On the wake of father’s day celebrations, it struck me whose child I was. My name? Hold on. I am a daughter of a great man. You may want to define greatness in your own terms, that is not my problem. I only hope that your definition falls within the criteria in which my dad represents. His name was Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah. And yes, I bear the Nkrumah name too. In a flash, I will tell you how growing up as an Nkrumah felt like. Let me first of all tell you a bit about my father before I set the ball rolling.
He was a brave man, an intellectual by all standards, talented and sacrificial. His love for the family and our mother was inexplicable. He lived on the notion of love and believed in a strong support system called family. I did not spend so much time with my dad but the least time we spent together were not boring at all. He was such a disciplinarian who will teach you that an applaud is better than a whip. It was exciting to learn from such a learned father. He taught us to love our skin and to be proud of our rich culture as Africans. He inspired every good idea in his children and encouraged learning outside the box. He carried the very sense of charisma which he infused into his leadership style as a father. You could never disobey his orders even though he never forced anyone to obey. He motivated us to be more for ourselves and for our country.
If Nkrumah were my father, all the white men at the time of the colonies would have been my frenemies. They would have been friends at the same time enemies. They would have visited my home a couple of times to negotiate deals with my father. They would have brought me candies and touched my cheeks to ask, “How are you little girl?”. I would have given them the don’t-patronize-me look and then walked away. Fathia Nkrumah would have been my mom. I would have listened to her talk about how sweet a husband my father was to her. Nkrumah, my dad, would have sent me on many travels and I would have gotten to know about diverse cultures and people. The many journeys would have been my learning grounds. I would have made many friends too. Growing up as a little Nkrumah would have been very interesting. I would have gotten to read great books written by him such as Africa must unite, I Speak of Freedom, Neo-colonialism: The Last Stage of Imperialism, Class struggle in Africa.
My teacher and politician dad would have taught me my assignments, told me stories about leadership, and shared with me his adventures while studying and living abroad before returning to lead affairs in Ghana. I would have been the daughter of a great leader. Leadership genes would have been injected in me so much that I would have had no option than to lead the pack. I would be visionary and full of determination just like my father. I would have been courageous, not afraid to effect change around me. His inventive and innovative ideas would have been born in me. I know he would have been a traditional father: strict, unfriendly at times, demanding of respect rather than showing love, stiff, and everything in between. I would have woken up each day to meet his absence since work and nation building was always his sole priority.
My father would have always been away from home, from school functions, and from family gatherings. Yet outsiders would have had a feel of him more often than I would have had. Besides, he stood for God and country so I would have no cause to complain. Dad would be my admirer and confidant, I could have never lacked a day in my life because he would provide adequately for me. As the ‘first daughter’ of Ghana, folksmen would have treated me with love and respect. I would be fed even when I was not hungry, clothed when orphans needed it more than I did, and sheltered in the most luxurious bedroom fit for a princess. I would have attended schools that the rich kids attended. Under no circumstance would my father allow me to attend the normal public school that the ordinary Ghanaian child attended.
Every father’s day, I would be preparing long speeches just to say all the good things I knew about my father while ignoring the bad ones. I would have painted portraits of my legend dad in every corner of my room so that anyone who came to visit will know about my affiliation to him. I cannot tell for now what I will genuinely feel for my dad; a mixture of love and dislike I guess. Love, because he raised my family name so high that it makes me walk around town shoulder-high. Dislike, because he was mostly not there when I needed him most and never brought me closer to my countrymen for reasons that he was betrayed by them. All the same, I would still bear the name Nkrumah. That would have been a legacy that I’d cherish all my life.
I take this time to pay homage to the first father of Ghana. I wish him and all fathers a Happy Father’s Day. And to all fathers, may this season help you transform into great friends to your families. Anyway, I am not an Nkrumah. My biological father is nowhere near all his accolades and achievements. However, he too is a great personality and a traditional father just like Nkrumah would have been. We need more modern men in our society, one I define as available, understanding, supportive, protective, friendly and engaging. Modern men who will learn to cook for their families and bathe their children; who will mostly be there for the family. Modern men who will not only open doors for their wives and children but also, open up opportunities for them in many areas of life. Till I marry such a man, I still remain the imaginary Anima Nkrumah.