimed to promote the unity and cooperation of African states.

Nkrumah’s career, however, was not without challenges and controversies. He faced opposition and criticism from his political rivals, the traditional chiefs, the religious leaders, the Western powers, and some segments of the population.

He was accused of being authoritarian, corrupt, extravagant, and unrealistic. He faced several assassination attempts and plots against his government. He was eventually overthrown by a military coup in 1966, while he was on a state visit to China.

He lived in exile in Guinea and Romania, until his death in 1972. He remains a controversial figure in Ghanaian and African history, but he is also widely regarded as one of the most influential and visionary leaders of the 20th century.

Dr Kwame Nkrumah Wife and Children

Dr Kwame Nkrumah married Fathia Rizk, an Egyptian woman, in 1957. She became the first lady of Ghana after its independence. They had three children: Gamal, Samia, and Sekou.

Gamal is a journalist, Samia is a politician and former chairperson of the Convention People’s Party, and Sekou is also a politician and a member of the Pan-Africanist Congress of Azania.

Dr Kwame Nkrumah’s Death

Nkrumah died on April 27, 1972, in Bucharest, Romania, where he had gone for medical treatment for cancer. He was 62 years old. He had been living in exile in Guinea since 1966, when his government was overthrown by a military coup while he was on a state visit to China.

His body was flown to his birthplace of Nkroful, Ghana, where he was buried with full honours on July 9, 1972.

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