Kwame Nkrumah

First President of Ghana Kwame Nkrumah

Profession: First President of Ghana


Biography: Leader of Ghana and its predecessor state, the Gold Coast, from 1951 to 1966.

Nkrumah was educated in the United States at Lincoln University and the University of Pennsylvania where he gained master's degrees in philosophy and education before moving to England for further study at the London School of Economics and University College.

He returned to the then British colony of the Gold Coast in 1947 to oversee the nation's independence from Britain in 1957. Nkrumah dominated the country's politics for 15 years, becoming the first Prime Minister of the Gold Coast, the first Prime Minister of Ghana and the first President of Ghana before being deposed in a coup.

Nkrumah led an authoritarian socialist regime in Ghana, repressed political opposition and conducted elections that were not free and fair. Nkrumah’s government developed a national education system and sought to eliminate tribalism.

An influential 20th-century advocate of Pan-Africanism, Nkruma published the book "Africa Must Unite" in 1962 which laid out the case for the total liberation and unification of Africa. He was a founding member of the Organization of African Unity and the winner of the Lenin Peace Prize from the Soviet Union in 1962.

Nkrumah saw himself as an African version of Vladimir Lenin. He was also inspired by the writings of black intellectuals such as Marcus Garvey, W.E.B. Du Bois, and George Padmore.

Born: September 21, 1909
Birthplace: Nkroful, Gold Coast (Ghana)

Generation: Greatest Generation
Chinese Zodiac: Rooster
Star Sign: Virgo

Died: April 27, 1972 (aged 62)
Cause of Death: Prostate cancer while receiving treatment in Romania

Historical Events

  • 1949-06-12 Kwame Nkrumah announces the formation of Ghana's Convention People's Party (CPP), the word "convention" chosen "to carry the masses with us"
  • 1951-02-11 Kwame Nkrumah and his Convention People's Party wins 1st legislative general election in the Gold Coast (Ghana) in a landslide
  • 1964-01-02 Failed assassination attempt on President Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana
  • 1964-01-31 A rigged constitutional referendum in Ghana sees 99.91% vote in favor, turning the country into a one-party state and making Kwame Nkrumah president for life
  • 1966-02-24 Military coup ousts President Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana
  • 1966-03-03 Kwame Nkrumah flees Ghana to exile in Conakry, Guinea
  • 1972-07-09 Kwame Nkrumah is re-buried in Nkroful in his native Ghana

Biographies and Sources

Famous Ghanaians