On Nationalism and Decolonization: Excerpts From 3 Independence Speeches

A Soviet postage stamp honoring Ghanas President Kwame Nkrumah
A Soviet postage stamp honoring Ghana's President Kwame Nkrumah

”This was our fate for eighty years of a colonial regime; our wounds are too fresh and too painful still for us to drive them from our memory. We have known harassing work, exacted in exchange for salaries which did not permit us to eat enough to drive away hunger, or to clothe ourselves, or to house ourselves decently, or to raise our children as creatures dear to us.”

Patrice Lumumba’s June 30, 1960 Independence Day Speech (The Congo)

“In our view, the foundation of national liberation lies in the inalienable right of every people to have their own history, whatever the formulations adopted in international law. The aim of national liberation is therefore to regain this right, usurped by imperialist domination: namely, the liberation of the process of development of the national productive forces. So national liberation exists when, and only when, the national productive forces have been completely freed from all kinds of foreign domination. The liberation of productive forces, and consequently of the ability freely to determine the mode of production most appropriate to the evolution of the liberated people, necessarily opens up new prospects for the cultural process of the society in question by returning to it all its capacity to create progress.”

Amilcar Cabral (Cape Verde and Guinea Bissau), on rights, nationhood and liberation.  (Cabral’s nom de guerre was Abel Djassi).  His brother Luis went on to become the first President of Guine Bissau.

“We have done the battle and we again rededicate ourselves not only in the struggle to emancipate all the countries in Africa; our independence is meaningless unless it is linked up totally with that of the African continent.”

Kwameh Nkrumah’s Independence Speech (March 6, 1957) “Africa Needs No Babysitting”  (Nkrumah was Ghana’s first Prime Minister, and later President)


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