Kwame Nkrumah
Kwame Nkrumah

Amilcar Cabral, perhaps one of Africa?s greatest revolutionaries and political philosophers, delivered the following speech at Nkrumah?s funeral held in Conakry, Guinea, in 1972. Here it goes:

Kwame Nkrumah
Kwame Nkrumah
?After the speeches we have heard today and, most of all, after the statement, as militant as it was moving, by our elder brother and companion in struggle, President Ahmed Sekou Tour?, what more is there to say? But we must speak, for at this moment if we did not speak, our heart might break.


Here, beside the mortal remains of President Kwame Nkrumah?one of the greatest men mankind has seen this century?we are living an epoch- making moment in the history of the struggle for liberation and progress in Africa: We might say simply, in history.

We must, therefore, meditate deeply on this moment, and draw all the lessons from events; as President Kwame Nkrumah would say, the positive lessons and the negative lessons.

Before saying a very little of what I have in my heart and my head, I should like to greet all the delegates here and, on behalf of the African liberation movements, to recall that the fact that we should all be here together, beside the mortal remains of President Kwame Nkrumah, is not only evidence of respect and consideration for his person and his achievement, but likewise a pledge to the total liberation of Africa and the progress of African peoples.

On behalf of the combatants of our Party, who are the legitimate representatives of our people in Guin? and Cape Verde, we should like to offer our fraternal condolences to his widow, Madame Nkrumah, to the whole Nkrumah family, to the President and our companion in struggle Ahmed Sekou Tour?, who was always a faithful comrade of President Nkrumah, to the Ghanaian people and to the whole of Africa!

However, our tears should not drown the truth. We, as freedom fighters, are not weeping for the death of a man, even of a man who was a companion in struggle and an exemplary revolutionary. For, as President Ahmed Sekou Tour? often says: What is man before the infinite and transcendent becoming of peoples and mankind?

Nor are we weeping for the Ghanaian people, whose finest accomplishments, whose most legitimate aspirations are smothered. Nor are we weeping for Africa?s betrayal. But we are weeping with hatred for those who were capable of betraying Nkrumah in the ignoble service of imperialism!

But treason, like fidelity, is characteristic of man. Treason to Ghana, as to the Congo and elsewhere in Africa, has a positive aspect: It shows the true human dimension of African man. And, in this specific case, it allows one better to grasp the true stature of Nkrumah as a political giant, and contributes to immortalizing him further.

We have heard talk of rehabilitation for Nkrumah. We understand this expression only in the sphere of the language of diplomacy, or of tactics, because for us, as freedom fighters, those who must truly be rehabilitated are those who in betraying the Ghanaian people and Africa betrayed Nkrumah.

Africa, by demanding through the voice of the people of the Republic of Guinea, interpreted faithfully, as always, by President Ahmed Sekou Tour?, that Nkrumah be restored to his rightful place?on the highest peak of the Kilimanjaro of the African revolution?Africa is rehabilitated before itself and before history.

We have heard much said today about the action and gigantic achievement accomplished by Nkrumah in a relatively short time.

President Nkrumah, to whom we pay homage, is primarily the strategist of genius in the struggle against classic colonialism. He is the man who created what we might call ?African Positivism,? to which he himself gave the name Positive Action. Positive Action has been the best, the most appropriate solution found for the struggle, in the context of British colonial domination.

We pay homage to the pioneer of Pan-Africanism, to the tireless, constantly inspired combatant for African unity. We pay homage to the avowed enemy of neocolonialism in Africa and elsewhere, to the strategist of the economic development of his country.

As far as neocolonialism is concerned, everyone now knows that Nkrumah?s book ?Neocolonialism: The Last Stage of Imperialism? is a profound, materialist analysis of reality, the terrible reality which neocolonialism is in Africa.

As far as his country?s development is concerned, we reject the slanderous criticisms by Africa?s enemies?and some of the Western press?even some cesspits which pass themselves off as being the African press?criticisms which purport to show Nkrumah?s economic bankruptcy.

Everyone knows very well that from 1970, on the basis of all the economic measures taken by Nkrumah and his government. Ghana was to become a fully developing country which would show the world that Africa was not only able to win political independence but also to build its economic independence.

We hail in Nkrumah the freedom fighter for the African peoples, who was always able to grant unconditional support to the national liberation movements. And we wish to say to you here that for us in Guin? and Cape Verde, while it is true that the primordial external factor in the development of our struggle was the independence of the Republic of Guinea?the heroic ?No? of the Guinean people on 28 September 1958?it is also true that we embarked on the struggle with the strong encouragement of the practical support of Ghana, and particularly of President Nkrumah.

We hail finally Nkrumah, the philosopher and thinker. As President Sekou Tour? said, philosopher and thinker because he could apply himself to the consequent practice.

