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Build a ‘Kwame Nkrumah Library’ all over Ghana/Africa
Like many omissions and distortions in Ghana's path to cultural development, we need to address the cultural issue of the STILL-BLATANT SCARCITY of Dr. Nkrumah's books in Ghana’s and Africa’s library and educational institutions.
Dr. Nkrumah's books are the missing-link in Ghana and Africa's development and modernisation. Why? Because all social, cultural, economic and political difficulties we face now have already been analysed and commented on by Dr. Nkrumah. It is needless reinventing the wheel of our national/continental modernization.
During his leadership Dr. Nkrumah wrote more books than any living African leader. This is the reason for still lingering jealousies by his political detractors:
AFRICA MUST UNITE (a call for continental unity) AXIOMS OF KWAME NKRUMAH ~ FREEDOM FIGHTERS EDITION (philosophical texts). CHALLENGE OF THE CONGO (analysis of the Congo Crisis, western duplicity in the exploitation of Congo). CLASS STRUGGLE IN AFRICA (analysis of social hierarchies). CONSCIENCISM: PHILOSOPHY AND IDEOLOGY FOR DECOLONISATION (creative philosophical discourse). DARK DAYS IN GHANA (his expose on the coup that ousted him). GHANA: THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF KWAME NKRUMAH HANDBOOK OF REVOLUTIONARY WARFARE. I SPEAK OF FREEDOM (freedom talk). NEO-COLONIALISM: THE LAST STAGE OF IMPERIALISM (analysis of political economies in Africa). REVOLUTIONARY PATH (a compendium of most of his key writings - a must-have). RHODESIA FILE (on Zimbabwe – the brutalities of the Britain’s and Ian Smith’s army). THE STRUGGLE CONTINUES (continued commentary on the African Revolution). TOWARDS COLONIAL FREEDOM (ideas for decolonization) VOICE FROM CONAKRY (wisdom from Guinea)
To those who were either born in the current era or plainly do not know, Dr. Nkrumah was Ghana’s first president. He was the first black African to practically implement the call to national statehood that was embodied in the philosophy and teachings of Marcus Mosiah Garvey. Jamaica-born Garvey was the leader of US-based, the Universal Negro Improvement Society (UNIA). The UNIA commanded over one million paid memberships. It was self-reliantly advocated buying a fleet of ‘Black Star Line Ships’ which will ship back to Africa all Africans in the American Diaspora who wished to do so. His slogan was: “Africa for Africans”. Pres. Robert Mugabe is just like him.
Dr. Nkrumah translated Garvey’s Pan-Africanist nom-de-gore (transformational ideas) into the reality of - from, “Africa Must Be Free” to, "Africa, your beloved continent is free forever!"
Dr. Nkrumah was in Usher Fort jail when the political party he formed, the Convention People’s Party (CPP) won the elections that powered Ghana’s Independence in 1957. After that, Ghana was the first in everything: first African country in the world to have its own fleet of ships, ‘Black Star Line Co’ – faithfully named after Garvey's earlier ”Back-to-Africa” shipping line; Ghana Airways; and the all-conquering Black Stars football team. Even the UNDP rated Ghana over Japan as one of the fastest industrially developing economies in the world!
After these, he helped to liberate the rest of the African world - on the continent, Caribbean Islands and all around the world - from direct imperialist rule to free nation states. He mediated in political stalemates and supported the liberation struggle all over the world by giving material, financial and political support to deserving revolutionary movements: Algerian Revolution (Franz Fanon, the Caribbean psychologist, mentions this in his books); training of ANC combatants (at Afienya, Ghana). He explained his mission in 1945:
‘We say to all peoples of the colonies that they must fight with all means at their disposal for this purpose. The aim of the imperialists is to exploit you. By ensuring the right of the colonial peoples to self government, we are defeating the imperialist objectives. Thus, the struggle for political power by the colonized people is the first step and a prerequisite for achieving complete social, economic and political emancipation.’ (Kwame Nkrumah, Declaration of the 5th Pan African Congress “To the Colonial Peoples of the World”, Manchester, 1945).
