J.B. Danquah’s role in liberating apartheid South Africa

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Fri, 11 Nov 2016 Source: Kwarteng, Francis

We will not waste time to tell the entire history behind the struggles Nkrumah went through to end any trade relations the country had with Apartheid South Africa, trade arrangements he had inherited from the Colonial Government of the Gold Coast, and diplomatic relations. Because we had already discussed this on Ghanaweb (and elsewhere) and will not belabor it here (Readers should go back and read Kwame Arhin’s “The Life and Work of Kwame Nkrumah” for themselves. We shall provide additional academic texts and peer-reviewed papers on the subject in the future).

In other words while the Colonial Government did nothing to emancipate South Africa and traded with it, it was Nkrumah who would eventually end diplomatic and trade relations with Apartheid South Africa. And it was Nkrumah, not Mahatma Gandhi, whose struggles brought Apartheid to its knees. Now, with that said, let us see how the good people of South Africa had to say about Nkrumah and his role in emancipating South Africa and Southern Africa:


“Ingwe Mabalabala Holdings, an event organizer in South Africa in conjunction with the National Heritage Council of South Africa yesterday, presented a posthumous award to Dr. Kwame Nkrumah for his contribution towards the emancipation of South Africans.

“The award was received by the Minister of Chieftaincy and Culture, Alexander Asum-Ahensan.

“According to Mr. Enoch Ampofo who represented the event organizers, the award which is known as the founder’s award is given to persons or personalities who have contributed immensely to the elevation and improvement of the living conditions of their society.

“Ever since its inception, the likes of Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King and a great many others have been awarded for their selflessness and dedication to the human race…

“Mr. Ampofo said the first president of Ghana had such a big pride in the hearts of the people of South Africa adding that, ‘especially those who were oppressed during the apartheid period.’

“Gaining perspectives into how Dr. Kwame Nkrumah has affected the lives of people in South Africa, I found out that back in the days of Apartheid, the oppressed people went to school and were taught about the principles of Kwame Nkrumah or Nkrumahism.

“Receiving the award on behalf of government, the Minister of Chieftaincy and Culture, Alexander Asum-Ahensan said the role of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah in the independence of most African countries could not be under-estimated….”

What honor, unlike the posthumous prestigious SATMA Award which the good people of South Africa bestowed on Nkrumah for his role in emancipating South Africa (Southern Africa and Africa), have the good people of South Africa bestowed on either Danquah or Busia?

Why did the United Nations Special Committee on Apartheid posthumously (1978) award Kwame Nkrumah a Gold Award for his role in fighting the racist regime of Apartheid South Africa? Where are Danquah’s and Busia’s?

Well, Danquah would certainly have traded with Apartheid South Africa as he called it, namely the South Africa of the Apartheid era, “an African liberated zone” or “independent” in 1961! One wonders which planet he must have been living on when he made that abominable, ignorant observation. Now read on:


It is very strange that the J. B. Danquah followers never celebrate the anniversary of his birth, but find time to undertake a series of activities all aimed at undermining the celebration of Nkrumah's birthday! We have had all sorts of articles written again this year by this group, some of which they will live to regret! Gabby Asare Ochere-Darko had to travel to an obscure university in Pennsylvania to address an audience of 30 people about how evil Nkrumah was. Okoampa is again at it.

What makes me wonder is why these blokes did not even bother to organize a centenary celebration of the birth of Danquah, which occurred whilst the NPP was in power, and Ochere-Darko was the Executive Director of the Danquah Institute? Was Kwame Okoampa-Ahoofe, Jr., not then a member of the Governing Board of this very stupid institute? I wonder what Gabriel Asare Ochere-Darko was hoping to achieve by publishing the disgraceful preface of Danquah at this time of the year, but I am very glad he did. In doing so, he unwittingly exposed aspects of Danquah's political thinking and differences with the Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, hitherto not much talked about. I could therefore not help chuckling to myself when I read Okoampa's take on the silly work of Asare Ochere-Darko;

"Anyway, what is significant in Mr. Otchere-Darko’s presentation, captioned “Danquah on Nkrumah’s Propaganda Climb to Greatness” (See Ghanaweb.com 9/22/10) is the fact that it boldly and objectively puts paid to the long-running criminal attempt by some of his most ardent

supporters and sympathizers to institutionalize Mr. Kwame Nkrumah." (Read; Indeed, Brave Men Lived Long Before Kwame Nkrumah!, Feature Article of Monday, 27 September 2010, Columnist: Okoampa-Ahoofe, Kwame,) Danquah's Idea of What Independence Ought To Be: The main difficulty Danquah had with Nkrumah was the easy acceptance of his own role as Lord and Master of whatever he set his eyes upon in the Gold Coast, and the inability to swallow the bitter truth that all men were created equal, and that the new order was not about first and second class citizens, but a fundamental equality and social justice.

