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Flashcards in Nkrumah Deck (9)
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Nkrumah's pan-africanism

a strong advocate for pan-africanism, Nkrumah argued that "the independence of Ghana is meaningless unless it is linked with the total liberation of the African continent"


Nkrumah's commitment to Unity

Nkrumah believed unity was central to his pan-african agenda and often suppressed tribal identities in the pursuit of a Ghanaian and even African identity e.g his widely disobeyed ban on tribal flags - he wanted to saturate the country in national flags. His commitment to unity, according to Mazrui (1996), can be compared to Lenin's organisation but where Lenin saught organisation of the elite at the expense of the masses, Nkrumah wanted the masses to unite in his vision. As a personality leader (Osagyefo) he was intially well placed for this goal - he united people but this eventually got the better of him and he became authoritarian (ibid).


Failures of Nkrumah

- failed to rule democratically - oppression e.g. Avoidance of Discrimination Act (1957), one-party state (1964)
- cult of personality led to authoritarianism and the 'intellectual impoverishment' of 'the court of the Ghanaian Tzar' (Mazrui, 1996)
- Fanon (1961): failed to liberate the minds of the Ghanaian people (parliamentary systems, neo-liberal/neo-colonial loans, continued relationship with Britain, Privy Council)
- support for other anti-colonial movements was inconsistent - Nkrumah didn't support the 1959 boycott of SA goods despite showing support for the ANC at the AAPC in 1958.
- failing economy in the 1960s


Successes of Nkrumah

- personality: he was able to gather support for independence in the form of "popular action" (Hyam, 2007) (protests, riots, strikes etc) that gave a lot of hope to the people of the Gold Coast
- he was perceived by the British to be a moderate and was thus uniquely placed to be given power.
- commitment to pan-Africanism - conferences in 1958 and writings which continue to be influential today
- Ghana's independence was relatively non-violent "idealised path to self-rule" (Ahlman, 2011)
- Ghana as a symbol to others -"unparalleled optimism both inside and outside Africa about the continent" (ibid)
- Accra became a refuge for freedom fighters across Africa e.g. SA ANC Activist Alfred Hutchinson. This was largely done through the Beurea of African Affairs (BAA) who provided provisions for anti-colonial refugees and support through communication to other struggles.
- developed Ghana's infrastructure and economy (in early years)


Privy Council position

Queen appointed Nkrumah as Privy Councilor, soon after Ghana's independence - he was the first African in such a position. Nkrumah described this as "an honour" for himself, Ghana and all African people and the diaspora.


Who was Sir Charles Arden-Clarke? How did he respond to the Gold Coast independence movement and how did he respond to Nkrumah?

- the British colonial administrator in the Gold Coast at the time of independence
- described the movement as "a flood" - "you cannot slow down a flood - the best you can do is keep the torrent within its proper channels"
- he saw Nkrumah as "the only dog in the kennel" when it came to negotiations.


speech after independence

"we have a duty to prove to the world that Africans can conduct their own affairs with efficiency and tolerance and through the exercise of democracy. We must set an example to all Africa."


What happened after Nkrumah became president

- 1950's: CPP sponsors a variety of economic projects (e.g. Volta River Project) but goes into large foreign debt
- 1960: the CPP moves to nationalise the econom
- By 1963: severe public shortages
- amidst growing unpopularity APP increases repression of political opponents and the media


Nkrumah's oppressed the media

radio and newspapers could not "depart from the ideology and loyalties demanded from the press in socialist and Nkrumahist Ghana". Radio = "stalinist adulation and abject flattery"... "the news was so often distorted or repressed that Ghanaians stopped believing what they heard".