Ghana is celebrating Independence Day on March 6th, marking its declaration of independence from the United Kingdom by Prime Minister Kwame Nkrumah in 1957 when the country become the first sub-Saharan African country to achieve independence from the UK.
By ending decades of white minority dominance, Ghana has played a major role in the anti-colonisation movement in Africa. The country was colonised by Britain, which coveted Ghana’s large gold and ivory reserves – the country was known as the Gold Coast.
Nkrumah led Ghana in its journey to independence, pioneering the first African break from colonisation. “Our independence is meaningless unless it is linked up with the total liberation of the African continent,” he said in his Independence Day speech in 1957. The move influenced more than 30 African countries to fight for liberation from colonial rule within the following decade.
Ghana’s new flag was raised on Independence Day, symbolising victory over colonisation. The flag consists of three Pan-African colors, red, yellow, and green. Red symbolises the blood of the black Africans shed during the country’s struggle for independence. Yellow represents the country’s mineral wealth, while the green is a symbol of Ghana’s rich forests and vegetation. The black star in the centre of the flag was reportedly adopted from the flag of the Black Star Line, a shipping corporation established by Jamaican political leader Marcus Garvey.
Festivals are held annually to mark the celebrations of March 6th, with street parties and a national parade of schoolchildren and security personnel in Black Star Square, also known as Independence Square, in the capital, Accra. Every year, the president delivers a speech of solidarity to Ghanaians.
In 1960, Ghana became a state Republic in a historic move in West Africa. In 1978, Ghana won the African Nations Cup for a record third time. Ghanaians were very proud when in 1997 Ghanaian Kofi Annan rose to be UN Secretary-General and were especially so after he was a joint recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2001.