Lesson video

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Hi, hello.

Welcome back.

My name is Ms. Apps, and if you haven't already gathered from the historical documents behind me, today, I am going to be teaching you some more history, but we aren't going back too far into the distant past.

We aren't looking at the Tudors.

Instead, we are looking at the processes of decolonization in the 20th century.

Last time I saw you, we were looking at the independence process in Ireland, and I was trying not to waffle on too much, because I love modern Irish history.

In today's lesson, I'm increasingly going to be trying not to waffle too much as we move to look at the decolonization process in Ghana in West Africa.

So without further ado, let's get ready to get started.

Grab a pen, grab some paper, and I will meet you at our title.

I really hope you can't hear my neighbours singing or doing the washing up right now.

I'm just going to speak really loudly in the hope that you don't hear them.

So well done, you've grabbed your pen, you've grabbed your paper, and we're now going to get started.

So over these coming lessons, we have been investigating, or we will be investigating I should say, as we're only in lesson two, who decolonized in the 20th century.

But in today's lesson, we are moving on from looking at the independence process in Ireland to now looking at an example in Africa of Ghana.

So could you get your title written down for me now, "Who decolonized in Ghana?" Put a pause on the video if you need to and get that down now.

Okay, well done, you've written down your title.

Your brain's in gear.

Let's get started.

We are going to get into today with the same tradition that I begin all of my lessons with, which is by looking at an interesting image.

So all I would like you to do for the first minute of our lesson today is write down what you can see in my photograph.

Put a pause on the video now and have a go.

An intriguing photograph.

So what can you see? Well, I'm going to start off a little bit left of centre.

So first of all, I might have noticed the palms in the background, the trees in the background, and realised that this is either a tropical or a warm climate.

I might also have looked at the architecture and the soil, the ground, and thought, you know this is probably in a hot country.

Perhaps this is in Ghana, perhaps this is in Africa.

I might then have looked at the statue, and I might have noticed it's weirdly neat, isn't it? But we're missing a head on this statue, and we're also missing an arm.

But yet the one arm that is there has its hand raised.

If you've learned anything about civil rights movement, this might have been reminiscent to you of the Black Power Movement starts.

So we might have noticed the statue was headless, we might have noticed it was armless, but we also might have noticed the raised fist.

Most interestingly I think is when you look at this statute, you notice that the head's missing, but it's then been put on it's own separate plinth next to the original statue.

So it seems that this head was taken off at some point in history, and then it was brought back.

It's kind of reminiscent at the moment of the Colston statue, which has been taken down in Bristol, covered in graffiti, and is now actually being conserved by historians so that the graffiti stays as part of the story of that statue.

Is that what we are seeing here? Have people decided to return the head next to the statue to commemorate its attack or its destruction? So why was the head returned to this statute after its attack? As my nonna would say, "We will find out in the fullness of time." I always do this.

I'm now going to give you some information about this figure.

So this statue was actually of a key figure in Ghanaian history and a key figure in the Ghanaian independence movement, Kwame Nkrumah.

Kwame Nkrumah was a politician, but before then, he had been an activist for independence.

Just as in Ireland, he was a very, very educated man.

We might almost call him sort of a member of the middle class, who had gone to university in Britain and also America.

And as a consequence of that, he had come across some really radical ideas to push for independence back home in what was then known as the Gold Coast Colony.

He very swiftly as Ghana sought to achieve independence became the Prime Minister, became the key leader of the country, and then he officially became the leader of independent Ghana from 1957.

And so let's put a pause on the video here, as we always do, and write down what we can now say about this image.

So I would like you to finish my sentences.

"In this picture, I can see." Tell me about the statue, how it looks, what's happened to it.

And then tell me what this picture suggests about the career or the life of Kwame Nkrumah.

Put a pause on the video now and have a go.

Okay, I'm going to go through what I might have written now, however remember, as always, if you haven't quite written what I have, that's absolutely fine.

So I would have said this.

"In this picture, I can see a statue of Kwame Nkrumah without a head or arms. This picture suggests the statue was attacked." You might have gone further and said, "This picture suggests the statue was attacked and Nkrumah became unpopular, or that he was overthrown." Any of these ideas would have been absolutely brilliant.

