Kwame Nkrumah and books

Members of GhanaBlogging are supposed to have been talking/writing about Kwame Nkrumah over the last week or so, as part of the centenary celebration of his birth, which is officially celebrated on 21 September.    This is definitely belated, but will just have to do.

Certainly Kwame Nkrumah wrote books, and he respected them, and their use by others.  After all, he ensured that the Ghana Library Board started off as an institution to supplement the facilities offered by the formal education sector.  It is very much a pity that political views of Nkrumah after his overthrow probably led to a diminishing level of support to the GLB leading to its almost total decay during the 1980s.  And by the time the economy had recovered, the whole information scene had changed drastically, but the GLB still maintained a view of the world that harkened back to the mid to late 20th century.   Though I do have to admit that they do now have a website, which could be termed as progress, even if the time I accessed it the date was Saturday April 26, 2008 – and this was in September 2009!

Back to Kwame Nkrumah.   I don’t think anyone – whatever their political allegiance – will deny that Ghana’s first President was an intellectual.  He wrote several books, many of which are still studied in Ghana and elsewhere.

A probably incomplete list follows:

  • Ghana:  The autobiography of Kwame Nkrumah (1957)
  • I speak of freedom (1958)
  • Africa must unite (1963)
  • Consciencism (1964)
  • Neocolonialism (1965)
  • Axioms of Kwame Nkrumah (1967)
  • Challenge of the Congo (1967)
  • Voice from Conakry (1967)
  • Handbook of revolutionary warfare (1968)
  • Dark days in Ghana (1968)
  • Class struggle in Africa (1970)
  • Revolutionary path (1973)
  • Rhodesia file (1974)

The irony is that here in Ghana it is quite difficult to obtain copies of his books, despite more than forty years having passed since he was overthrown in a coup, and more than thirty years since he died.  There used to be a shop in the Ghana Trade Fair that sold some of his work, but no longer – at least as far as I could see.  If one is lucky, a local bookshop “may” have some of his books, but as usual, the easiest way of obtaining his publications is to order them from either the UK or the US, unless one is really prepared to put in a lot of effort and move around Accra or indeed Ghana!   Rather sad really.

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5 thoughts on “Kwame Nkrumah and books

  1. Books in Ghana ?
    What an irony. All are shouting today “Kwame Nkrumah” “Centenary” “Great man” “Pan Africanist” etc. but to me “A man of knowledge loves his name being song only when the disciples do learn to know, and live on the Master’s teachings!”
    One of these teachings is by itself the problem of the inability of the black people to read.

    The Osagyefo was a teacher all his life. He started as a pupil-teacher, at seventeen. All his life he taught here and there till he become the Head teacher of the nation Ghana, where later the classroom teaching became his hobby at the school of ideology, in Winneba.
    His pre-independence “Evening News” was in a way a means to inculcate the habit of reading to Ghanaians and Africans.
    While some other politicians were bombed him and tried all things to dispose him Dr Nkrumah’s government built schools and libraries.
    How much suggestions ever came from other members that formed the government those years might remain hidden to us, but we surely never disclaim all innovations came from him alone.
    Today there are many who rather dispute him, claiming his policies of those years will not work today. But when I asked what these policies are they never know!. One who had done his masters ih the Uni. near me here, even claimed he never read any of Nkrumah’s books, and so have no knowledge of what those policies were!

    Man this guy a Ghanaian graduate in Germany who said “he never read books but use his own ideas”. I never entered the classroom for lack of money, so that day I felt very proud to ask this graduate what he was doing in the Uni. at the cost of German tax payers ?.

    In August-September 1991 I was in Ghana. One shopping day, we visited almost all the book shops in the Accra centre, including Methodist, Presbyterian, Bk shops for books on or from Nkrumah. We had only one pamphlet “Consciencism”!
    But this was when political parties were grouping towards democracy – and one of them is even CPP.
    But believe me I gave a copy of the “Conakry Years” to a friend on that visit.
    Again just last year 2008, same period I was in Ghana.
    “Luckily uncle had arrived so at least a nephew could get books for school, for the state thinks it wiser to supply free uniforms instead of learn material. So again in at least three Bk shops in Accra the result was zero.
    In December, Ghanaians decided a new government, and again the CPP was one of the parties. But no books from Nkrumah the great teacher.
    In Africa our elders refuse us knowledge, and they make it perfect by leaving us with religion and bible, resulting in a “no questions, no answers mentality”

    Even the Ghana national head teacher employs Pastors and therefore, no need for him to ask his God how to rule the nation. Pastors do that.
    Finally Africans are then left alone, to manage their life, all Africans are now managers of life, because there are no directors. The apostles had refused to learn, and therefore cannot forward the teachings of their masters to other generations. They can only sing praise songs! The seniors go about celebrating, and the younger generation follow up aloof. All shouting Great Osagyefo!

  2. Hei,
    I visited the website of the Ghana Library Board. And the date is still: Saturday, April 26, 2008.
    Today is the 23. December 2009.
    But nice is I could enter some rooms thru the website!

  3. I’m reading “Consciencism” right now. It belongs to my Dad and it is older than I am.
    Very deep book.
    He’s got quite a collection. I tried looking for copies to buy but couldn’t find them. I found this very strange.

    • It is actually ironic that it is very difficult to get copies of Nkrumah’s works here in Ghana. Sometimes there are copies available, but it is not consistent, and usually they are snapped up pretty fast!

      • Given how so many things in Ghana are named after Nkrumah and how every politician want to associate with him, it strange his books are so rare.
        My Dad has 6 of them and I’m only allowed to read when I visit him. I am not allowed to take them away. Can’t blame him. I saw some of them on Amazon, quite expensive

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