The ‘Big Six’ of Ghana are some of the biggest heroes in the history of our land, and indeed we literally owe our existence as an Independent nation to their exploits in fighting off colonial rule.
The six – Kwame Nkrumah, Obestsebi-Lamptey, Dr Ako-Adjei, Edward Akuffo Addo, J.B Danquah and William Ofori Atta – coalesced the resistance to colonial rule with the formation of political parties, and then continued to soldier on the fight despite paying for it with jail time amid strong pushback from the British.
The six gentlemen were handed the label after rioting and looting broke out in the aftermath of the brutal shooting of three ex-servicemen in Accra, and the colonial government arrested them for fomenting trouble. They were later released following strong pressure from the populace.
Aside their political acumen, the ‘Big Six’ all had fascinating back stories that built up to their eventual stardom in the Independence movement.
Here are some intriguing facts about the big six…
1. Kwame Nkrumah
- Kwame Nkrumah worked as a dishwasher during his first year studying in the United States as a way of making ends meet.
- He also once stowed away on a boat to Nigeria to meet an uncle to raise funds for his education.
- He earned a degree in theology from Lincoln University, Pennsylvania
Dr Kwame Nkrumah is evidently the forerunner of the Independence movement, his particular firebrand style of politics eventually winning out over the more moderate approach of his colleagues.
Dr Nkrumah returned to Ghana from the United Kingdom in 1947, on the invitation of Ako Adjei to join Ghana’s first political party, the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC). He had spent the decade or so prior studying for his numerous post graduate degrees. Nkrumah immediately set the ground running on his arrival, fighting to establish branches of the party nationwide and aggressively pushing the fight for Independence.
This philosophical difference with the rest of the UGCC led to Nkrumah leaving the party to form the Convention People’s Party in 1949. Despite being imprisoned due to riots following strike action organised by his party, Nkrumah and the CPP won a landslide in the first executive elections held in the colony, leading to his eventual ascension to Prime Minister.