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Celebrating Ghana Month from the perspective of Nkrumah’s Speech

Celebrating Ghana Month from the perspective of Nkrumah's Speech
(L-R) Ghana Politicians A. Caseley Hayford, Komla Agbeli Gbedemah, Kwame Nkrumah, and Kojo Botsio speaking at the Ghana independence ceremonies. (Photo by Mark Kauffman/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)

By: Roberta Gayode Modin

Every year in Ghana, the month of March is earmarked as Heritage Month, where a conscious effort is made to project the rich Ghanaian cultural heritage; from our indigenous food, and our unique style of dressing down to our unadulterated music, all to mark the celebration of Ghana’s independence from colonial rule on March 6, 1957.

Another aspect of the Ghanaian heritage that is worth revisiting is the classical speech by Ghana’s first president, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah on the eve of the country’s independence day, March 5, 1957, at the Old Polo Grounds in Accra.

“At long last, the battle has ended! And thus, Ghana, your beloved country is free forever!”, Kwame Nkrumah declared before thousands of Ghanaians in a thunderous voice that exuded confidence and authority on that fateful night.

That speech is widely regarded as one of the greatest in history and several reasons account for that.

It was delivered on a historic day for Ghana and Africa as a whole, and it marked the end of colonial rule and the beginning of self-rule for Ghana. It also marked the first official statement made by the new government of Ghana and thus set the tone for the country’s future.

The speech was filled with emotion and passion, and Nkrumah spoke directly to the mind and conscience of the people of Ghana and Africa, calling on them to rise and take control of their destinies. His words resonated with people across the continent, inspiring them to fight for their independence.

Nkrumah laid out a clear vision for Ghana’s future and spoke about the need for economic development, education, and social progress.
Although his speech was delivered in the context of Ghana’s independence, his message had universal appeal. He spoke about the struggle for freedom and the need for unity and cooperation, which won the hearts of many around the globe, especially those across the African continent.

“We have won the battle and we again re-dedicate ourselves … Our independence is meaningless unless it is linked up with the total liberation of Africa”, Nkrumah declared.

His speech had a lasting impact on Ghana and Africa as a whole. It set the tone for Ghana’s future development, and his vision of a united and prosperous Africa continues to inspire people to this day.

Nkrumah presented the reality of self-reliance.

“And as I pointed out … I make it quite clear that from now on – today – we must change our attitude, our minds, we must realize that from now on, we are no more a colonial but a free and independent people.
But also, as I pointed out, that entails hard work”.

Years down the line, the speech is as relevant as it was delivered on the eve of independence day. The battle for economic, social, and political emancipation as Nkrumah envisioned is, however, far from ended. As a country, and for that matter the rest of Africa, we need to change our minds and our attitude and work harder to translate the speech into reality.

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