It is safe to say that Pan-Africanism is not just a philosophy; but rather, both a philosophy and movement which were formed with the aim of uniting peoples of African descent irrespective of their cultural or religious affiliations and location.
Many students of the philosophy and movement in Africa are unaware that it did not start in Africa. The movement only took shape in Africa after the colonial stronghold appeared to be dying off in the 20th century.
It was introduced into Africa through the dedication, blood, and sweat of a few men who believed strongly that nothing but the unity and solidarity of Africans both in the continent and in Diaspora would help Africa achieve its full. Some of these influential leaders were W.E.B Du Bois, Marcus Garvey, Kwame Nkrumah, Julius Nyerere, Haile Selassie, Malcolm X, Muammar Gaddafi, and many others.
Without disrespecting any of the others, it is almost impossible to discuss Pan-Africanism in Africa without mentioning Kwame Nkrumah. He looked neither left nor right, but forward, and believed that the unity of Africa should be achieved at all cost possible because it is only when we are united that we can gain recognition as a people, he was right.
He had his flaws which cannot be disassociated from his legacy, but Nkrumah is a man who deserves accolades for his belief in Africa and sacrifices for a united Africa, although we are still a long way from actualizing his dreams.
Kwame Nkrumah was born in 1909 on September 21. As is the tradition of his Akan tribesmen, every male child born on Sunday was named Kwame.
His elementary education took place in Achimota, where he later trained to become a teacher.
It was during his years as a teacher at the Roman Catholic School in Elmina, that Nkrumah began his journey with great influencers that went on to shape his life and ideologies.
Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe was the first man to expose Nkrumah to the ideas of Black Nationalism. Through the writings and speeches of the great Nigerian nationalists, Nkrumah had a view of what he wanted the Africa of his dreams to become.
Kwame would later meet Nnamdi Azikiwe, who encouraged him to attend his Alma mater, Lincoln College, an HBCU based in Pennsylvania.
While at Lincoln, Kwame was able to further his education earning a degree in Sociology and Economics as well as Master’s degrees in Philosophy and Education from the University of Pennsylvania.
It was after Nkrumah completed his education and returned to Ghana that he began his career as a political activist where he led Ghana to independence from British rule in 1957 and served as the country’s first Prime Minister and President.
It was during his time at Lincoln that Kwame Nkrumah through studying the works of Kael Marx, Lenin and the other; and through partaking in movements for the emancipation of the Blacks organized by Dr. Martin Luther King and Malcolm X, shaped himself into the hero he became.
While it will be wrong to tell the story of his influences without mentioning such great men as Karl Marx, Lenin, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Stokely Carmichael, etc. We must admit that it was the initial influence of Dr. Azikiwe through his writings/speeches and his singular advice to Nkrumah that helped set the latter on the path of greatness.
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