Ghana’s birth, Africa’s liberation are Nkrumah’s greatest tributes
By: KINGSLEY ASARE
The greatest tribute Ghanaians can pay to their first President is to recognize his struggle for the birth of the country and the liberation of the African continent, says Professor George Hagan, former Chairman of the National Commission on Culture, (NCC).
At a lecture in Accra on Thursday as part of activities marking the Nkrumah Centenary Celebration, he said during the short life of Nkrumah, he was obsessed with the independence of Ghana and the liberation of the African continent.
The lecture was organized by the Cultural Initiatives Support Programme (CISP), a European Union funded initiative to support cultural activities in the country under the auspices of the National Commission on Culture and with support of the European Commission.
Professor Hagan said for many before Dr. Nkrumah, Ghana’s independence was a fantasy but with the vision of Nkrumah, independence became a reality.
He said that Dr. Nkrumah encouraged the use of Ghanaian costumes such as Kente and the Batakari (smock) and wore them to national and international assignments.
Professor Hagan stressed that he (Dr. Nkrumah) sold Ghana through the use of Kente cloth at United Nations General Assemblies.
Speaking on the topic, ‘Kwame Nkrumah, culture and nation building’, Professor Hagan explained that culture is a means of opening the consciousness of a group of people, stressing, “it is a key to innovation, creativity and capability”.
He said that the Europeans realized the power of culture and therefore introduced what he termed “cultural manipulation” policy.
Professor Hagan said that through cultural manipulation, the British, the country’s colonial master, introduced the English language and other cultures to change the Ghanaian perception on culture.
On the broader scheme, the colonial masters developed a myth that the “African mind is primitive”.
These strategies, Professor Hagan said, were a deliberate policy by the Europeans to demonise the African culture and also segregate the Africans.
Professor Hagan said after independence – when the new nation Ghana was born, Nkrumah initiated several programmes to sustain the Ghanaian culture and also stimulate the cultural consciousness of the citizens.
These programmes included the establishment of the Folklore Board to promote the country’s culture, state support for the celebration of festivals and the construction of the National Museum to preserve the country’s cultural artifacts.
The former Chairman of NCC observed that the country could change its fortunes if it placed emphasis on culture.
He noted that through culture the country could overcome poverty and disease and build strong social cohesion.
The chairman of the Nkrumah Centenary Anniversary Planning Committee, Professor Akilakpa Sawyer, earlier in his remarks, observed that the gap in the country’s history is the lack of knowledge about Nkrumah.
He said although Nkrumah did a lot for the liberation of the African continent, much had not been done to highlight his achievements.
Professor Sawyer hoped the centenary celebration would recapture the contributions Dr. Nkrumah made towards Ghana’s independence and the liberation of the African continent.
Mr. Kwasi Gyan-Apenteng, Coordinator of CISP, said his outfit decided two years ago to hold three lectures in Accra, Kumasi and Tamale in memory of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah.
He said the CISP decided to hold the lecture in memory of Dr. Nkrumah because of his significant contribution to culture in Ghana and on the African continent as a whole.
The Minister of Chieftaincy and Culture, Mr. Alexander Asum-Ahensah, paid glowing tribute to Dr. Nkrumah for his struggles in gaining independence for the country.
He also commended him for his efforts in marketing Ghanaian culture to the outside world, through the use of Kente cloth during United National General Assemblies.
Ghanaian Times - page: 12 Friday, September 11, 2009