Dr. Nkrumah organised many conferences in Accra to politically motivate emergent African leaders: Julius Nyerere (of then Tangayika and Zanzibar), Kenneth Kaunda (Northern Rhodesia), Sekou Ture (financial assistance), Augustino Neto (Angola). This quote exemplifies how Dr. Nkrumah helped to free Guyana, South America from British colonialism:
“Despite the political setback brought about by the British-imposed decision at the November 1963 constitutional conference, Dr. [Chaddi] Jagan continued his efforts to find a political solution in Guyana. Shortly after the conference concluded, he wrote to Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, President of Ghana, urging him to mediate a settlement between the PPP and the PNC. Dr. Nkrumah immediately responded by sending a mission headed by one of his close advisers, Professor W.E. Abraham (MEDIATION BY GHANA AND TRINIDAD IN 1964).
He did not stop at that. He worked tirelessly combining his busy national and international schedule with writing. He wrote so many books his jealous protagonists in the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC) - J,B. Dankwah, Obetsebi-Lamptey, Ako Adjai, J. Amoako-Atta - jealously claimed his books were ghost-written by Prof. W.E. Abraham (the man mentioned in the above quote)! This is still the source of irritation to his modern-day haters: Okoampa Ahoofe Pee Aach Dee, Gaby Okyere Darko, etc.
Stranded by a roadside in a remote part of Georgetown, Guyana (S. America), I suddenly got an unsolicited lift from a man. Surprised I asked him why. He explained, "Because I knew you must be from Ghana. In the past all we Caribbean knew about Africa was Ghana...Also your cloths". He then proceeded to sing Lord Kitchener's nostalgia-inducing song, ‘Ghana Independence Day’:
This day will never be forgotten The sixth day of March, 1957 When the Gold Coast successfully got their independence officially
Chorus: Ghana, Ghana is the name Ghana, we wish to proclaim We will be jolly, merry and gay The sixth day of March, Independence Day
Dr Nkrumah went out his way To make the Gold Coast what it is today He endeavoured continually To bring us freedom and liberty
The doctor began as agitator He became popular leader He continued to go further And now he is Ghana's prime minister
The national flag is a lovely scene With beautiful colours red, gold and green And a black star in the centre Representing the freedom of Africa
Congratulations from Haile Selassie Was proudly received by everybody He particularly comment On the Doctor's move to self-government. (Lord Kitchener, Ghana Independence Day, 1957).
With hindsight, I noted I had been the unwitting beneficiary of Dr. Nkrumah’s universal acclaim. This acclaim is automatically held in the memory bank of politically and historically conscious Africans worldwide. It is conferred providentially on every Ghanaian - every African abroad. But I will not admit to the level of emotion his spontaneous display of Pan-African brotherhood induced – and still induces in me...
Sadly, after he was ousted from power in 1966 by the evil-pact of the US's CIA, western secret services, vengeful remnants of the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC) which he defeated by landslides in elections in the 1940s and 1950s, and the Ghana Armed Forces led by the greed, treachery and treason of Lt. Gens. E.K. Kotoka, J.A. Ankrah, Maj. Akwesi Afrifa and others, Dr. Nkrumah's books and teachings were banned publicly. Lecturers and students in his, Kwame Nkrumah Ideological Institute, Wineba and throughout Ghana were beaten, imprisoned and generally persecuted - even killed.
The mention of his name, books or ideas by his sympathisers caused immediate arrests, beatings, killings, imprisonment or public humiliation. It was part of the west's vicious ideological war to stamp out all vestiges of Socialism and PanAfricanism - the political and economic self-reliance that Dr. Nkrumah championed in Africa. This was the height of the so-called Cold War. (One can imagine what happened to his family). Ghana and Africa's political and intellectual leadership is still compromised by this ideology of containment by the CIA and their local agents.
This is why ideologically-motivated NPP intellectuals like: Okuoampa Ahoofe Pee Aach Dee, gabbing Gabby Okyere Darko, Obetsebi-Lamptey (whose father led a violent bombing campaign against Nkrumah) and others monopolise the rightwing media, to misrepresent, confuse and misinform the new generation of Ghanaian youth about Dr. Nkrumah’s achievement. The best way to know the truth, surely is to read what the Osagyefo wrote himself – we must hear from the horse’s own mouth.
