A book detailing the works of the West African Nationalist Secretariat (WANS) formed by Dr Kwame Nkrumah to build a united movement throughout West Africa for independence has been launched in Accra.
The 192- page book, titled Kwame Nkrumah and the Dawn of the Cold War: The West African National Secretariat (1945-48) sets the works of WANS within the context of the political world of the 1940s.
According to the author, Ms Marika Sherwood, who is a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, London, the book reports on the works of WANS and the collusion between the colonial powers and the United States of America (USA) “to prevent or at least control burgeoning struggles for independence.”
Speaking at the launch of the book at the Institute of African Studies, University of Ghana, Legon, Mrs Sherwood said, the book was based on archival research, including newly released Military Intelligence, Section 5 (MI5) files and provided a rich exploration of a neglected history.
“It sheds light on a crucial historical moment and the western intervention from 1948 in the struggle for West African independence. It touches on issues such as the challenges of WANS and the challenges Kwame Nkrumah faced on his return to Ghana and what was happening in West Africa. It also indicates the levels of surveillance of Nkrumah and WANS by the ‘security’ services of the UK, France, Belgium and the USA,” she added.
Explaining the rationale for writing the book, Mrs Sherwood said the book was born out of her quest to change the existing narrative about Nkrumah which portrayed him as a communist.
“This book came about because I led a campaign from 1991 in Britain for the release of the government papers on black political activists in Britain. Eventually MI5 released some papers on Kwame Nkrumah. These papers begin in 1945 and end in early 1952, and the rest were all withheld. What struck me reading this was that they were talking about Kwame Nkrumah as a communist all the time. Kwame Nkrumah wasn’t a communist but he certainly had friends in the American communist party,” she explained
The Managing Director of Sub-Saharan Publishers, publishers of the book, Mrs Akoss Ofori-Mensah, thanked Ms Sherwood for her contribution to existing literature concerning Dr Nkrumah.
She stressed the need for Africans to tell their own stories.
“I have been concerned with books about Africa which never get to Africa. They are published and circulated in Europe and America but never get to Africa.”
“The people about whom the books are written never get the chance to read them,” she added.