In 2019 the Parliament of Ghana approved August 4 as a statutory public holiday to mark Founders’ Day in the country.
It replaced Founder’s Day which was celebrated on September 21 every year to mark the birthday of Ghana’s first President, Kwame Nkrumah.
This will be the second time that Founders’ Day is being marked, and as a country, we keep ignoring the role that women played in the struggle for independence.
All the history books which detail Ghana’s fight for independence tend to focus generally on the contributions of Dr Kwame Nkrumah and the big six, leaving out all the women who contributed to the struggle.
It is important to note that these women supported Dr Nkrumah and the other founding fathers through various means, in their bid to liberate Ghana from colonial rule.
In commemorating the Founders’ Day today, we would like to put the spotlight on six women who were very influential in Ghana’s fight for independence.
Sophia Oboshie Doku
Sophia Oboshie Doku was a Ghanaian female politician and one of the first female parliamentarians in the First Parliament of the First Republic of Ghana under Ghana’s first President Dr Kwame Nkrumah. She was known to be a devoted activist who played a great role in her country’s independence struggle.
Rebecca Naa Dedei Aryeetey
Rebecca Naa Dedei Aryeetey also known as Dedei Ashikishan was a Ghanaian businesswoman, political activist and a feminist. She was popularly known for her flour business in Accra.
She was known to be the chief financier of the then CPP party and led CPP women activities at her house in Kokomlemle. As a political activist of the CPP, she campaigned and funded Nkrumah and the CPP party. She financed Nkrumah to win the Ashiedu Keteke legislative council seat which made him to be the first Prime Minister of Ghana.
She is also the woman on Ghana’s 50 Pesewas coin.
Hannah Kudjoe was a prominent activist for Ghanaian independence in the 1940s and 1950s. She was one of the first high-profile female nationalists in the movement, and was the National Propaganda Secretary for the Convention People’s Party.
In March 1948, when the Big Six of the party were arrested, she raised money and led a campaign for their release. She was very involved in the Committee on Youth Organization within the UGCC and followed them when they split from the UGCC to form the CPP, and was the only woman present when the decision to split was made.
Kudjoe was heavily involved with Positive Action, a campaign of mass civil disobedience that eventually led to the end of colonial rule, and she inspired massive support for the CPP through this campaign. She was an extremely effective organiser, mobilising many people, including women, to join the CPP.
Agnes Oforiwa Tagoe-Quarcoopome
Agnes Oforiwa Tagoe-Quarcoopome was one of the women who supported Dr Kwame Nkrumah in the fight for Ghanaian independence. She was also a market queen and a businesswoman at Makola and Okaishie.
She became close friends with Kwame Nkrumah when he had to stay with her for a short time after his arrival from the UK to Ghana to join the United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC) as General Secretary.
As a staunch member of the of Convention People’s Party (CPP), she supported Kwame Nkrumah by mobilizing the Makola Women Association and generated massive fund for Nkrumah’s independence campaign. She organised several meetings at the market places for Kwame Nkrumah to speak with the market women.
Mabel Dove Danquah
Mabel Dove Danquah was a journalist, political activist and creative writer, one of the earliest women in West Africa to work in these fields. She was married to one of the Big Six, J. B. Danquah.
Her involvement with politics started after Kwame Nkrumah founded his Convention People’s Party (CPP), in 1949, and she became a member of staff of the nationalist Accra Evening News, joining the campaign for the end of British rule and immediate self-government for the Gold Coast.
In the general election of 1954, she was committed to organising women for the CPP, and she was subsequently put up as a CPP candidate for Ga Rural constituency, which she won. Her election made her the first female member of the Legislative Assembly of the Gold Coast.
Ama Nkrumah was one of the female political activists who was with Ghana’s first president Dr Kwame Nkrumah through the independence struggle and later served in various political capacities. She was a fearless leader who showed great courage and gave everyone a reason to still fight on.
This is what Kwame Nkrumah wrote about her in March 1957 issue of The Crisis – a journal of civil rights, history, politics, and culture founded by W.E.B. Du Bois.
“While I was in jail and the party organisation was at its most critical period, I learned that at a rally in Kumasi, a woman party member adopted the name of Ama Nkrumah (Ama being the female equivalent of “Kwame”) got up on the platform and ended the fiery speech by getting hold of a blade and slashing her face. Then smearing the blood over her body, then she challenged the men to do likewise in order to shoe that no sacrifice was too great in their struggle for freedom and independence.”
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