We will come back to this statue at the end of the lesson to bear it in mind, but for now, let's do a little bit of a recap of what we've been studying.

So we are looking at the process of decolonization.

Throughout the British Empire, from sort of the end of World War I onwards, although many historians talk about the main period of decolonization happening after World War II, so through the 1950s and the 1960s, and that is certainly the case in Ghana.

If we remember, decolonization is the process by which you release an area from the status of being a colony.

It means to become self-governing or independence.

But as we remember, decolonization, the process of undoing colonisation, is really, really complex.

It happens in different ways in different places.

So for example, in Ireland, which we see as being an example slightly before the main era of decolonization, there was an awful lot of violence involved with Ireland achieving a sort of independence, and even when it did achieve independence, it wasn't necessarily in the view of the people of the south, full independence as the Ireland was partitioned.

And so the process of independence and the process of granting decolonization is both a really complex process, but it's also a very, very controversial term.

Because in many places, decolonization isn't given by the British, it's taken by the people on the ground either through violence or protest or actually through the law, which is what we'll see in Jamaica.

So we've looked at Ireland.

Today, we'll look at Ghana.

And next lesson that we will look at Jamaica.

So there were many reasons for decolonization, and we've looked at these over our previous lesson.

One of them was economic weaknesses.

So after World War I and World War II, Britain owed an awful lot of money in loans, particularly to America.

And so because of the sheer amount of money that was owed, throughout the 1950s and the 1960s, Conservative and Labour politicians, Conservative and Labour Prime Ministers, looked at the Empire, and they did sort of a balance sheet.

So they looked at the costs of keeping Empire, and they looked at the costs of getting rid of Empire.

And they actually found by the 1950s and the 1960s, maintaining Empire was a gamble, because once it brought money into Britain, actually, if you held it for too long, it could actually start to cost the British economy more than it brought in.

The British governments were also dealing with nationalist movements.

So nationalist movements, pushing for independence in different areas of the Empire.

These were often led by really educated local figures, many of which had actually come to Britain and Europe for their own education.

And so nationalist movements were key to independence in Ireland, in Kenya, in Ghana, in Jamaica, and also in India, which is where independence happened in the 1940s.

Finally, there was a sense of by the end of World War II certainly, there was an idea of colonialism, so taking over different areas of the world, and the Empire being really, really old fashioned and actually being quite embarrassing, particularly considering that by the end of World War II, the two main superpowers in the world were the U.


A and Russia, both of whom were very anti-imperialist.

Now that didn't mean they didn't take over areas of the world themselves, but if we think of America for example, very, very famously America is a republic, it was created in 1776 with the war of independence against the British Empire.

So after World War II, you have two superpowers who are anti-imperialist.

And so Britain is concerned about one, suppressing nationalist movements and how it will look, and how it will look if it continues on with its Empire into sort of the modern period of history.

And so, I am overloading your mind.

We're just going to do a very quick recap of Ireland, and then we're going to have a go at some multiple choice questions.

So if we think about Ireland and the reasons for independence there, because we will be comparing and contrasting Ireland's independence movement, Ghana's independence movement, and Jamaica's independence movement.

In Ireland, we had a nationalist movement.

So we have nationalists, who were extremely frustrated that home rule had been put off for a long time.

They were really frustrated that Britain had promised a form of self-governance with home rule in 1912.

However, that had been put off by World War I.

So we see this nationalist movement of very educated people, trade unionists, aristocrats if we remember Constance Markievicz, who we can see in her beautiful gown here, and teachers as well.

There were even British civil servants, so British men who were involved in British government in Ireland who were actually involved in the Easter Rising.

A famous example of this was a man called Sir Roger Casement, who ended up being shot by the British after 1916.

And so in Ireland, we see this educated, elite leading a nationalist movement who were willing to use violence to get rid of British rule.

And in the aftermath of the Easter Rising, after the war of independence, after the civil war, it's men who are veterans of the rising, such as Eamon De Valera who become the leaders of independent Ireland.

So first of all, the Irish Free State but then the Republic of Ireland.

Let's put a pause on this here and check what we remember.

So multiple choice questions.

First of all, I would like you to finish my sentence.

So decolonization is? Is it option one, the process of building an empire? Is it option two, the process of granting colonies independence from empire? Is it option three, the process of assessing whether you should have an empire? Or is option four, the process of taking new colonies to add to your empire? Write number one in your margin, and then write down which option you believe the answer is.

