I Speak Of Freedom — Dr. Kwame Nkrumah

Kwame Nkrumah (1909-1972) was the leader of Ghana, the former British colony of the Gold Coast and the first of the European colonies in Africa to regain independence with majority rule. He was an iconic figure of the African liberation movement. In the following speech one gets a sampling of the inspirational meditations of the mighty prophet Dr Kwame Nkrumah:

I Speak Of Freedom — Dr Nkrumah

For centuries, Europeans dominated the African continent. The white man arrogated to himself the right to rule and to be obeyed by the non-white; his mission, he claimed, was to “civilize” Africa. Under this cloak, the Europeans robbed the continent of vast riches and inflicted unimaginable suffering on the African people.

All this makes a sad story, but now we must be prepared to bury the past with its unpleasant memories and look to the future. All we ask of the former colonial powers is their goodwill and co-operation to remedy past mistakes and injustices and to grant independence to the colonies in Africa.

It is clear that we must find an African solution to our problems, and that this can only be found in African unity. Divided we are weak; united, Africa could become one of the greatest forces for good in the world.

Although most Africans are poor, our continent is potentially extremely rich. Our mineral resources, which are being exploited with foreign capital only to enrich foreign investors, range from gold and diamonds to uranium and petroleum. Our forests contain some of the finest woods to be grown anywhere. Our cash crops include cocoa, coffee, rubber, tobacco and cotton. As for power, which is an important factor in any economic development, Africa contains over 40% of the potential water power of the world, as compared with about 10% in Europe and 13% in North America. Yet so far, less than 1% has been developed. This is one of the reasons why we have in Africa the paradox of poverty in the midst of plenty, and scarcity in the midst of abundance.

Never before have a people had within their grasp so great an opportunity for developing a continent endowed with so much wealth. Individually, the independent states of Africa, some of them potentially rich, others poor, can do little for their people. Together, by mutual help, they can achieve much. But the economic development of the continent must be planned and pursued as a whole. A loose confederation designed only for economic co-operation would not provide the necessary unity of purpose. Only a strong political union can bring about full and effective development of our natural resources for the benefit of our people.

The political situation in Africa today is heartening and at the same time disturbing. It is heartening to see so many new flags hoisted in place of the old; it is disturbing to see so many countries of varying sizes and at different levels of development, weak and, in some cases, almost helpless. If this terrible state of fragmentation is allowed to continue it may well be disastrous for us all.

There are at present some 28 states in Africa, excluding the Union of South Africa, and those countries not yet free. No less than nine of these states have a population of less than three million. Can we seriously believe that the colonial powers meant these countries to be independent, viable states? The example of South America, which has as much wealth, if not more than North America, and yet remains weak and dependent on outside interests, is one which every African would do well to study.

Critics of African unity often refer to the wide differences in culture, language and ideas in various parts of Africa. This is true, but the essential fact remains that we are all Africans, and have a common interest in the independence of Africa. The difficulties presented by questions of language, culture and different political systems are not insuperable. If the need for political union is agreed by us all, then the will to create it is born; and where there’s a will there’s a way.

The present leaders of Africa have already shown a remarkable willingness to consult and seek advice among themselves. Africans have, indeed, begun to think continentally. They realize that they have much in common, both in their past history, in their present problems and in their future hopes. To suggest that the time is not yet ripe for considering a political union of Africa is to evade the facts and ignore realities in Africa today.

The greatest contribution that Africa can make to the peace of the world is to avoid all the dangers inherent in disunity, by creating a political union which will also by its success, stand as an example to a divided world. A Union of African states will project more effectively the African personality. It will command respect from a world that has regard only for size and influence. The scant attention paid to African opposition to the French atomic tests in the Sahara, and the ignominious spectacle of the U.N. in the Congo quibbling about constitutional niceties while the Republic was tottering into anarchy, are evidence of the callous disregard of African Independence by the Great Powers.

