All You need to know about the Kwame Nkrumah National Mausoleum.
The Kwame Nkrumah National Musem is a great place to just pause and reflect on one of the greatest leaders in African history.
A national park erected in memory of Osagyefo (the Messiah) Doctor Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s first president and one of its founding fathers. Built on a former British polo field, it was the point where Nkrumah declared independence in 1957. The park consists of five acres of land and holds a museum tracing Nkrumah’s life. There are many personal items on display, but the centerpiece is the mausoleum, Nkrumah and his wife’s final resting place. Tours in English can be taken. Kwame Nkrumah is an essential part of Ghana’s history and a good half-hour here will fill you in on most of the details. Events are held on Independence Anniversary celebrations on 6 March and the Celebration of Emancipation Day on 1 August.
The Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum and memorial park is located in downtown Accra, the capital of Ghana.
The mausoleum designed by Don Aurthur, it is believed to house the body of Dr Kwame Nkrumah and his wife Fathia Nkrumah, it is meant to represent an upside down sword which in the Akan culture is a symbol of peace. The mausoleum is clad from top to bottom with Italian marble, with a black star at its apex to symbolize unity. The interior of the Mausoleum boasts marble flooring and a mini mastaba looking marble grave marker surrounded by river washed rocks.
A skylight at the top in the Mausoleum illuminates the grave, and at the right time, seems to reflect off the marble further emphasizing that beauty many have come to fall in love with.
The Mausoleum is surrounded by water which is a symbol of life. Its presence conveys a sense of immortality for the name Nkrumah. It shows that even in death he lives on in the hearts and minds of generations here and generations yet to come.
Our visit to the historical Mausoleum
This past week we spent 12 days in Ghana in preparation for the Ghana edition of Hadithi Magazine and we had to make sure we experience as much as we could, laying to rest conspiracy theories and basically becoming locals in the short 12 days we spent in Ghana.
While touring the Mausoleum in the center of Accra we had a tour guide who explained most of Nkrumah’s history from the time he was born, when he declared independence until the time he died. Walking with a number of other tourist seeking the truth of Nkrumah’s burial we were told that his body does not currently rest at the mausoleum but had been taken by his mother to his home town, which would explain why the museum is not well taken care of as compared to the time when it was just opened. The water features which represent life are not as lively as we had expected them to be.
There is no doubt that this Mausoleum once had great value in the city of Accra and we think it still does as the hisorical value that comes with it can never be taken away.
The “Broken” Statue
The original statue of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah which stood in front of parliament house, opposite old polo grounds, Accra attacked by a mob, vandalized as it stands now in the wake of a military with police coup d’etat 24th February 1966 recovered for the national museum in 1975. This is on loan to KNMP from Ghana museums and monuments board mounted on 11th June 2007.
The bronze head of Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s original statue was recovered by a patriotic citizen to the information services department which in turn released it to the park on May 28, 2009. The statue was left “broken” because of the history it represents with what happened to it. When first entering the memorial park you would be disappointed at the fact that such a beautiful park has been left to deteriorate, and as much as that would be the case with the statue, we understand the historical value it holds.
Ghana’s first President, Osagyefo Dr Kwame Nkrumah and his colleagues stood at the Old Polo Grounds in Accra on the eve of Ghana’s political independence, to declare the country’s freedom from British colonial rule. Together with Comrades Kojo Botsio, Komla Agbeli Gbedemah, Archie Casely Hayford and Krobo Edusei, all clad in their northern smocks and hats, emotional and before a huge crowd which had travelled from the entire country to witness the memorable occasion, Nkrumah said “Ghana is free forever”.
Indeed, when the representatives of Queen Elizabeth and Lord Listowel, the then Governor General, Kwame Nkrumah and others gathered in the Old Parliament House to formally mark the country’s independence, the Old Polo Grounds accommodated a huge crowd of people who had gathered in Accra to participate in the historic activity.
Today, the place is known as Kwame Nkrumah’s Mausoleum and has become a tourist destination for Ghanaians and those in the diaspora. The idea of erecting a monument in honour of Kwame Nkrumah dates back to 1972, when the African Students Union sent a memorandum asking the Government of Guinea, then under President Sekou Toure, to send the mortal remains of the Ghanaian leader to Ghana only if the military leaders at that time denounced coup d’état and re-erected the statue of Nkrumah which was destroyed during the 1966 coup.
Although the remains were later returned to Nkroful, his birthplace, it was not until 1992, that the image of Nkrumah was restored on the Old Polo Grounds during which the erstwhile Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC), decided to build the Kwame NKrumah Mausoleum.The mausoleum is located to the west of the Ghana Arts Centre and the offices of the Accra Metropolitan Assembly. It is also directly opposite the Old Parliament House, which now houses the Commission of Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ)