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HistoryWhy Dr Kwame Nkrumah changed his name from "Francis Nwia Kofi Ngolomah"

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Why Dr Kwame Nkrumah changed his name from “Francis Nwia Kofi Ngolomah”

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This is what Nkrumah wrote about his own biography;

“The only certain facts of my birth appear to be that I was born in the village of Nkroful in Nzima around mid-day on a Saturday in mid-September…According to my mother, forty-five Kuntums (the traditional festival of Nzima) have taken place since I was born, which makes the year of my birth 1912. On the other hand, the Roman Catholic Priest who later baptized me recorded my birth date as 21st September, 1909. Although this was a mere guess on his part, I have always used this date on official documents, not so much because I believed in its accuracy, but in so far as officialdom was concerned, it was the line of least resistance…I [later] came to realize how near the mark [the actual date of my birth] this guess must have been.

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He was born into the Nzima tribe in Nkroful; a small village on the south western border of the then Gold Coast. Nkrumah was known as Francis Nwai-Kofi (or Nyakofi) Nkrumah until 1945 when he changed his name to Kwame Nkrumah.”

Why the name Nkrumah? According to Akan tradition, the name Nkrumah is given to the ninth born child of the family but Nkrumah was an only child of his mother so where did the name Nkrumah come from? The name Nkrumah came from the name ‘Ngolomah’, the supposed name of his father who was rumoured to have been of a Liberia citizen. Other sources say Ngolomah was from the Akan Asona family without mentioning what village or town this man came from. The fact of the matter is that, Ngolomah could not be traced to any Akan lineage and a foreign name to the Akan tribe and this man could not have been from Ghana let alone being an Akan. The name Ngolomah is not Akan name. 

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Even the date of Nkrumah’s birth is a mystery. He was initially known as Francis Nwia Kofi Nkrumah, Kofi being the name given to children born on Friday in Akan tradition.

Who was really Kwame Nkrumah?

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Kwame Nkrumah was born in about 1909 in Nkroful, Gold Coast. Although his mother, whose name was Nyanibah, later stated his year of birth was 1912, Nkrumah wrote that he was born on 18 September 1909, a Saturday, and by the naming customs of the Akan people was given the name Kwame, that being the name given to males born on a Saturday. During his years as a student in the United States, though, he was known as Francis Nwia Kofi Nkrumah, with Kofi being the name given to males born on Friday. The name of his father is not known; most accounts say he was a goldsmith.

Other sources give a brief description of his father as Opanyin Kofi Nwiana Ngolomah from the Asona clan of the Akan Tribe. “A goldsmith by practice, he was a man of strong character, extremely kind, and proud of his children. He was a polygamist and had several wives and children besides Nkrumah. Ngolomah died in 1927.”

This I will filed off as an attempt to fill in the blank to give Nkrumah a father he never knew. If Nkrumah had half brothers and sisters, how come we have never heard of them?

I know this will attract the wrath of Nkrumah appendages and their insults but I didn’t write this to demean the first President of Ghana who I have continued to say was very patriotic to a fault that made him to believe he was the only patriotic Ghanaian and knows what is best for all of us and that was his downfall. His beliefs made him impose draconian laws like PDA, One party state and President for life and these three policies brought his regime to an end.

If People like Kwarteng and Professor Lungu want to thrash the image of their political nemesis like Danquah, they should realize that Nkrumah’s own family background is not perfect. 

Justice Sarpong

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