We have to prove that greatness is not to be measured in stockpiles of atom bombs. I believe strongly and sincerely that with the deep-rooted wisdom and dignity, the innate respect for human lives, the intense humanity that is our heritage, the African race, united under one federal government, will emerge not as just another world bloc to flaunt its wealth and strength, but as a Great Power whose greatness is indestructible because it is built not on fear, envy and suspicion, nor won at the expense of others, but founded on hope, trust, friendship and directed to the good of all mankind.

The emergence of such a mighty stabilizing force in this strife-worn world should be regarded not as the shadowy dream of a visionary, but as a practical proposition, which the peoples of Africa can, and should, translate into reality. There is a tide in the affairs of every people when the moment strikes for political action. Such was the moment in the history of the United States of America when the Founding Fathers saw beyond the petty wranglings of the separate states and created a Union. This is our chance. We must act now. Tomorrow may be too late and the opportunity will have passed, and with it the hope of free Africa’s survival.

From Kwame Nkrumah, I Speak of Freedom: A Statement of African Ideology (London: William Heinemann Ltd., 1961), pp. xi-xiv.

22 thoughts on “I Speak Of Freedom — Dr. Kwame Nkrumah”

  1. it is greate the read about the one of the Africas greatest leaders ever exist on the African continent. am proud to read about his legacy that he has prouduce. we as Africans needs to uplift what what he has laeve behind lets unite Africa base on one of his books intiled,Africa Must Unite.I hope that the African leader will oneday be able to continue tha legacy of Dr.Kwame Nkhrumah.

  2. Jah Bless.Please what i mean is,What do rastas think for the UNIFICATION of Africans especailly injustice that is going on here in Nigeria.LET JAH BE PRAISE.Amen

  3. Blessed Lord

    Rasta know that Africa must unite under the banner of Rastafari. For Rastafari is the only movement of the people which focuses upon a Black God! I and I must learn to love we self and hail up our King every day if we are to survive this atrocious modern system.

    The problem with Africans which creates disorganization and oppression is that Africans are the only earthly people today without a common God or Prophet or King who is in their own image.

    You are lost when you bow to a foreign god!  A god in the image of other nations. It shows lack of self respect, self-perception and self-validation.

    That is why Rastafari come to teach the people to love themselves, to love their heroes and their ancestors.  That is why Rasta call for all Jamaicans, Trinidadians, Bajans, Nigerians, Ghanians, Zimbabweans, Ethiopians, Somalis, and all true Africans to come together in one love. 

    That is why Rasta call for all Africans to gather together, in strenght and unity. Because we have more power when we are together under one God, one Love and one Destiny.

    Blessed

  4. African countries have all that it take to develop but i think with conciouse leaders we as a nation can not develop as country, there is a need for as to stand up and defend our tax use to pay so call our leader.

  5. I would start by pointing out that The Unity, developement and the future of Africa lies on the Africans themselves.It´s quite obvious we cannot make history by repeating History.Our heroes like Kwame Nkrumah, Mandela and others have made a courageuos move by liberating Africa from Colonial rule but we still have a Kilimanjaro to climb ahead of us.We can only be happy and proud of these heroes but we should never rejoice.The struggle and the eventual acheivement of Independence will serve as an example that if we face the oppression with courage, we can defeat the oppressor.

    African Trade and Trading Partners; This is where africa is not yet free.There is no need to pretend to be totally free without a direct involvement in terms of bargaining our products..If you go around in shops around the world, you´ll find packets of tea leaves written ” Product of Britain”..Where in Britain is the tea plantation??I don´t think tea is grown in Britain..This is Kenya,India and other Afro countries that toils to produce but the buyers determine the prices of their products and this way, African still suffers from the york of colonialism.

    Mental Slavery; Most of the people from the black africans due to poverty as a result of poor governance perpetuated by the west, have come to believe that the more the light your skin is, the more the superior you become..This reasoning is moreso dictated by the economies.

