Today marks 56 years since Ghana became independent in 1957. As the comrades in Ghana celebrate their independence I reflect on what Ghana’s, and perhaps Africa’s, greatest son, Kwame Nkrumah had to say concerning African states and independence:
“Africa is a paradox which illustrates and highlights neo-colonialism. Her earth is rich, yet the products that come from above and below the soil continue to enrich, not Africans predominantly, but groups and individuals who operate to Africa’s impoverishment.”
“What other countries have taken three hundred years or more to achieve, a once dependent territory must try to accomplish in a generation if it is to survive. Unless it is, as it were, jet propelled it will lag behind and thus risk everything for which it has fought.”
Indeed he asks a difficult question: Why despite Africa’s obvious wealth do Africans remain poor? Many answers have been proposed, but in the second quote Nkrumah makes it clear that if former colonies are to have any hope of survival then we must develop faster, make less mistakes and work harder than other countries.
As Ghana celebrates its independence, Africans must bear in mind that “He who starts behind in the race of life must run faster or forever remain behind the man in front.” We started behind in the modern race of life, and we- all Africans- must run faster if we are to keep up with the rest of the world.