Road to Ghana: Nkrumah, Southern Africa and the eclipse of a decolonizing Africa
Ahlman, Jeffrey S.
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This article interrogates the position of Accra as an ‘extra-metropolitan’ centre for southern African anti-colonial nationalists and anti-apartheid activists during the so-called ‘first wave’ of Africa’s decolonization. Drawn to Ghana by a narrative of decolonization and continental pan-Africanism that was at once peaceful and revolutionary, southern African ‘Freedom Fighters’ and expatriates first traveled to the Ghanaian capital of Accra in anticipation of the 1958 All-African Peoples Conference. Inside Ghana, southern African parties including the ANC and NDP and later the PAC, ZAPU and ZANU worked with the government of Kwame Nkrumah’s Convention People’s Party (CPP) in establishing an anti-colonial policy that spoke both to the unique settler situation in the region and the heightening international tensions of the emergent Cold War – a transnational dialogue to which the Nkrumah administration was not always receptive. As such, this article argues that the southern African presence in Accra and the realities of settler rule in the region challenged Nkrumah’s and others’ faith in the ‘Ghanaian’ model of decolonization, thus leading to a radicalization of African anti-colonial politics in Ghana during the early and mid-1960s as Nkrumahand his allies faced the prospect of the continent’s ‘failed’ decolonization.