    The message here is that Africa will develope because we have identified the problem and as time go by, the Political, economic and social mess is getting rectified by the africans.

    It is not true that white people are superior in any way just because of sin color nor money..If people were to be superior because of the color of their skin, It´s obvious that dark africans are superior because their skin looks like Gold besides other skin colours that much resembles the nostrils of pigs or plucked carcass of a chicken..Our skin colors doesn´t however make us superior or inferior but it´s the quality that we have to add to ourselves by hardwork, determination and Developement consciousness that we posess in ourselves….

    Africa will develope when Africans reconsider their belief that some skin colours are superior than theirs.Africa will develope when african take full control and determines the true value of their products by themselves.Africa will develope when they take the challenge of Honesty and accountabilty in their day to day governance..I am very much positive that africa will develope because the people of africa have made the promise having taken the first and the most important step..The achievement of Independence

  6. koro ,wach e nang’o,comprendez? keep on keeping it real Africa unite-Africa wadhi pi o pi o….Viva Africa,motherlan and praise to the most high Father Jah

  7. I never,and will never accept that Africans are inferior to the so call whites.As Osia pointed out our skin colour have nothing to do with our superior nature.This is a fact that cannot be changed
    .I will never agree to the assertion that we Africans are inferior to the west.

    It’s high time we face the fact the we are the solutions to whatever problems we have.Our problems are not bigger than us, “the horns cannot be havier tha the bull that bears it,it must carry it”

    We must realise as Africans
    that these acclaimed developed countries are not ready,and will never develop us.All their proposed development plans are only traps for AFRICA to fall victim to their shrewed plans.If we are to develop then, as Dr Kwame Nkrumah said”it is clear that we must find an African solution to our problems”
    Because for them to develop,they must apply the’dependency theory’ which means we must remain below for them to go high.

    One my basic problem have to do with some the greedy individuals and leaders that we have.I always believe that for a kingdom to be conqured there must be a MOLE working from within.Over the ages
    we’ve seen that the fall of great African leaders,like Dr Nkrumah have strong internal causes. Reference can be made to the great former Congolese leader,who was tortured by America and the rest of the western powers.There people,even leaders who prefer selling our sovereignty for peanuts to upholding our supremacy.Unfortunately too they are betrayed eventually.

    We are AFRICANS and cannot change our root.We must not be deceived that by forming alliance with the developed we shall also be developed.

    Moreover it is an illusive ideology and propaganda that we will develop by passing through the same processes they went through;that’s a mirage!As Kwasi Pratt(a Ghanaian journalist)often asks:”where shall Africa,in this modern era,get slaves to work for them in order to develop?”Our educational systems have not been structured for the development of the continent.We only run day and after theories they have propounded thinking by learning such things we shall develop. Impossible!There must a change

    In terms of trade ,they develop by not flooding their economy with foreign goods.Now that we want to develop they are crying for trade liberalisation? We must think fast.
    LONG LIVE AFRICA,MAY GOD ALMIGHTY BLESS US AND BE WITH US FOREVER!

  8. AFRIKA HAD GREAT AND VISIONARY LEADERS BUT THEY WERE OUTWAYED BY GREEDY POLITICIANS.”POLITICS AND LEADERSHIP IS NOT ABOUT FAME,MONEY,POWER,MISUSE OF STATE MONEY OR GREATNSEE BUT IT IS ABOUT THE WELL BEING OF THE POOR,INNOCENT,HOMELESS BUT NOT HOPELESS PEOPLE WHO HAVE NO FOOD TO EAT,NO WATER TO DRINK,NO PLACE TO SLEEP AND NO CLOTH TO WEAR”.ASARE BREW JOHN ZACK,WISCONSIN INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY,ACCRA,GHANA.+233246532801.
    THE UNITY AND TRANSFORMATION OF AFRIKA IS IN THE HANDS OF THE SELFLESS ONES.THANK YOU.