Media agenda-setting in Ghana/Africa today, limit and cheapen what we must debate. They do exactly what the CIA-planned coup de tat of 1966 did. They ban by default the right intelligent, challenging and nation-modernising questions we should be asking about why Ghana/Africa is so endowed with environmental resources (gold, oil, diamond, bauxite, manganese, precious stones), yet is so poor in basic provisions in infrastructural facilities in public health, education, road and rail transportation, housing and public leisure amenities. They bludgeon opponent to Ghana and Africa’s commodity and industrial exploitation by the west.
WHAT MUST BE DONE?
Ghana needs to re-intensify the discourse of Dr. Nkrumah’s books. We need to evaluate (weigh the pros-and-cons), and even interrogate (question) the content of his ideas/thinking in the context of today's realities. Most importantly, Ghana/Africa must note that, being so positioned as the architect of Ghana’s/Africa’s freedom, his books accurately chronicles our political, cultural, social and economic history.
To me, this is a gem of a legacy even more valuable than the Akosombo Dam and other capital projects he left Ghana. To me the solution is in listing, evaluating (pros-and-cons) and interrogating Dr. Nkrumah’s books, along with other selected, developmental, consciousness-raising, Pan-Africanist, socialist, science and technology, Africa-centric books.
It is my hypothesis (supposition) because our leaders have little interest in seeing our countries develop into a self-reliant, independent science and technology society - philosophical, poetic, artistic and really humane societies - they thwart the attentions of our youth into frivolous entertainment. Yes entertainment such as football, football, football; “hiplife, gangsta rap, Nollywood” and “Gallywood” films can contribute to happiness. But in the context of nation-building, they have become diversionary and inconsequential.
Our youth cannot be tricked to enjoy themselves momentarily only to return to poverty and helplessness. Rather, what Ghana/Africa need for the future are creative ideas. We need education, critical and enquiring mentality. Especially, the minds of children and the youth must be trained by enhancing their cognitive and tactile (touching or physical) abilities in artistic creativity, innovation, science and technology. We need poetry, philosophy and such critical thinking. Thus educated they will know what to do and when to do it!
Library-based education must explore different public library systems in the world. These ideas must be applicable to all libraries In Ghana/Africa. The visual architectural design, internal layout and selection of books and information resourcing of our libraries, are very important. We may have to rethink our information technology, librarianship and bibliographical professionalism. We have to root them to a Development and Modernisation Programme (DMP). Because the attractiveness of a library can draw people to it, the public libraries in Cardiff, Wales and Kansas City, Missouri, USA have designs that actually look like real books! They are not grey, monolithic and boring. They are visually user-friendly.
We can best learn from the experiences of smaller nations like us, who have innovative public library systems we can copy them on the cheap. For example Columbia has a Mini Library policy (see picture). This positions small-scale public libraries - the size of bus stops - into which the public can deposit, exchange, restock or loan books. The books are expected to be left there for others to democratically read. (I cannot envisage our mobile phone-hypnotised street thieves stealing books. Of course, unless they are masochistic!).
My educational charity (readeducation.com) has an innovated an idea to kit library bus with multimedia equipment (books, DVDs, computers, faxes, DVD and mobile phones) to remote villages in Ghana/Africa. We hope to expand our community educational film project in rural, district and regional towns. We are in the formative stages and still need source finance, equipment and material to achieve our aims. But we know we will get there! (www.readeducation.com Email: firstname.lastname@example.org).
Why are Dr. Nkrumah’s books so valuable to Ghana/Africa? Because the content of his books (see above) will help us forge better paths to development and modernisation than has so whimsically eluded all Ghana’s/Africa’s leaders today. I know that the theoretical basis of our current struggle with the IMF-World Bank’s Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) lie, for example, in reading his Neocolonialism, the Last Stage of Imperialism and the Challenge of the Congo.
Our parliamentarians need to debate his books. If they have already done so, then we need to publicly know why they have not implemented his excellent ideas. For, what is the sense in building his mausoleum opposite the Ghana Supreme Court without the foresight to include a library that houses his complete books for public research, and a conference and multimedia facility that lends to discussing his ideas? There must by a Dr. Kwame Nkrumah Library in all Ghana’s/Africa’s regions and capitals.
Question: have you read any of Dr. Nkrumah’s many books? If not, shame on you (this is tongue-in-cheek). Make an effort to read them. I love you brother and sister. Ghana/Africa will win one day. Forward, Ever!
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