Okay, it was option two, the process of granting colonies independence from empire.

Question number two, so number two in your margin now please, decolonization was? Option one, complex, changing from colony to colony? Option two, easy, happened with ease in the different colonies? Option three, uniform, the same process happened in each colony? Or option four, non-violent, there was no violence involved in the process anywhere? Write down your option now.

Okay, it was option one, complex, changing from colony to colony.

Number three, Irish decolonization was sparked by? Is it option one, peaceful protests? Option two, the writing of petitions? Option three, Ireland costing too much to govern? Or option four, violent resistance to British rule? Write down your answer now.

It was option four, violent resistance to British rule.

Okay, now moving on to Ghana.

So if we talked about Ghana in the early 20th century, people would not necessarily know what you were talking about, because the area that is the modern country of Ghana was officially known as the Gold Coast Colony.

And it was officially a colony of Britain from 1821.

However, British, European, Portuguese in particular interests in the region went all the way back to the 15th century.

And the British in particular had been involved in voyages to West Africa from 1562 onwards with the journeys of John Hawkins to Guinea, and the region had been an interest to the English for nearly 500 years, one because of the sheer amount of gold reserves in the area, hence why it's called the Gold Coast, but two because of the transatlantic slave trade.

Unfortunately, West Africa was the area in which lots of enslaved people were held before their voyage to America.

And so the British traders in the slave trade would have known this region well.

From the end of the slave trade onwards, so from the early 19th century onwards, the British are interested in Africa.

And so they take the Gold Coast Colony for themselves in 1821.

And the Gold Coast Colony is a really integrated, really vital part of the British Empire.

And it sent soldiers as part of the Gold Coast Regiment to fight in World War I and World War II.

In particular, soldiers from the Gold Coast showed extreme levels of bravery during World War II fighting not in Europe against Hitler's forces but fighting in Asia against the Japanese, particularly in Burma.

And the fighting there in what's called the Pacific theatre of conflict is absolutely horrific.

It's brutal, horrible, mind-bendingly cruel stuff that these soldiers go through.

And so at the end of World War II, there is a substantial amount of men in the Gold Coast Colony who are veterans of World War II who feel that they have done their bit for the British Empire.

However, despite their efforts in World War II, the Gold Coast is not marked as an area of the British Empire to be given independence.

In fact, throughout the '40s and '50s, waves of British, English, Scottish, Irish men go throughout the Empire as part of what is known as the second wave of colonialism.

And as part of this second wave of colonialism, the British decide to send experts to Africa to help these African colonies be run.

And my own step grandad was actually a part of this process.

My step grandad was in the army towards the end of World War II.

He fought in Italy.

He was near what was Yugoslavia but what is now Croatia, and he fought in the regiments.

So he was a man who was skilled as a mechanic.

He came from a really working-class background, and he was from a really poor village in Wales.

But he learned lots of skills through the army.

And he actually went to Ghana and what is modern day Nigeria in the 1950s.

And once he was there, he worked on big, irrigation projects, so he worked on big projects to create dams, to bring water to farmlands.

And even after independence actually, he decided to stay in West Africa.

He absolutely loved it.

But he was part of this second wave of colonialism.

And so instead of the British deciding to give these regions more independence, what they did instead was they actually sent more British people than had ever been there before to help run these colonies.

And that really stepped on the foot of an increasingly educated, middle-class who were living in these regions, who were African, who were what we would now call Ghanaian, who wanted independence for themselves.

And so the second wave of colonialism didn't work.

Instead, what it actually did was increase tensions and increase a sense of a need for nationalism and independence as well.

And alongside this issue of a second wave of colonialism was also particularly amongst those elites, those educated people that I've talked about, such as Kwame Nkrumah who was part of this group, was an increased sense of knowledge of this theory of Marxism.

So Marxism and Marxists challenge private ownership of businesses and property.

And they seek to give workers better rights.

And when we're talking about this in a colonial, in a colonial context, Marxists believed that the wealth of, for example, the Gold Coast Colony should not be going to British businesses, should not be going to British land owners, but instead should be being used for the people of the Gold Coast themselves.