  9. the only problem we all face from the top hierachy of leadership to the ordinary citizen is change of mind.asare brew john zack.
    Are you a patriotic youth with love for the african child?Then join me in the rebuild of the african continent.We have little time so we must act now otherwise generations to come will judge us by our deeds,our works,our achievements and the decisions we took.

    AFRICA MUST UNITE

    LET US MAKE AFRICA A HOME FOR EVERY HUMAN ON EARTH AND LET US MAKE THE POOR CHILD SMILE FOR THE ONLY WAY YOU CAN BE LISTED AMONG THE GREATEST ACHIEVERS OF THE WORLD IS WHEN YOU ARE ABLE TO MAKE THE POOR CHILD IN THE DEPRIVED VILLAGE OR TOWN SMILE POSITIVELY.THE WORLD IS WAITING FOR YOU.I PRAY THAT THE YOUTH OF AFRICA WILL BE MUCH INTERESTED IN THE WELL BEING OF THE POOR INNOCENT HOMELESS AFRICAN CHILD AND BE MORE PRACTICAL AND FUNCTIONAL FOR WE ALL HAVE FAILED THE UNDERPRIVILEGED.GOD SAVE GHANA,GOD SAVE AFRICA.I LOVE YOU ALL.PLEASE IF YOU WANT TO KNOW HOW YOU CAN BUILD YOUR LEADERSHIP CAPABILITIES,FEEL FREE TO CONTACT ME.
    ASARE BREW JOHN ZACK
    aka lordzincky
    WISCONSIN UNIVERSITY,ACCRA,GHANA
    Today, there have been 1 visits (4 hits) on this page!

  10. Kip up d gud work of informing young African’s about their outstanding past leaders as this wil help inspire them on d development of our own AFRICA. Kudos

  11. Ghanaian especially the youth who did not meet this man have really loose a great thing. we appreciate the good work you are doing for keeping their rich wisdom and speeches. we appreciate their efforts to mother Ghana.

  12. Dr. Nkrumah was right and very wise. Its high time for us who are present to work on what he started during those days when most African countries got independence. They did their part during their time and what is remaining is our duty to make their dream come true. I believe they wished to be around at this time to witness what they needed it to be, as Africa to become one. Working together for our development and success of our people.

    Osia is right that there is no one who is superior than the other, we are not inferior at all, what we need is to woke up and take a step forward and everything will work on our side. We have the will, its only that we need to apply it in reality. Our leaders needs to focus on African issues, African development, African success and not to be bought by the outsiders for the expense of African people for their benefits, who exploit us at the beginning and continue to use our leaders.

    This is the right time to act.

    Thank you all.

  13. Sure the Nkrumah and the Gaddafi’s have done their part and time have change. In this change, the myth of the African leasers as the only one’s with the exclusive responsibility for the unification of the African continent, has to discontinue. Indeed the problem at this point is absolutely a leadership one and this can best be translated into the leadership of the AFRICA UNION AUTHORITY’S (PRESIDENT COMMISSION CHAIRMAN). The AGA make this strongly on this premises of the citizens of the 53 member states of the Union to be participating in the election of the Union’s authority president. We as awell agree that such election could be done on behalf of the people of each member states by the Parliaments of each state, thus representing their constituencies. This will be solving the problem of logistics and cost, as it will be allowing the union to have more power in carrying out its responsibility of peace and prosperity agenda until such a time when the people are in the position to be voting directly by themselves. You can read more on this on http://www.aga4fed.com

  14. NKRUMAH WAS A REAL GENIUS. A ALWAYS LOVED WHAT MY TEACHER SAID ABOUT NKRUMAH….”NKRUMAH’S TONGUE WILL NEVER ROUT”. LONG LIVE THE IDEOLOGIES OF DR NKRUMAH

  15. i think kwame nkrumah had a muslim name , but he was not a muslim according to history. when he went to egypt to fetch his wife fathia ,the egyptians said he has to bare a muslim name in order to take fathia as his wife .

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