The Insight Newspaper recently published what the paper called "The confessions of Nyerere in which ex-President Nyerere declared, "Ghana was the beginning, our first liberated zone." (See: CONFESSIONS OF NYERERE, insightnewspaper.com/) I thus find it extremely fortuitous that in the estimation of Dr. J. B. Danquah, writing on the October 2, 1961, could declare that the only liberated colony on the African continent was Apartheid South Africa! This already speaks volumes, as it comes from the horse's own mouth!

J. B. Danquah writes "The 1887 Bill never became a delegation of the Aborigines Rights Protection Society was sent from Cape Coast to the Colonial office against it, and because Joseph Chamberlain, the Colonial Secretary, explained to the Queen that the delegation had come from the Gold Coast in West Africa notorious as the land of the mosquito and the White Man’s Grave. Said Queen Victoria to Joseph Chamberlain: “Tell my people of the Gold Coast, what I want is their loyalty, not their lands.” It was this answer which saved Ghana from becoming a second Kenya and which also made it easy for Ghana to lead successfully in the liberation of Africa and to become the first free Colonial country in Africa, (apart from South Africa)—By Dr Danquah."

It is very pertinent to the differences between the political views and the ambitions of these adversaries in order to understand the nature of the conflict that was raging between the two. Nkrumah must have been extremely irritated just upon seeing the naive declaration of Apartheid South Africa as an African liberated zone in it’s hey days of 1961! If in the opinion of J. B. Danquah, Apartheid South Africa was the "first free Colonial country in Africa", what was exactly his vision of that freedom? Why was such an independence worth his "sweat and blood"? "Independence for whom?", also becomes a legitimate question. For the sake of brevity, I invite the reader to bear such a bankrupt ideological orientation which would later lead many a Danquah follower to consider Mr. Nelson Mandela as a terrorist in accordance with the wishes of the colonial owners who indoctrinated them.

Apartheid became a serious problem in the late 1940's when it was declared an official policy of the governing Nationalist Party of the Afrikaners in South Africa to whom the British granted independence! It became a big international issue in 1960 after the Sharpeville Massacre, which occurred on 21 March 1960. If J. B. Danquah was any African leader of any worth, he would never have considered South Africa a liberated territory in 1961. In fact, I have read a lot of stupid writings of the epoch; this is the only time I ever saw any African leader describing the Independence of South Africa in 1910 as anything resembling a ”liberation"! Indeed, that statement alone goes a long way to show not only how dangerously naive J. B. Danquah was, it marks him out as a genuine fool who did not even know his left from his right!

As far back as 1959, when Nkrumah organised the All African People's Conference in Accra, there was a slogan that adorned the streets from the airport right up to the conference centre. The slogan simply read, "Self-government by peaceful means!" It soon became apparent that in the case of South Africa, peaceful struggle was not an option. The PAC which had already resorted to armed struggle as the most viable way to liberating South Africa complained. All the slogans

were ordered to be taken down immediately and it was replaced with "Self-government by every means necessary!"

This was 1959!!! Three years before Danquah was considering South Africa as a free African country, other very correct African leaders were even considering it as a special case that called for armed struggle rather than the sort of agitations we saw in the Gold Coast to free our own territory! The significance of this stupidity must not be brushed aside with "It is only hindsight that affords the privilege of such linkages." It was part of the agents of imperialism mantra that South Africa was indeed a "free and independent country!" and people like Mandela were only disgruntled "communists"!

The fact that you never met the followers of J. B. Danquah describing Mandela as a terrorist does not mean it did not happen. I know people from the university days now in politics who were of that opinion. When some of these people were student leaders, they actually held such views. I know a very apolitical girl who chased a Danquah-inclined student leader from her room in Volta Hall for calling Mandela a terrorist! I once witnessed a fight between the then NUGS representative at the AASU secretariat and the Co-ordinating Secretary of NUGS; I don't want to mention names yet, because NUGS was insisting that AASU boycotts a solidarity tour of Ghana by two leading members of the ANC Youth Wing! The reason this man gave was that the ANC was a terrorist organization! Dan Botwe was NUGS Secretary at the time. He opposed the boycott, but he was nevertheless not that enthusiastic, even at that time in the 1980s.