And so Kwame Nkrumah, who is going to become a key figure in independence is a Marxist.

He believes that, you know, the wealth of Ghana, the wealth of what was the Gold Coast Colony should be for what will be the future Ghanaian people.

And so, as part of this, so the second wave of colonialism comes, it rubs people up the wrong way.

We have an increasingly educated middle-class in the cities, particular in Accra in Ghana, who believe in independence.

And this sparks a wave of nationalism.

So these educated population, these Ghanaian teachers and lawyers and writers, have come across Western education and ideas, particularly because they've gone to university either in America or Britain.

They've seen what's happened in Ireland and India in terms of these two areas being given independence.

Lots of them are inspired by Marxism.

And so they begin to push for nationalism.

And Kwame Nkrumah, who is one of these key men, sets up a political party called the Convention People's Party.

And this political party becomes massively popular in Ghana, and it will eventually become the main political party in Ghana post-independence.

the tensions raised from the second wave of colonialism, nationalism is also furthered by events in 1948.

So post-World War II, we have a lot of veterans returning from fighting particularly in Burma.

And these men had been part of the Gold Coast Regiment.

And when these World War II veterans of the Gold Coast Regiment come back to Accra or come back to the Gold Coast Colony, they find that unemployment is really high.

They don't have a pension, they don't have jobs.

If they do find a job, it's extremely low-paid.

And so they decide to come together and form a peaceful march, and that peaceful march will march on Osu Castle, which was the base of the British governor of the Gold Coast Colony in Accra in Ghana.

And so these men go on a march in 1948.

And as they walk through Accra, and as they approach the castle, lots of them were wearing traditional dress, lots of them have instruments to keep their spirits up, lots of them are singing.

It's a peaceful protest.

However, when they arrive at the castle, the British police forces there do not see it as a peaceful protest despite the fact it is.

And a superintendent there, Superintendent Imray, who is in charge of the police force guarding the castle, tells them to stop.

He does not want them to approach the castle.

So he says stop.

The men continue.

They're peaceful, they're former veterans of World War II.

They're soldiers.

Why would they be told to stop? They're just approaching the governor of the colony in which they live.

This should be accepted.

But they get told to stop again.

And they keep on marching.

And despite the fact that these men are unarmed, that they have musical instruments, that they're trying to give a petition to the governor, Imray, the leader of the police forces, tells his men to shoot.

He himself shoots.

He says, because you can read his witness statements, he said that he shot about 10 rounds into the crowd.

And as a consequence of this shooting, 60 veterans of World War II end up wounded, and three men, so you can see their names here, Sergeant Adjetey, Corporal Attipoe, Private Odartey Lamptey, these men, these veterans of World War II are killed, and they're killed by the British police outside of the castle.

This really turns the people of the Gold Coast Colony against British rule.

And there are riots, which ensue across Accra, spreading out into the wider Gold Coast Colony.

And it's at this point that the British realise they are at a stage in the Gold Coast Colony where there may even be a revolution in Africa.

There may even be a revolution of the people of the Gold Coast Colony overthrowing British rule.

And so at this point, they start to consider giving a sense of independence.

Let's put a pause on the video here for a second and just check that we've got what I told you so far, 'cause I'm very aware that I'm waffling on and teaching you a lot.

So put your finger on the screen at the correct answer.

Marxists are supportive of the rights of workers or business owners? Which one is it? Put your finger on the screen.

It was workers.

Two, the CPP, so the Convention People's Party, wanted the Gold Coast to remain British, the Gold Coast to become independent? Put your finger on the screen.

Which one is it? It is the Gold Coast to become independence.

The 1948 riots in Accra were triggered by the killing of World War one veterans during protests or the killing of World War II veterans during protests? Which one is it? It's the killing of World War II veterans during protests.

Okay, I am now going to put a pause on the video, and you are going to go away and read about independence in Ghana and the life and career of Kwame Nkrumah.

So pause the video, read the slides on the next page, and answer the comprehension questions.

Resume the video once you're finished, and I will meet you with the answers.

Good luck.

How did you do? Let's have a go now at going through these comprehension questions.

So comprehension question number one was what was the Gold Coast? Now remember, if you didn't write exactly what I have, that's absolutely fine.

You can edit your answer, you can rewrite, you can give yourself a tick if you've gotten the basic gist.

