The story is told of a poet who released an oft-repeated line in Arabic prophesying the impossibility of his name, actions and valor being forgotten by his people. The poet as reported was summoned by his people to lead them into war which he gladly accepted. As the war became intense, his lieutenants began to flee from the battlefield.
A flight faster than one from being chased by a menacing lion. He plunged into the battle alone and killed as many enemies as he could. He therefore released these poetic lines to signify how influential his singular act of bravery has been to his people:
“My people will mention my name when things harden up
It is in the time of severe darkness, that a sparkle is sought after.”
It is unusual for me to quote this Arab poet in relation to the subject matter of discussion. However, I want to stress home a point into our skulls about how the machinations, covert and overt connivance and conspiracy can and will never extinguish the fire that Nkrumah lit which sees his name mentioned whenever this noble country of ours is pummeled into the sinking sands of underdevelopment is mentioned . No wonder he stated that the fire he lit “will be borne aloft, giving light and guidance to the people.
Within and without Ghana or better still Africa, we find glowing, beaming and glittering light of Nkrumah’s unflinching influence. It is an undeniable fact that Africa today is still mired in the myriad of problems more than it were a century ago as the continent wallows in the doldrums of absolute despondency and jumps from one frying pan of problem to a fire of another.
The continent has been submerged in natural as well as human-fueled disasters. Civil wars taken over the warp and woof of the continent and hunger and destitution plunging the continent into the muck and mire of absolute penury. The serious problem affecting Africans is the fragmented and disjointed state in which we find ourselves. And this is where Kwame Nkrumah is sought after like the sparkle in the poet’s darkness.
At the Baden Powell memorial Hall in Accra on July 18th, 1960. Nkrumah told a bevy of African leaders
“I think the solution is not difficult to find if African leaders have the will and the courage to face facts. The fact which faces us must be obvious to us all. It is unity- a real political unity of African states. Any solution proffered other than unity can only serve to shelve the issue and can never solve this vital problem.
We have the choice of three things: to unite, to stand separately and disintegrate, or sell ourselves to foreign powers. “He further stated, “ If Russia can unite sixteen states in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and America fifty states in the United States of America, no power on earth can prevent a similar Union of African States, provided the African leaders realize that this is their only salvation. If this is not done, I can see nothing that can save Africa.” Such were the thoughts of a man who was much more concerned with the advancement of his people. Nkrumah is indeed a solitaire. And what is a solitaire? It is a jewel set by itself. Nkrumah is indeed a solitaire!
Let me tell you about the Pan-African congresses which were intended to address the issues facing Africa as a result of European colonization of most part of the continent. They started from 1900 in London, 1919 in Paris, 1921 in London, 1923 in London, 1927 in New York and 1945 in Manchester, 1974 in Dar es Salaam, 1994 in Kampala, and 2014 in Johannesburg.
The fifth Pan-African congress which was held in Charlton Town Hall, Manchester, England from 15-21 October, 1945 was distinct and a complete departure from the other congresses held. This was so because a unique organizer was involved. Kwame Nkrumah organized that congress together with George Padmore, T.R Makonen and Peter Abrahams (a South African writer).
The main reason this congress achieved a lot and stood unique in many ways was “because for the first time the delegates who attended it were practical men and men of action and not, as was the case of the four previous conferences, merely idealists contenting themselves with writing theses but quite unable to or unwilling to take part in dealing with the African problem” as Nkrumah stated in his autobiography. It is therefore not surprising that almost all the foremost Africans who partook in it made significant strides in their respective countries.
Talking about Jomo Kenyatta, the Kenyan Independence leader, Hastings Kamuzu Banda who was the trailblazer of the fight against colonialism in Nyasaland (present day Malawi), one of Nigerians founding fathers Jeremiah Obafemi Awolowo (The sage).
Jaja Anucha Wachuku (First speaker of the Nigerian House of representatives as well as first Nigerian Ambassador and Permanent representative to United Nations, Dudley Joseph Thompson (a Jamaican Pan-African who contributed to Jurisprudence and Politics in Caribbean Africa were part of the men that benefited from the radiance of Nkrumah which made them luminaries in their various countries. This is truly the man we will eulogize every microsecond. No wonder C.L.R James described Nkrumah as the “Lenin of Africa” and Amilcar Cabral labeled him as “the strategist of genius in the struggle against classical colonialism.”
The light of Nkrumah did not only end there. Much is said about the extensive and panoramic view of how Nkrumah helped pulverized colonialism and imperialism to the extent of making Ghana the Mecca of international struggle to ensure dignity. Nelson Mandela, (according to the West, the world’s most respected statesman) outlined how he also came to Ghana to seek support against the much dreaded Apartheid system from Kwame Nkrumah. Ahmed Sekou Toure, Patrice Lumumba, Robert Mugabe, Julius Kambarage Nyerere , Samora Machel and other great African personalities sought and gained support here from Nkrumah. The radiation did not end there. It crossed the Mediterranean to affect others who today are hailed as among greatest of men.
Martin Luther King Jnr was so inspired by the spectacle of independence he witnessed such that he delivered the famous “The birth of a new nation” speech when he went back home. During a radio interview he granted while in Ghana at the time of independence, he stated “It renews my conviction in the ultimate triumph of justice. And it seems to me that this is fit testimony to the fact that eventually the forces of justice triumph in the universe, and somehow the universe itself is on the side of freedom and justice. So this gives new hope to me in the struggle for freedom.”
In 2012, specifically October 12, 2012, a book was published titled “A Lie of Reinvention: Correcting Manning Marable’s Malcolm X.” It is a collection of essays in response to a book written by Manning Marable also titled, “Malcolm X, a life of Reinvention”, a book that won the 2012 Pulitzer Price for History describing it as “ an exploration of the legendary life and provocative views of one of the most significant African-Americans in U.S. history”.
This particular book written by Marable concluded that Malcolm X has been economical with the truth in his autobiography, another book that was named by Time magazine as “one of the ten required reading non-fiction books.” All these literary controversies surrounded one man in question, Malcolm X, a man who stands tall in the struggle of Black America. And this man described Ghana as the true representation of Africa and its culture. This made him comeback to Ghana later again to gain massive inspiration, seek some goodies and African nuggets of wisdom from the unsinkable Nkrumah.
The youth of today should learn from Nkrumah and make positive impact in the world. “We should not only teach our children the exploits of their forefathers, we should also teach them how they can make massive exploits.” A point hinted by Ahmed Sekou Toure. I therefore leave us with a gem of wisdom on how to do that from our first ever and real president, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah:
“What are your standards? What do you believe in? Countrymen, the task ahead is great indeed, and heavy is the responsibility; and yet it a noble and glorious challenge- a challenge which calls for the courage to dream, the courage to believe, the courage to dare, the courage to do, the courage to envision, the courage to fight, the courage to work, the courage to achieve, to achieve the highest excellences and the fullest greatness of man. Dare we ask for more in life?”
NB: The Writer is a Youth-Activist and the Executive Secretary of Success Book Club.