THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF KWAME NKRUMAH
PRISCILLA OWUSUAA OPOKU
Dr. Kwame Nkrumah
The book I chose to review was “The Autobiography Of Kwame Nkrumah.” The main reason I decided to pick this book was because Kwame Nkrumah has been a household name for me for as long as I can remember. It was, and still is, not only for me, but for all Ghanaians or anyone who has attended school in Ghana. Everyone is familiar with the name Kwame Nkrumah because we know that he fought for the independence of Ghana- for our independence. Many books have been written about him and everyone seems to have a general idea of who Kwame Nkrumah was, and yet, majority of us have not delved deeply enough into his life and read all about him. Most of us have been fed form school books/ journals or teachers about how he was an authoritarian ruler, and how he was not the best choice for Ghana simply because they focused more on his weaknesses. I must admit that before I read his autobiography, I had a different view about this man. In my eyes existed a parochial view of his exploits and his person but from my reading I was able to gather a profound appreciation for his… his philosophies and I am very happy that I did that because I was able to learn and understand him properly. This review is going to focus much on the rise of Kwame Nkrumah as an average man, and his rise up the leadership ladder throughout his life. It was published by Thomas Nelson And Sons Ltd in 1957, specifically on the 6th of March. The beginning of the book talks about Kwame Nkrumah’s birth and early childhood. During this era, there were no registrations for birth and death as there are today, and so he did not know exactly when he was born, although he was able to make a good guess from the events that occurred before and during his birth. Therefore he settled on the date of Saturday, 18th of September, 1909. He was born on a Saturday, and thus was named Kwame because in the Akan tradition, a male baby born on a Saturday must be called Kwame. When Kwame Nkrumah was conceived, the midwives thought he was dead but they did not give up on him. Interestingly enough, in the Akan custom, the first born was not considered as intelligent at his/her younger siblings, and so from the beginning Kwame Nkrumah had a rough time and very little expectations of him, and yet he had hope. As they say, ’No one knows the beginning of a great man.’ From the book, I gather that, Kwame Nkrumah was inspired by his mother. He states that his mother was his strength. She was worthy and his most vigilant protector. He was also proud of his father since he did everything in his power to take care of all his children. One day, Kwame Nkrumah and his mother were travelling from their village to his father’s village, and when his mother was crossing the river, he cried out that he was standing on a fish. He was on his mother’s back, so she found this strange, since he was not even in the water, but lo and behold when she moved she realized that she was indeed standing on a fish. Kwame Nkrumah attributed it to the fact that he might have some sort of psychic powers. These were little signs that were dropped to show how special he was. He didn’t have to be born rich or right. He had the support of his mother, the first person he ever came into contact with. He also had the love from his father and generally I think he had a very happy early childhood. As a parent to be, what I learn from this is that, and as much as I would want to provide my children with the most comfortable things in life, I would also give them the most priceless gifts of all; love acceptance for who they are and faith in what they can do. When Kwame Nkrumah was becoming a young man, he started to dream big things for himself even in the tiniest way possible. He wanted to be educated. In my opinion, education is the most powerful tool that a human begin can have. His first day...