We hail likewise and pay homage to the personal friend, to the comrade who could always encourage us in the difficult but exciting struggle we are waging against the most retrograde of all colonialisms, Portuguese colonialism.

We must remember at this moment that every coin has two sides. All of life?s realities have two aspects: Positive and negative. Positive Action always opposes and is opposed by a negative action and vice versa. If President Nkrumah lives on in the history of Africa and the world, it is because the balance of his positive action is not only positive, but also shows an epoch-making achievement, fruitful creative activity in the service of the African people and of mankind.

We must however draw the lesson from all events. Even at this moment of grief, we must ask ourselves some questions the better to understand the past, live the present and prepare for the future.

For example, what economic and political factors made the success of the betrayal of Ghana possible, despite Nkrumah?s personality, courage and positive action?

True, imperialism is cruel and unscrupulous, but we must not lay all the blame on its broad back.

For, as the African people say: ?Rice only cooks inside the pot.?

Just how far would the success of the betrayal of Ghana have been linked or not to the questions of class struggle, contradictions in the social structure, the role of the Party and other institutions, including the armed forces, in the framework of a newly independent state. Just how far, we wonder, would the success of the betrayal of Ghana have been linked or not linked to the question of a correct definition of that historical entity, that craftsman of history, the people, and to their daily action in defense of their own conquests in independence? Or then, just how far might not the success of the betrayal be linked to the key question of choice of men in the revolution?

Pondering on these questions might perhaps enable us to understand better the greatness of Nkrumah?s achievement, likewise the complexity of the problems that he had to face, so often alone. Such problems will surely bring us to the conclusion that, so long as imperialism is in existence, an independent African state must be a liberation movement in power, or it will not be independent.

President Nkrumah understood this truth very well and never tired of pointing it out to us during the long, friendly conversations that we had whether in Accra or here in Conakry. It is enough to read his works again to see that they are studded with preoccupations over these questions.

There are truths that we must utter to each other at this moment, but we must above all tell those who would like to shed crocodile tears over the mortal remains of Kwame Nkrumah.

The African peoples and particularly the freedom fighters cannot be fooled. Let no one come and tell us that Nkrumah died from cancer of the throat or any other sickness, No, Nkrumah was killed by the cancer of betrayal, which we must tear out by the roots in Africa, if we really want to liquidate imperialist domination definitively on this continent.

But we, Africans, strongly believe that the dead remain living at our side. We are societies of the living and the dead. Nkrumah will rise again each dawn in the heart and determination of freedom fighters, in the action of all true African patriots. Nkrumah?s immortal spirit presides and will preside at the judgment of history on this decisive phase in our peoples? lives, in lifelong struggle against imperialist domination and for the genuine progress of our continent.

We, the liberation movements, will not forgive those who betrayed Nkrumah. The Ghanaian people will not forgive. Progressive mankind will not forgive. Let those who are due for rehabilitation make haste to rehabilitate themselves. It is not yet too late.

As an African proverb says: ?Those who spit at the sky will soil their face.? Those who have tried to soil the brilliant personality of Kwame Nkrumah should now understand very well that the African people are right. Another African proverb says: ?A hand, however big, can never cover the sky.? There it is: Those who have tried to disparage the magnificent achievement of Kwame Nkrumah must today admit that this African proverb is right as well.

Before closing?although we know that we should not do this?allow me, on behalf of all the African freedom fighters, to offer fraternal and militant thanks to the people of the Republic of Guinea, to the Democratic Party of Guinea, and to their beloved leader, President Ahmed Sekou Tour?, for this further evidence of unlimited courage they have shown us. First, in welcoming Kwame Nkrumah, and giving him his due position as Co-president of this Republic. Then, in insisting and by fighting for the national funeral to be held here in Guinea, African soil and symbol of African liberation and dignity.

If at this moment of grief in our life, a new understanding could be born between Guinea and Ghana, we should all be deeply content and it would be another significant achievement of Kwame Nkrumah.

For us, as Africans, the best homage we can pay to Kwame Nkrumah and his immortal memory, is reinforced vigilance in all fields of the struggle, more strongly developed and intensified struggle, the total liberation of Africa, success in development and economic, social and cultural progress for our peoples, and in the building of African unity. That was the fundamental aim of Kwame Nkrumah?s action and thought. This is the oath we should all take before history in respect of the African continent.

For us, freedom fighters, the finest flowers with which we can garland Kwame Nkrumah?s memory, are the bullets, the shells, the missiles of every kind that we fire against the colonialist and racist forces in Africa.

We are certain, absolutely certain that framed by the eternal green of the African forests, flowers of crimson like the blood of martyrs and of gold like the harvests of plenty will bloom over the grave of Kwame Nkrumah; for Africa will triumph.?

Amilcar Cabral. ?Amilcar Cabral Speech at the Funeral of Kwame Nkrumah.? 1972 (Conakry, Guinea).


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