After the February 24, 1966 coup that saw the overthrow of Ghana’s first Prime Minister,Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, books and photos of him were deliberately burnt and banned through the use of State power at the time. It was an offence to be seen carrying any memento of the man who won independence for Ghana on 6thMarch 1957 from British rule.
For the past four decades plus, books written by Kwame Nkrumah have been very hard to come by in Ghana. Local bookshops after bookshops and libraries are never in the position to satisfy Nkrumahists, except for people who have the wherewithal to order direct from abroad, for instance from PANAF who seem to have the publishing rights. Occasionally, one may come across very old copies that have been kept under very bad conditions, owned by older folks who were members of the ‘young pioneers’.
Nkrumah himself mainly wrote about pan-africanism/African unity, philosophy and neo-colonialism.(*see bottom of post for list of KN’s books)
But at the just ended three-day Government of Ghana & African Union joint celebration of African Union Day, which also marked the last phase of the year long Kwame Nkrumah Centenary Celebration, Professor Akilagpa Sawyerr (Chairman -K. N Centenary Planning Committee) announced that…
“…thousands and thousands of copies have been airlifted into the country and they will soon be distributed to bookshops across the country will be sold at affordable and subsidized prices....there is also the attempt to get the publishing rights back to Ghana."
The announcement by the professor followed comments from a youth representative who spoke at closing ceremony at the Accra International Conference Centre appealing that Kwame Nkrumah’s books be made available owing to their scarcity in the country.
“We are also working very hard to bring down from the United States (Lincoln University) documents and research papers that Nkrumah wrote to be housed here in Ghana…the current custodians have promised to do so if we are able to convince them of proper storage.”
For people who criticized the colloquium as a talk shop, which was also, attended by Senegalese president Abdoulaye Wade, who sponsored to Accra a large youth contingent, Akilagpa Sawyerr had rebuttal…,
“this colloquium is not only about debate, it is an investment of ideas that will lead to action in the pursuance of Kwame Nkrumah’s dreams.”
Earlier before the formal ending of the Kwame Nkrumah Centenary Colloquium, a flag-raising and wreath-laying ceremony was held at the Accra highstreet based Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum attended by the Vice president of Ghana and former president of Zambia Kenneth Kaunda. Also present at the dying embers of the colloquium was the 93yr-old comrade of Kwame Nkrumah, Ambassador Dudley Thompson, born in the West Indies and appointed counsel to the reparations committee by the OAU(Organisation of African Unity, now African Union) in 1991.
While in office and exiled abroad, Kwame Nkrumah authored over 20 books and research papers between 1951 and 1972 when he died in Romania. From Guinea, where he was exiled after the 1966 coup, he published ‘Dark days in Ghana’ and ‘voice from Conakry’ among others. At the time of his death some of books had been translated into thirteen different languages (according to PANAF).
Kwame Nkrumah was overthrown in a Military Coup d'état while on trip to Hanoi, North Vietnam. He left for Conakry Guinea on being told of the overthrow. He lived in Conakry as Co –President of Guinea.
*List of Books by Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah
Africa Must Unite
Axioms of Kwame Nkrumah-freedom Fighter’s edition
Challenges of the Congo
Class struggle in Africa
CONSCIENCISM: Philosophy and Ideology for Decolonization
Dark days in Ghana
GHANA: The Autobiography of Kwame Nkrumah
Nkrumah Handbook of Revolutionary Warfare
I Speak of Freedom
NEO-COLONIALISM: The Last Stage of Imperialism
The Struggle Continues
Towards Colonial Freedom
Voice From Conakry