This Day in History: 48 years ago, Ghana’s Kwame Nkrumah passed away in Bucharest

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On April, 27th, 1972, Ghana lost its beloved son and first president, Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah in Bucharest, Romania.

Voted as Africa’s “Man of the Millennium” by BBC readers in the year 2000, Dr Nkrumah was a Pan-Africanist, Revolutionary and Politician who led Ghana to attain independence from British Rule in 1957.

Nkrumah was born on 21st September 1909 to Opanyin Nwia Kofi Ngonloma and his wife, Elizabeth Nyanibah in Nkroful, Half Assin during the Gold Coast era under British Colonial rule.

He progressed through the ten-year elementary programme in eight years. By about 1925 he was a student-teacher in the school and had been baptized into the Catholic faith. Nkrumah attended the Government Training College which later became the Achimota School by the request of the principal, Reverend Fraser who arranged for Nkrumah to train as a teacher.

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It was in Achimota, he got acquainted with Columbia-educated deputy headmaster Kwegyir Aggrey who exposed him to the ideas of Marcus Garvey and W. E. B. Du Bois.

Aggrey, Fraser, and others at Achimota taught that there should be close co-operation between the races in governing the Gold Coast, but Nkrumah, echoing Garvey, soon came to believe that only when the black race governed itself could there be harmony between the races.

Aside from his role in Ghana’s independence, he was critical in the formation of the OAU as a founding member. In 1966, Nkrumah has overthrown in a military coup while on an international trip to Hanoi now Vietnam.

The conspirators, led by Joseph Arthur Ankrah accused the CPP of being corrupt and abusive to outside party members.

He was subsequently exiled and lived in Conakry, Guinea for most of his life as a guest to Guinean President, Sekou Toure who named him as his Co-President.

Despite retirement from public office, he felt that he was still threatened by Western intelligence agencies. When his cook died mysteriously, he feared that someone would poison him, and began hoarding food in his room.

He suspected that foreign agents were going through his mail, and lived in constant fear of abduction and assassination. In failing health, he flew to BucharestRomania, for medical treatment in August 1971. He died of prostate cancer in April 1972 at the age of 62 while in Romania.

Dr. Kwame Nkrumah of newly independent Ghana, Ghana, mid to late 1950s. The British crown colony of the Gold Coast, became its own country of Ghana on March 6, 1957, with Dr. Nkrumah as its first President. (Photo by Underwood Archives/Getty Images)

Nkrumah was buried in a tomb in the village of his birth, Nkroful, Ghana. While the tomb remains in Nkroful, his remains were transferred to a large national memorial tomb and park in Accra, Ghana known as the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum

Photo by @elizabethgracetravels 

Over his lifetime, Nkrumah was awarded honorary doctorates by many universities including Lincoln University (Pennsylvania)Moscow State University (USSR), Cairo University (Egypt), Jagiellonian University (Poland) and Humboldt University (East Germany).

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