Ghana honours the memories of her first leader Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah today, Tuesday, September 21, 2021 for his outstanding contribution to national liberation and development.
This day is usually marked with lectures and events to commemorate the achievements and legacy of Dr. Nkrumah.
However, when it falls on a weekend, the following Monday is observed as a holiday.
The Convention People’s Party, which was founded and led by Dr. Nkrumah as part of measures to mark the day, will organise a symposium to commemorate Dr. Nkrumah’s 112th birthday on the theme: “Relevance of Nkrumahism in Addressing the Socio-economic Challenges of Ghana Today”.
Prior to the passing of the Public Holiday Amendment Bill into law in March 2019, the holiday on September 21 was known as the “Founders’ Day”, however the Founder’s Day is now celebrated on August 4.
Dr. Nkrumah was born on September 21, 1909, at Nkroful in the Western Region to Opanyin Kofi Nwiana Ngolomah and Madam Elizabeth Nyaniba.
He attended Achimota School and also trained as a teacher. He sought advanced studies from 1935 in the United States and attained a B.A. Degree from the Lincoln University in 1939.
He also received a Bachelor of Sacred Theology in 1942, a Master of Science in Education from the University of Pennsylvania in 1942 and a Master of Arts in Philosophy in 1943.He was later awarded a Doctor of Philosophy.
Britain, after the bond of 1844 and wars of annexation took control over parts of the territory now called Ghana, naming the patchwork British Gold Coast.
Britain was weakened by World War II and following a rising desire for independence, the Gold Coast was put on the path to independence with the Convention People Party sweeping all pre independence elections and independence election. Ghana became the first sub-Saharan African country to achieve independence, on March 6, 1957.
Dr. Nkrumah was the key driving force behind the independence of Ghana from British rule in the post war era.
Among the notable remarks he made which echo in through time and space was one on the day that Ghana achieved her independence, “At long last, the battle has ended! And thus, Ghana, your beloved country is free forever”.
He also made the African liberation struggle a Ghanaian task when he declared that,”Our independence will be meaningless until it is linked up with the total liberation of the African continent.”
Thousands of Ghanaians had gathered at old polo grounds now the Nkrumah Mausoleum to see and hear their first leader declare independence at midnight having established the Ghana News Agency hours earlier.
In 1960, Prime Minister Osagyefo Dr. Nkrumah was sworn into office as the first President of the country and the republic was proclaimed on July 1, 1960.
In February 1966, while he was on a state visit to Vietnam and China, his government was overthrown in a military coup d’état by a section of the military and police.
Dr. Nkrumah was offered a home in Conakry, Guinea and never returned to Ghana. He died in April 1972 at Bucharest, Romania.
In September 2009, the former President John Atta Mills declared September 21 (the centenary of Kwame Nkrumah’s birth in 1909) as the Founder’s Day, a statutory holiday in Ghana.
Dr. Nkrumah ensured that the Ghana Flag designed by Madam Theodosia Okoh, was adopted when the nation attained independence.
The colours of the flag – red symbolize bloodshed during the liberation struggle; green stands for beauty, agriculture or vegetation; yellow represents mineral wealth; and the Black Star represents African freedom and identity.
In an interaction with some Ghanaians, Ms Hannah Ashiokai, a student with the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, said: “Dr.Nkrumah did so well per what I have heard and some of his works I’ve been shown. Even with the courage with which he spoke, if we get a President like him again, I believe Ghana will progress”.
Mr Thompson Gator, a business man, said: “Although, there are some people who believe otherwise, I know for sure that we can never get any President again like Dr. Nkrumah. He loved his country and Africa as a whole and believed in us”.
Mrs Ama Serwaa Darko, a trader said: “Although I sympathize with another political party now, I believe in the ideologies of Dr. Nkrumah and his CPP. The problem is, I can’t tell if the current CPP leadership has that courage and pure heart that Nkrumah had to serve”.