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The making of kwame nkrumah

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6th March 1957 is a symbolic moment in the history of a small country formerly called the Gold Coast. Preceding this date accounts very important events that led to the independence and sovereignty of this small country that is now called Ghana.

After 62years of independence, coincidentally, a repetition of the day which was also a Tuesday, the eve of Ghana’s independence, 5th March 1957, a book titled “The Making of Kwame Nkrumah” was officially launched in 2019.

The book launch event attracted both young and the old alike. Sections of the audience were personalities from the corporate industry, academia, and film industry including the media. Personalities such as Kwesi Pratt: Manager of the Insight Newspaper, Akilagpa Sawyerr: Former Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Mr Yaw Firempong Boakye, film director and Lecturer at the National Film and Television Institute (NAFTI) and Baffour Kwabena Senkyire who was part of Nkrumah’s government were all present.

The book launch was a success. The message of the young author, calling for support and investment in making great movies about great African personalities like Nkrumah received encouraging applause from the audience. The book is a must read. Isaac Arko Inkum, the author is confident that the reason why the book was written will be achieved and in the coming years, his dream of producing the first ever movie on the life of Dr Kwame Nkrumah will be a reality. “This book is not the end in itself. It is a means to an end. It is the beginning of things not yet seen. And I’m confident this movie will be made” Inkum stated.

On 5th March 1957, Princess Marina, representing the Queen of England, Vice President Nixon of America,  President Ben Ali of Tunisia, civil rights leader, Dr Martin Luther King and his wife, Coretta Scott King, dignitaries from Russia to the Vatican had visited Ghana because something magnificent was happening. At the centre of it was Dr Kwame Nkrumah, the first President of Ghana. He had led the country to independence. It was a Tuesday and the voice of the first black leader of the first sub Saharan African country to gain independence spewed these words, “Ghana, your beloved country is free forever.”

Sixty two years have elapsed after Ghana’s independence; a remarkable historic experience on the calendar of the nation’s history. Dr Kwame Nkrumah’s success of leading Ghana to independence inspired not just Ghanaians and Africans but Black people all over the world. People are asking whether the Nkrumah story has been captured as a movie for people to watch. The search for the answer led a great multitude to British Council on 5th March, 2019 to attend the launch of the book.

The author of the book, Isaac Arko Inkum in his speech highlighted why there has to be a movie on the life of Dr Kwame Nkrumah. He has been working painstakingly with colleagues of his in the past seven years to produce a movie on the First President of Ghana. “If Americans can do a movie about President Lincoln and India can do a movie about Mahatma Ghandi, Ghanaians can also do a movie about Nkrumah to inspire the world.” Inkum passionately addressed the audience who had graced the occasion. The book carefully chronicles the experience of seven young people who decided to dedicate their time to do research, develop content, all in the effort to produce the first ever movie on Nkrumah. The challenges of filmmaking and the determination in embarking on such a gargantuan project make the book an interesting narrative.

The book captures two different stories. It provides detailed information about how the research on the Nkrumah personality was done. It also shares the entrepreneurial experience of seven young people who after completing tertiary education decided to work together to pursue a dream. Some of the personalities captured in the book are, Mr Baffour Kwabena Senkyire, a former Minister for Cooperatives in Nkrumah’s government, Samia Nkrumah, Dr Kwame Nkrumah’s daughter, Mr Kwesi Pratt, Manager of the Insight Newspaper, Mr Kwaw Ansah, one of Africa’s finest filmmakers, Rev Chris Hessy, Nkrumah’s personal cameraman, Professor Aaron Mike Ocquaye, Speaker of Ghana’s Parliament and his Excellency Nana Addo Danquah Akufo Addo, President of Ghana. There is a list of about fifty people in the book. These are some of the personalities the author and his colleagues consulted in carrying out their research on Nkrumah.

Ghana’s film industry has been somehow challenged as a result of the lack of good movies. The industry has not been able to attract the investment it needs to develop talents and produce great local content. Many are of the view that Ghanaian filmmakers do not invest in research to develop good content which is local but can travel international. There were times that the Ghanaian film industry was doing well because the stories which churned out were properly written and the scripts were carefully drafted. The art of script writing entails a lot, especially when you want to produce an award winning movie. It requires attention to details and research. However, recent movies which have been produced in Ghana do not meet standards.  Albeit some Ghanaian filmmakers are doing well in terms of the movies they produce, a handful of them have lowered the standards, giving way to mediocrity and cheapened the art of filmmaking. Ghana has rich stories from which we can develop good content to make great movies. That is exactly what Isaac Arko Inkum and his colleagues have been working on for the past seven years.

Inkum’s belief in the dream of making a movie on President Kwame Nkrumah inspired him to write this book. “I know there are people out there who have the means to support such a dream. But often, having access to them to share the dream becomes difficult. And I am of the thinking that perhaps, if I write a book about our experience of trying to produce the first ever movie on the first President of Ghana, someone could chance on it, read it and be inspired to help make this dream a reality. That has been the motivation behind this book,” Inkum explained.

