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CISP ENDS NKRUMAH LECTURESpdf print preview print preview
03/01/2011Page 1 of 1



Cultural Initiatives Support Programme, (CISP) has organized three lectures on Kwame Nkrumah and Culture as part of the Kwame Nkrumah Centenary celebrations and this issue of Newsletter reports and celebrates those three lectures.

The lectures were organized in Accra, Kumasi and Tamale and focused on three different topics within the broad theme of Kwame Nkrumah and the Development of Culture in Ghana. The lectures took place as follows:

The first Lecture took place on September, 2009 at the Teachers’ Hall in Accra and Prof. George Panin Hagan, former Chairman of the National Commission on Culture, was the speaker on the Topic: Nkrumah, Culture and Nation Building. Prof. Akilagpa Sawyerr, Chairman of the Kwame Nkrumah Centenary Planning Committees was in the chair.

The second lecture in Kumasi took place at the Cultural Centre on September 30 and had Nana Brefo Boateng, former Chief Director of the national Commission on Culture, as the speaker on Kwame Nkrumah and Cultural Institutions. It was chaired by Oheneba Adusei Poku, The Akyepimhene of Kumasi.

The third lecture was at Tamale on November 1, 2009. The topic was Nkrumah and the Promotion of the Arts and Culture in Ghana and the speaker was Ms. Elsie Amina Gumbilla, Assistant registrar of the University for Development studies in Tamale. The chairman for the function was Naa Alhassan Sahaku Amadu, Regional Director of the National Population council.


“In all, some 600 people attended the lectures, including government officials, politicians, and academics, for fostering a sense of pride in our own culture. “We know from history that Kwame Nkrumah was not only concerned about the cultural emancipation of his people. This is why he introduced so many cultural elements into governance when he was Prime Minister and President of Ghana. Even those who were very young or had not been born when Nkrumah was alive are aware of how he promoted Ghanaian culture through his use of Kente and the Smock at official functions and this set the tone for other government officials as well.

This was designed to instill a sense of cultural pride in the Ghanaian”.

The Programme Coordinator of CISP, Mr. Kwesi Gyan-Apenteng explained that the programme decided two years to honour Osagyefo’s centenary with three lectures “because we knew even then that the celebration of the Centenary would most likely not pay as much attention to Dr. Nkrumah’s contribution to culture was a global perspective of his substantial intellectual output”.

The Coordinator explained further that although the CISP Nkrumah lectures were not part of the National Organising Committee’s programme, the CISP enjoyed the support and cooperation of the Chairman of the Planning Committee, Prof. Akilagpa Sawyerr. He also commended the European Union for providing the funds for the CISP, which enabled the lectures to be organized. “These lectures are therefore not only a one-time celebration of the life and work of Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, but a major contribution to the reflections that we have been enabled to do with the CISP.”

“Nation building is a creative process. It requires vision, direction and positive leadership. Individuals who initiate such a process proclaim and propagate ideals, world-views, tenets of life and futuristic dreams that define the collective identity, moral values, character, and the way of life of a people. They create a cultural fabric that pulls people together into a crucial mass that has the energy and strength to respond to the internal conflicts and external aggression and survive with the hope and assurance of a better life. Be they philosophers, prophets, moral teachers, charismatic persons, men of the world or men of arms, such personages stand out in history as extra ordinary, and their thoughts and deeds are celebrated from generation to generation.

Without a doubt, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, the first President of the Republic of Ghana, was such a personage. The greatest tribute that Ghana can pay to the memory of this great son of Ghana, as we celebrate the centenary of his birth, must be to recognize his place in history and recall, evaluate and learn from his contribution to the birth of our motherland.

Kwame Nkrumah believed that he was born with a divine mission. In the relatively short span of his life, though the vision of the total liberation and unification of Africa obsessed and totally consumed him, what providence granted him to accomplish was the liberation of Ghana from colonial domination. For laying the foundations of Ghana to make it a viable state, though some may contest this, the facts of history clearly justify the inscription that the first coins of the new and independent state of Ghana bore: ‘Kwame Nkrumah Civitatis Ghanaiens Conditor’ (Kwame Nkrumah, the founder of the Ghanaian State). And it is this fact that I attempt to unveil, analyse, interpret and celebrate on this auspicious occasion: for, I am persuaded that Ghana cannot define and hold its rightful place in the world and determine her future, unless we define and affirm the place of Kwame Nkrumah in our national history”.                              

                                                                                 Prof. George Hagan



“The present lecture on Kwame Nkrumah, Culture and Nation Building “is organized under the CISP component “Sensitisation and Mobilsation of stakeholders and partners” with the intent not only to celebrate the first President of the Republic of Ghana’s centenary, but also to make this celebration a time of reflection on Kwame Nkrumah’s life and its impact on Ghana and the African continent. A reflection which should involve Ghanaians, but also people from other origins. A reflection that should works as a reminder of Ghana’s colonial past with Europe and its legacy and as a beacon to the Diaspora of descendants of West-African slaves. A reflection that should represent a signal to the youth of today, guarantors of a common future.