What you need to know is that there is a clear pattern of the thinking inherent in the right-wing ideologues' friendliness with apartheid. At a time when South Africans like the late Comrade Dennis Brutus (1924-2009) were busy campaigning for a cultural boycott, culminating in the expulsion of Apartheid South Africa in the Olympic games in Mexico, our own neo-colonialist Busia would embarrass our nation by calling for a dialogue! If you want to know more about this Google "My Century BBC, Cameron Doudu" and find out in details the nature of the Busia stupidity! These are traitors. It is ingrained in them. They follow the same school of thought of a very special strain of indoctrinated African "intellectuals like Jacobus Capiteinne who, even though a former slave, wrote his Doctorate theses defending slavery as not contrary to Christian Ethics! Do not try to defend what you obviously have no idea of. Danquah was morally, ideologically, and spiritually bankrupt. This shows clearly here in his own writings, no matter what spin you may want to put on it!

J. B. Danquah writes:

"How much “blood and sweat” or “personal sacrifices” did Dr Nkrumah expend in liberating Ghana “From he oppressors” when, indeed for the 13 years that the intensive intellectual battle for liberation of Ghana was joined between us and Ghana’s “Oppressors,” from the 1934 Colonial Office Delegation of the Colony and Ashanti, to the legislative union of the Colony and Ashanti in 1946 and the subsequent formation of the United Gold Coast Convention in August, 1947, Dr Nkrumah was a student in Lincoln University, USA, or at Gray’s Inn Road, London, and was not even known in Ghana’s politics?"

Unlike Danquah whose large educational fund allowed him expensive clothes and shoes, exquisite board and lodging facilities, and even the luxury of travels and tours on the European continent, all at the expense of the purse of what was at that time the rich Akyem Abuakwa State, Kwame Nkrumah was on his own in London and ever found himself homeless on a cold winter night in London!

As Kwesi Pratt puts it in "Nkrumah and Pan-Africanism": "Given the fact that Nkrumah came from a poor background, he had to work to pay for his education. He worked as a waiter and sometimes as a dish washer. He did anything which would put a few dollars in his pocket and help him fend for himself in a land which was obviously strange to a village boy from Nkroful. Nkrumah experienced racism at first hand. He saw that Africans were all victims of racism no matter where they came from. In searching for to questions about racism Nkrumah joined black students’ organizations and became acquainted with the ideas of such activists as Marcus Garvey. He read widely and was transformed into an activist."

Notwithstanding personal challenges, Nkrumah linked up with others who were engaged in the struggle for the emancipation of Africa, in the belly of the beast. Kwesi Pratt, Jnr. again: "When Nkrumah moved to London in 1945, he joined other Africans and persons of African descent in implementing the ideas he had formed. They worked in the West African students Union and the West African National Secretarial for the sole purpose of accelerating the independence process in West Africa as part of the general struggle of emancipating the African

wherever he may be.

Nkrumah had established contact with George Padmore one of the key organizers of the 5th Pan African Congress before he arrived in the United Kingdom and it was indeed Padmore who found accommodation for him at the West African Students Union’s hostel. Padmore guided

Nkrumah in his early days in London and together they plunged into work for the 5th Pan African Congress held in Manchester in October 1945." How ridiculous: "in August, 1947, Dr Nkrumah was a student in Lincoln university, USA, or at Gray’s Inn Road, London, and was not

even known in Ghana’s politics?'

The proto-nationalism that Danquah is confusing with the radical nationalism and Pan-Africanism of Kwame Nkrumah is very normal and expected, Nkrumah's radical ideas were like Greek to Danquah, who confesses to having social justice and egalitarian ideas in philosophy outside his intellectual compass. The attitude of these proto-nationalists Danquah is boasting of to colonial rule was not to end it, but to benefit from the system at the expense of their own people. Like the ANNC wrote to the queen, at the beginning of the last century: "We are Africans but we are educated, we are not as illiterate as the natives, thus we demand a right to vote and to be represented." These were a class of colonial elites that grew up through commerce, education, and the augmentation of the power of the chiefs by the colonial powers through the principle of Indirect Rule". They were literally fighting for their own interests.

History has shown that only a self-perpetuation of the rule of an elitist group as its post-independence outcome. The example of the first black nation to defeat colonialism and to establish b themselves an independent nation in Haiti, in 1804 must guide us here. In Haiti, even though an overwhelming majority of the population was slaves of the white Europeans, mainly French, slavery was not abolished in a post-independent Haiti! Indeed, other black people stepped into the vacuum cause by the flight of the white slave masters and took their fellow blacks as their slaves.

For people like Nkrumah, our independence was not merely having a territory with a common anthem and flag, a black face as a president in which we do business as usual. Even as student in London,

"Gentle" Danquah, "meek and mild", suffer me to silence thee!

I pity thy simplicity! But listen to thy half-brother!! !


Nana Akyea Mensah. “J.B. Danquah Was Nothing But An Imperialist Stooge.” Ghanaweb. October 3, 2010.

Columnist: Kwarteng, Francis