Certainly a movie on Dr Kwame Nkrumah will not be an easy task. It is beyond politics and demands technical and huge financial budget. Biopics of such nature run into millions of dollars. The award winning movie titled, Long Walk to Freedom, a biopic on the life of Nelson Mandela cost 35 million dollars to produce. The last King of Scotland, a similar biopic on the life of President Idi Amin cost 6 million dollars. The famous Mahatma Ghandi movie titled Ghandi cost 22 million dollars. These are movies which have won global movie awards and starred great movie actors and actresses. It is based on this that a projection is made that a movie on the life of Dr Kwame Nkrumah could demand a budget of about 50 million dollars in its making. This may sound discouraging and perhaps, it is the reason why there has not been a movie on the life of Nkrumah. But Inkum thinks otherwise. His conviction in this film project has not been compromised by the fact that the project demands huge sums of money. “I know that such a biopic on Nkrumah is going to demand millions of dollars to make. And yes, as young people, we cannot do it alone. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t start something. We don’t have the money but we can start doing some work, like the research we have done in the past seven years and the book that has been published. At least, we can say that we have been able to develop a movie script which is very interesting and will thrill the world. Let me add that the movie we want to tell captures the life of Nkrumah that people seldom know. But through the research work, we gleaned that information and it is an intriguing journey into the life of the man of the millennium.” Inkum responded to a question from the audience.

Dr Kwame Nkrumah is one of Africa’s greatest leaders, if not the greatest. In the year 2000, listeners voted Nkrumah as man of the millennium on BBC Africa programme. This cemented the respect Africans and the world accord to Kwame Nkrumah. His vision of Africa Unity and his determination to make Africa great makes him very relevant even after his death. “Nkrumah never dies”, they say. It is mind boggling how his memory keeps becoming useful to the 21st Century generation of Africans. Every year, seminars and talk shows are organised to discuss his developmental policies and examine some of the mistakes he made in shaping the future of Ghana and Africa. Governments over the years have tapped into his vision of industrialisation to improve their policies and even attempted to implement some of his great ideas. Consequently, Nkrumah has become a template of leadership for governments, individuals and a whole generation. And if the man of the millennium is going to be relevant for a thousand and more years to come, then he deserves a biopic, even if it will cost a fortune.

The Nkrumah story inspired lots of people and still inspires many. When Dr Martin Luther King Jnr attended the independence celebration in Ghana some 62 years gone, he went back to Montgomery in America to preach a sermon titled, “The Birth of New Nation”. In that sermon, the civil rights leader used the Nkrumah story to inspire Americans and the world that if a young black man who started life as a pupil teacher in Half Assini, could struggle to save just enough penny to travel abroad for higher education, but due to pecuniary problems end up sleeping in open parks in London, selling fish in the corners of Harlem, working as a dish washer in a cabin, serving as a waiting staff on the Clyde Millory line plying between New York and Vera Cruz in Mexico, preaching in Black churches in Philadelphia and yet rise to become the first Black President south of the Sahara, then our dreams are possible only if we push ourselves beyond where others perceive to be out only capability. That was the story of hope that Nkrumah gave to black people all over the world. Even before Barack Obama became the First Black President of the United States of America, inspiring confidence in all blacks, Nkrumah had given black people that confidence in 1951, when he became the leader of government business, a position he held till he became a President.  His life had been an inspiration to Nelson Mandela, Patrice Lumumba, Jomo Kenyatta, Julius Nyerere, Sekou Toure, Malcom X, Dr. King Jnr and even to women like Claudia Jones, who was an activist in US.

In times where the movie industry in Africa and Ghana especially has suffered a deficit in the production of quality movies, a movie on Nkrumah will spark a new wave of inspiration and investment in the industry and great movies as such will be produced to educate and entertain the world. Inkum commented, “We do not seek to do a movie on just Nkrumah. Nkrumah is just one of the many great movies we want to produce. There is Kwegyir Aggrey, George Alfred Grant, Ephraim Amu, Felicia Abban, Joseph Boakye Danquah, Azumah Nelson and many other great African and Ghanaian personalities whose stories can inspire this current generation. The value we seek to offer is inspiration. If our generation gets inspired, we can even do greater things. But this time, we are picking inspiration from our own heroes and heroines. We can do this.”

 

  • People can follow the book and movie project on all social media platforms. It is “The Making of Kwame Nkrumah” on Facebook, Instgram, Twitter and LinkedIn…

 

ISAAC ARKO INKUM IS A YOUNG GHANAIAN AUTHOR WHO FOR THE PAST YEARS HAS BEEN WORKING WITH HIS COLLEAGUES TO PRODUCE A MOVIE ON THE LIFE OF DR KWAME NKRUMAH. HE IS ALSO INTO GHOSTWRTING OF MEMOIRS. HIS BOOK, “THE MAKING OF KWAME NKRUMAH” IS ON AMAZON E BOOKS AND OTHER E BOOK PLATFORMS. CURRENTLY, ISAAC ARKO INKUM IS STUDYING LAW (LLB) AT THE UNIVERISTY OF GHANA LAW SCHOOL. ISAAC IS PASSIONATE ABOUT WRITING AND DEVELOPING CONTENT TO POJECT THE GREAT IMAGE OF AFRICA.

 

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