Indeed, Africa and Europe are bound together by history, culture, geography, as well as by a community of values: the respect for human rights, freedom, equality, solidarity, justice, the rule of law and democracy as enshrined in the relevant international agreements and in the constitutive texts of both the African Union and the European Union.

Mr. Kurt Cornelius

 “When the new nation Ghana was born, Dr Nkrumah initiated several programmes to sustain the Ghanaian culture and also stimulate the cultural consciousness of the citizens. In trying to achieve this two very institutions were established. We all know that children and the youth are the future assets of any nation; and to change a mindset of a nation, it start with the children and youth.

Dr. Nkrumah therefore established the Ghana Young Pioneers Movement to inculcate into the youth the spirit of nationalism. Branches of the Young Pioneers were formed in all schools — primary, Middle and secondary, and also in all towns. The young pioneers had a vow, a pledge and a motto. The vow if I remember earnestly went like this” I sincerely promise to live by the ideals of Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, founder of the state of Ghana, initiator Of African Personality and to safeguard by all means the territorial integrity of Ghana and Africa; to be always in the vanguard for the social and economic reconstruction of Ghana and Africa.

Nana Brefo Boateng

The Tamale lecture, which was on the topic: Kwame Nkrumah and the Promotion of the Arts and culture in Ghana”, focused on the three northern regions and how the first president used culture as a tool to integrate them into the national framework. The speaker, Ms Amina Gumbilla, exposed the topic by examining the broad understanding and culture and its implication s for the development of the country. She conclude d that culture was a positive tool, which together with education served the people of the country very well in many diverse ways. Ms. Gumbilla recounted the role played by the art in education and educational institution as the touchstone by which to judge the achievements of the First Republic. She noted that it was education that enabled the people o f the three northern regions to catch up politically with the rest of the country. She mentioned several cultural institutions that were either built or developed by President Nkrumah.

                                                                                Ms. Amina Goinbilla

One of most exciting activities organized by the CISP in 2009 was the conference on the Future of Highlife Music which was undertaken jointly with the Highlife Institute. The Conference, which was held in Cape Coast, was well attended and addressed by very interesting people including the institutes’ Director, Mr. Ben Brako, Nana Kobina Nketsia, Omanhene of Asikado and Mr. Ato Scott Beninn, (aka REDCAP), Director, Hi-Life Institute, and Music Director, Ridge Church.

Participants for the workshop were drawn from the following institutions: Hi-Life Institute, CISP< UNESCO, world Bank, MUSIGA, Highlife Musicians and Producers, Academia from Music Institutions, GBC, FM Radio Stations, District assemblies, District Cultural Officers, Traditional Rulers, Regional Office of the Centre for National Culture, Officials form the National Commission on Culture, Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning and the EC.

“Highlife is musical style, originating in the late 1 870s mainly from Anglophone West Africa in Ghana, Sierra Leone and Nigeria, and which has evolved around local African Rhythms and themes, represented mainly by the indigenous palm wine music, and their fusion with western musical instruments, represented by the brass and guitars etc. Thus the origins of highlife started with multiple guitar licks, brass band riffs and an array of African and western percussion”

Ato Scot Bennin

“One of the main reasons for attempting to influence future trends in hi-life is to recapture the youth to love hi-life. This is very important in terms of cultural preservation and continuity as the youth will be the next generation to carry our traditions forward.

Indeed we should not only aim to preserve but also to help it thrive as a recognizable genre in world music. When, then you consider that music usually comes accompanied by lifestyles you begin to realize the gravity of the task confronting us. For example Hip hop music is associated with American rap artistes, dressing, language, bling culture, attitudes and behavior as well as beliefs. Consider also that hi-life is our contribution to the global village music’, and that it exemplifies the richness and variety of our heritage”.

                                                                                                                     Ben Brako

“Independence ensures or is underpinned by indigenous self-dependency. Inherent in the meaning of independence therefore is being free from foreign concepts; foreign knowledge forms and protocols; and foreign goods. Thus, truly independent people know freedom. Freedom is to be mentally liberated. Mental liberation is to have a deep understanding and insights into the culture one is situated and have the ability to express the self through that culture. And in Africa one gains the understanding that one of the major threads that wove the society together was music.

Music preserved, advanced, expressed and transmitted our values, our principle, our worldview. Our music stated our identity. It was a part of mysteries of African Spiritual energy (soul) which explained the notion of the extended self and the natural orientation of African peoples to insure the survival of the tribe. Briefly it must examine the elements and dimensions of the experiential communalities of African peoples”.

Nana Kobina Nketsia V


A training workshop for art and crafts practitioners has been organized at Bolgatanga in the Upper East Region and here a participant receives her certificate of participation from the Programme Coordinator. The PMU, the resource persons and participants took advantage to visit the world famous Sirigu Women’s Art Project from which these beautiful pictures were taken.


The foundation for Contemporary Art, one of CISP’s Big Grants recipients, has been very active in bringing art to the people. Here we present pictures from their recent event known as Creative Perspectives (promoting contemporary art in Ghana).


The second issue of Ghana Culture magazine, which is published by the CISP, came out in December. In this picture, the magazine is being admired by a group of readers who called at the

CISP office at the Du Bois Centre in Accra. The magazine is supported by the European Union.


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