Reflections on the Autobiography of Kwame Nkrumah

In the Winter Quarter of 2010, Bokamoso Leadership Forum members read through The Autobiography of Kwame Nkrumah. A couple of articles will be dedicated to reflections by the members on the ideas stuck out to them in the book. We would love for you to join in the conversation by posting comments

Bose Maposa
Stemming from a sports background, one of the things that caught my attention as I read the autobiography of Kwame Nkrumah, despite its brief mentioning, was that he too “…discovered that sportsmanship was a vital part of a man’s character, and this led [him] to realize the importance of encouraging sport in the development of a nation” (p.16). Consequently, this year, as its been the motto for our blog, we are gearing up for the World Cup in South Africa, where for the first time an African country will get the chance to host one of the biggest sporting events. Nonetheless, the discourse surrounding the build up to the event, besides the enormous social capital signaled by pride, is one that demonstrates that sport has become elitist and is void of true development. Any bells ringing there? I am sure there are a couple!
What we see, almost what could be a reflection of those promises of ‘independence’ is a quest by the elite for a never ending treasure hunt, which when attained, does not seem to trickle down to the ordinary citizens. The good held by the promises; be it independence or the value of sport, has been eroded and now is being delivered to a select few. Furthermore, FIFA, just like the colonial powers, is exploiting Africa (it is not the only though). So will South Africa, after the World Cup, that is post World Cup South Africa, be like Post-colonial Africa? Unfortunately, it seems so.

Damilola Daramola
In the “Motion of Destiny” Kwame Nkrumah dedicated a paragraph referring to fighting a system (I returned the book so I don’t have the direct quote but feel free to look it up). I remember speaking to my colleagues about what the word “system” meant to them and each person passed on their ideas on the word. If we look at the struggles for independence, the “freedom fighters” knew who the enemy was and therefore could point their hand at them (i.e. colonial masters). Although African countries have broken free from colonial chains, the system still exists albeit insidiously as it is now instituted by indigenes. The system has become something intangible. Reading those words again “we are fighting against a system” made me wonder if anything had really changed in the years since the 60s. Is the system ever one that can be tamed? I relate it to the drug culture worldwide where if a drug baron is replaced, another appears in his place to take over that empire. Are African countries doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past continuously?
I remember a quote from a friend of mine on twitter “People want big organizations to spearhead change when caring people are real fuel for good.” Somehow I believe that’s the key to our success. It’s not the government that will do it for us, it’s not the outside Aid non-profits that will do it for us. It is us who believe that making someone’s life that much better daily and spreading the idea of purpose will eventually get us there. The call is to “be a better you.”


3 Responses to Reflections on the Autobiography of Kwame Nkrumah

  1. #thusego mmolawa

    interesting read(well written)…i still have a problem with african writers "neocolonialism" assertions to almost everything-i always find it unsubstantiated-and not connecting to the point, where i nod my head in agreement.

  2. I am quite excited about this! I have (ashamadely) only just discovered Kwame Nkrumah. I am looking forward to reflections that will follow!

    I especially liked Bose's angle of sport, I would like an elobration though, as to how FIFA is exploiting the African continent (before I comment further)

  3. It is an interesting read, hope you enjoy it.

    There is a lot written about the dealing of FIFA; I will give you examples/questions pertaining to the World Cup in South Africa;

    There has been a creation of the ‘World Cup bubble’, the equivalent of what Horne (2007) terms the ‘Olympic bubble’, that is legislative changes which often regulate and create monopoly for brands of sponsors officially connected to the event to ensure that there is no ambush marketing ; yet another elitist dimension. While there are claims that the 2010 World Cup will truly be an African event, many of the sponsorship and thus those affiliated to the event are multi-national companies or brands, with stipulations that these should have a global reach (Desai & Vahed, 2010). This is turn has disfranchised many of the poor and struggling business people from whom the event was supposed to benefit. No longer will ordinary food vendors be outside the stadiums with their home cooked meals to feed the spectators, nor will there be the South African beer Castle; instead they will be established entities like MacDonald’s and Budweiser who in reality it can be argued do not struggle to make ends meet unlike the poor people.

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