by A. Rahman Ford
“As far as I am concerned, I am in the knowledge that death can never extinguish the torch which I have lit in Ghana and Africa. Long after I am dead and gone, the light will continue to burn and be borne aloft, giving light and guidance to all people.” ~ Dr. Kwame Nkrumah
September 21 marks the birthday of Kwame Nkrumah, Africa’s Marxist revolutionary and first president of the republic of Ghana. The day is celebrated as a public holiday in Ghana to commemorate the significant role Nkrumah played to free the Gold Coast from colonial rule. Nkrumah was born on September 21, 1909, at Nkroful, in what was then the British-ruled Gold Coast, the son of a goldsmith. After his graduation from Achimota College in 1930, he traveled to the United States to pursue his master’s degrees at Lincoln University and the University of Pennsylvania, where he was influenced by Marxist ideologies and pan-Africanist ideas, and especially Marcus Garvey, the black American nationalist leader of the 1920s. Eventually, Kwame Nkrumah came to describe himself as a socialist and a Marxist, a leading proponent of African socialism, the offshoot of pan-Africanism.