So an acceptable answer would have been the Gold Coast was a British colony.

But a really good answer would have had a bit more detail.

So the name given to a British colony on the west coast of Africa.

Today it's called Ghana.

It might even have stuck in your mind that it had been a British colony since 1821.

I'm going to get rid of my face now, so that you can see this question.

Okay, so who was Kwame Nkrumah inspired by as a student? You could have said he was inspired by African American activists, but a really good answer would have been he was inspired by African American activists such as Marcus Garvey and W.




Number three is why did the British fear a revolution in the Gold Coast in 1948? An acceptable answer would have been there were boycotts and riots, but a really good answer there would have been in 1948, boycotts against the import of European goods broke out.

This was made worse when peaceful protestors were shot.

This made the British fear a revolution.

Question four, what position did Nkrumah receive in the 1950s? He became Prime Minister.

A little bit more detail, and you could have said from 1952, Nkrumah's party, the CPP, won the majority of votes making him the Prime Minister of the Gold Coast.

And number five, my challenge question, where you kind of have to extrapolate, draw information without me actually telling you it straight in the text, why do some see Kwame Nkrumah as a controversial figure in Ghanaian history? And if you do a Google of his name, you will find a lot of African journalists writing about the controversy surrounding him.

So an acceptable answer might have been after independence, he ruled as a dictator.

But a really good answer would have been Nkrumah is controversial as he both helped to achieve independence, and did some brilliant things, like set up a welfare state in Ghana, but then he ruled as a dictator.

Some getting this far, well done for answering those questions.

I told you we would come back to this photograph, so that is what we are going to do now.

So our final task of today's lesson is the extension activity.

And this seeks to extend your minds by bringing everything that we've covered so far together.

So what I would like you to do is I would like to imagine that you were writing a label for this statue for the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park, which today, you can go visit in Accra, Ghana.

So what I would like you to do is use my questions as a framework to write a mini paragraph.

So what is this statue of, this statue is of, tell me it's of Kwame Nkrumah.

Obviously, don't write down the question, just write down the answer.

Who was Kwame Nkrumah? Kwame Nkrumah was, tell me who he was.

Why is the statue headless? This statue is headless because.

So using my sentences, put a pause on the video now, and have a go at writing a label for this particular statue.

I'll see you again at my model answer.

Okay, so what would I have written for the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial park in Accra, Ghana? Well, I would have said this, however remember, if you haven't quite written what I have, that's absolutely fine as long as it's around about the same level, it's cool.

So this statue is of Kwame Nkrumah.

He has one hand aloft, but, so one hand above his head, that's a fancy way of saying above his head, aloft.

This statue is of Kwame Nkrumah.

He has one hand aloft but is missing his head and his arm.

Kwame Nkrumah was a politician and activist who was important to the Gold Coast becoming independent Ghana in 1957.

The statue is headless, because after achieving independence, Nkrumah led Ghana from 1957-1966.

He was overthrown by the military who opposed him.

His statue was attacked during the overthrow.

You might have also continued to say after this statue was attacked and was taken apart, it was then brought back and put together to highlight the full story of Nkrumah in this-- Well done for getting this far, well done having a go at the extension task.

I'm really, really proud of you.

Thank you for coming with me on this journey too.

I think the story of decolonization, whilst it can be quite complex, is such an important history to understand, one because of the different nations that gained independence, I'm thinking of my Ghanaian friends here.

Independence Day is really important.

When we look at Jamaica next lesson, we'll see how important Jamaican Independence Day is in Jamaican culture as well.

I think it's really important to understand as well, because even in my own family, I have connections to Ireland.

When I was growing up, I had friends who were all from all around what would have been the British Empire, so I grew up in South London where there's a big Caribbean population for example.

And I myself grew up with a grandad who'd gone to Ghana and Nigeria in the second wave of colonialism, but I myself grew up being completely sort of against this idea of Empire or colonialism, and even when I went off to university, I studied colonialism, but ultimately, because I don't agree with it.

So even in my own family, I've seen these changes in attitudes towards the British Empire firsthand.

So it's a really, really important bit of history to understand I think.

I would love to see some of your work, so if you would like to share your work with me, please ask your parent or carer to share your work on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter by tagging @OakNational and #LearnwithOak.