African Cultural Traditions and National Consciousness in the Intellectual Works of Kwame Nkrumah, 1944-1966

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dc.contributor.advisor Afeadie, P.
dc.contributor.advisor Aidoo, K.O. Akoto, J.B. 2014-08-01T09:26:09Z 2017-10-14T02:46:04Z 2014-08-01T09:26:09Z 2017-10-14T02:46:04Z 2014-06
dc.description Thesis (MA)-University of Ghana, 2014
dc.description.abstract This thesis attempts to situate Kwame Nkrumah‘s intellectual works, in the development of Ghanaian national consciousness and to examine his contribution on African cultural traditions to the evolution of Ghanaian national consciousness in 1944 to 1966. This is done on two main strands. First, it determines Nkrumah‘s earliest writings including ̳Primitive Mind and Thought,‘ ̳Primitive Education in West Africa‘, ̳Education and Nationalism in Africa‘, ̳Educational trends and potentialities in West Africa‘, He indicates that survival and relationship consciousness was crucial to understanding the need for independence. In these volumes of works Nkrumah attempted to construct Ghanaian national consciousness through two key values. First he contended that economic bases were the prerequisite for the demands of freedom and these lay in the unity of the people. This realisation depends on the second factor – the African cultural traditions of the people is required as a higher ―fitted propeller‖ for the emancipation of the people from colonial dominations. These intellectual works also explore Nkrumah‘s attempts at constructing an African philosophical consciousness. The second strand of the the thesis highlights the extent to which Kwame Nkrumah adapted the intellectual positions used by his predecessors to the reconfiguration of British Colonial enterprise in the Gold Coast. This view is contained in the books he wrote from the beginning of 1945 to 1966: Towards Colonial Freedom and in his Autobiography, Necolonialism: The Last Stage of Imperialism and Consciencism: Philosophy and Ideology for Decolonisation and Development With Particular Reference to the African Revolution. Nkrumah‘s intellectual commitment in these texts is his recognition and application of collective consciousness in fostering a sense of togetherness and belonging which is critical for the emergent post-colonial nation. The thesis notes that Nkrumah, however, drew on the intellectual works of protest literature against British imperialism evolved by western-educated Gold Coasters, and across the globe by African –Americans. The thesis argues that Nkrumah practicalised the ideas formulated by these intellectuals. The thesis, highlights the extent to which Nkrumah adapted the philosophies of consciencism and Nkrumaism to the changing nature of British colonial rule during the period under discussion. The thesis maintains that arguments of Nkrumah were practical approaches against colonial tactics which were instilled into Ghanaian consciousness were constant and sometimes in harmony with western values. The dissertation gives a detailed reconstruction of Ghanaian nationalism that emerged from the ideas of self-esteem in the transformation of Ghanaian national consciousness in three volume works. The works of I Speak of Freedom, Some Essential Features of Nkrumaism, Class Struggle in Africa and Africa Must Unite focus on exhortation of Ghanaian cultural traditions. For instance I Speak of Freedom demonstrates how he was dressed as a typical Akan chief during his installation as president in parliament. Nkrumah also demonstrates aside this event the ideas of self- esteem in the transformation of Ghanaian national consciousness a sense of his willingness for an internal and external cohesive consciousness which will result into a global consciousness of all Africans. In these works Nkrumah appealed to the Ghanaian national consciousness in a different way than others. He wanted a cohesive united nation in Ghana and the continent of Africa. In Class Struggle in Africa, Nkrumah blamed class ―interest‖ as the obstacle against the construction and achievement of Ghanaian national consciousness. Moreover, in I Speak of Freedom, Nkrumah‘s earnest desire was the argument that the African people needed to be freed at all cost in order that the African genius and their communities would ―flourish and blossom.‖ In Africa Must Unite and elsewhere Nkrumah contended that: ―In meeting fellow Africans from all part of the continent he is constantly impressed by how much we have in common in relations to our African cultural traditions. It is not just our colonial past, or the fact that we have aims in common, it is something which goes far deeper. Nkrumah best describes it as a sense of one-ness in that we are all Africans. This togetherness of the African through an evolution of the African cultural traditions was more expressed in the work, Consciencism. In this work, Nkrumah advocated that the African cultural traditions were not obstacles nor were they problems for African unification. In fact, in Consciencism Nkrumah explains that cultural acquisition becomes valuable only when it is appreciated by free men. Nkrumah in Consciencism and the other books aforementioned indicates that Africans by African cultural traditions have a collective memory and collective consciousness which are cultural principles of harmony, co- operation, collectivism and consensus. Premised on a related doctrine of Nkrumaism Consciencism and Nkrumaism at least provided the intellectual flames that guided Ghanaian national consciousness from which later generations of Ghanaians have initiated their own small, but important national consciousness. In order to make the discussion more cogent and relevant for the contemporary academic world the discussion is mainly on archival material from the George Padmore Research library in Accra and supported by materials from the Ghana Information Service; it also made use of a wide range of published accounts, from the Public Records and Archive Administration Department, formerly the Ghana National Archives and information from interviews of some individuals who have not only written extensively on Kwame Nkrumah but were his ministers of state. Beyond its immediate local interest, the thesis contributes to our understanding of Nkrumah‘s usage of African cultural traditions in domestic policies and its impacts on the foreign frontiers of his foreign policies. Nkrumah‘s ideas of the African Personality illustrate the dynamics of policies clearly. Nkrumah‘s foreign policies are placed into the wider global consciousness where Nkrumah wanted the Africans to be placed. The link between the domestic and foreign policies is illustrated by the centrality of Nkrumah‘s dictum: A country or race without the knowledge of its past is tantamount to a ship without a pilot. Other important discussed issues include Nkrumah‘s life and how he employed religion, art history, proverbs, aphorism and storytelling to fortify the Nation. The thesis also looked at how the Convention Peoples‘ Party(C. P.P.) was refashioned after the traditional Asafo groups in African cultural traditions to define and construct Ghanaian national consciousness. en_US
dc.format.extent xii, 197p.
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.publisher University of Ghana en_US
dc.title African Cultural Traditions and National Consciousness in the Intellectual Works of Kwame Nkrumah, 1944-1966 en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US
dc.rights.holder University of Ghana

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