The government has declared Friday, 21st September 2018 as a statutory public holiday.

A statement signed by Ambrose Dery, the Minister for Interior, says the day marks the birthday of Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah which is often declared Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Day.

The statement further asked all and sundry to observe the day as such throughout the country.

Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Day is a day set aside to remember and honour Ghana’s first

Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s first President, was born on September 21, 1909 at Nkroful in the Western Region.

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He attended Achimota School and also trained as a teacher. He went to the United States in 1935 for advanced studies, receiving a B.A. from Lincoln University in 1939.

He also received an STB (Bachelor of Sacred Theology) in 1942, a Master of Science in Education from the University of Pennsylvania in 1942 and a Master of Arts in Philosophy the following year.


While lecturing in Political Science at Lincoln, Dr Nkrumah was elected President of the African Students Organisation of America and Canada.

He continued his schooling in England, where he helped to organise the Fifth Pan-African Congress in 1945.

He then founded the West African National Secretariat to work for the decolonisation of Africa. Nkrumah also served as Vice-President of the West African Students’ Union (WASU).

During his lifetime, Nkrumah was awarded honorary doctorates by Lincoln University, Moscow State University, Cairo University, Jagielloniaan University in Krakow, Poland and Humboldt University in former East Germany.

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Formation of the CPP

On June 12, 1949, Dr Nkrumah led the formation of the CPP at Arena in Accra before a crowd of some 60,000.

He was made Chairman, with Komla Agbeli Gbedemah as Vice Chairman and Kojo Botsio as Secretary. Other members of the Central Committee included N.A. Welbeck, Kwesi Plange, Krobo Edusei, Dzenkle Dzewu and Ashie Nikoi.

Dr Nkrumah declared “positive action” on January 8, 1950 in front of a large CPP crowd at a public meeting in Accra. He travelled to Sekondi, Cape Coast and Takoradi to repeat it.

The colonial government declared a state of emergency which took effect on January 12, 1950, and prohibited the holding of processions, imposed curfews and disconnected public services in certain areas.

Three years imprisonment

Dr Nkrumah was arrested on January 21, 1950, tried for inciting an illegal strike and sedition for an article in the Cape Coast Daily Mail and sentenced to three years imprisonment.

Mr Gbedemah kept the party running and was in constant touch with Dr Nkrumah who was held at the James Fort Prison from where messages were smuggled out on toilet paper to the party headquarters.

Stunning victory

While in prison, Dr Nkrumah led the CPP to achieve a stunning victory in the February 1951 election.

He was freed to form a government, and he led the colony to independence in 1957.

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A firm believer in African liberation, Nkrumah pursued a radical pan-African policy, playing a key role in the formation of the Organisation of African Unity in 1963.

At home, he led a massive socio-economic development that saw the springing up of infrastructure across the country.

As time passed, he was accused of being a dictator and also of forming a one-party state in 1964, with himself as President for life, as well as actively promoting a cult of his own personality.

Overthrown by the military in 1966 with the help of Western backing, he spent his last years in exile, dying in Bucharest, Romania, on April 27, 1972. His legacy and dream of a “United States of Africa” still remains a goal among many.