Shaping the “New Man” in Africa, Asia and the Middle East: Practices, Networks and Mobilization (1940s–1960s)
On the eve of Ghana’s independence on 6 March 1957, Kwame Nkrumah, leader of the African government of that country, made his “Ghana is free forever” historic speech to the world. This Pan-Africanist extraordinaire declared, inter alia, that: “[W]e shall no more go back to sleep […] [F]rom now on, there is a new African in the world[!]” How did he differentiate between a new and old African? This study, interested in the character of this envisioned “new African,” perceives that Nkrumah did not think that this African already existed. Rather, a purposeful hominisation of this “new” being needed to occur. Hence, Nkrumah added that: “[F]rom […] today, we [Ghanaians] must change our attitudes, our minds [and] realise that […] we are no more a colonial but a free and independent people!” Change, as he emphasised, meant an anthropogenesis for the “new” being to “prove,” as Nkrumah added, “to the world that […] the African […] is somebody!” and “capable of managing his [or her] own affairs.” In Nkrumah’s view, Ghana, which he ruled until 1966, had to champion the total decolonization of Africa, continental unity, development of the spirit of African Personality and renaissance of African self-possession and creativity.
This, therefore, required that the hominisation of the “New African” had to start from Ghana. What initiatives and processes were offered to engender this transformative attitudinal and intellectual rebirth in Ghana? This article offers a historical examination of the educational and cultural initiatives and political-ideological training movements and cadre schools, especially the Ghana Young Pioneers Movement and Kwame Nkrumah Ideological Institute, which Nkrumah, Africa’s “Man of the Millennium,” provided intentionally to help bring about the necessary attitudinal and intellectual moulding of a “New African” in Ghana from 1957–1966.