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Kwame Nkrumah built for Africa, not just for himself

Kwame Nkrumah, author and revolutionary, led Ghana to independence from Britain in 1957 and served as its first prime minister.
Kwame Nkrumah, author and revolutionary, led Ghana to independence from Britain in 1957 and served as its first prime minister.
Image: Universal History Archive/ UIG via Getty Images

Kwame Nkrumah was a selfless African legend who built so much but didn’t build even a house for himself. However, when we look at our political leaders today, they build glittering mansions and purchase big flashy cars to serve as tokens of their wealth and success.

Nkrumah ruled for nine years and in this period he built an industrial hub in every region in Ghana. He built several industrial cities across Ghana including the famous Tema and Akosombo which housed production centres which produced nearly all commodity needs of the economy while employing the citizens.

In contrast with SA, what is happening today in our country? Our political leaders build houses here and abroad so as to boost their net worth and fame. No politician is willing to establish commercial farms and industries to boost our economy and employ the legion of unemployed citizens.

In SA, foreign nationals are more preferred than locals when it comes to business ownership. Commercial farms are still owned by white farmers who exploit black farm workers as cheap labour.

Again, Nkrumah built a gigantic African Line Hostel and dedicated it to serve as free housing for all African freedom fighters who sought refuge in Ghana. The only SA president who ever built a children’s hospital is the late Nelson Mandela. Former president Jacob Zuma built his Nkandla home and wants to leave a legacy for his kids only.

The current president, Cyril Ramaphosa, owns buffaloes on his farm and runs several businesses to benefit himself and his family.

Nkrumah and Mandela are now gone but their spirit and good intentions live on. When other African presidents are gone, what good intentions shall we remember as their legacies?

There is a difference between a president and a statesman. The president thinks about the next elections while the statesman thinks about the next generations.

May all our African leaders emulate the great, selfless Nkrumah.

Amos Tebeila, Mohlaletse Village, Limpopo

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