Located in downtown Accra, Ghana is the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park and Mausoleum. The Mausoleum is the final resting place of Ghana’s first President and Africanist. The museum hosts rare artefacts relating to Ghana’s independence and tours at the park give visitors in-depth history of the Sub-saharan struggle for independence.
This museum, named after Ghana’s first president and independence pioneer Kwame Nkrumah, is the ideal place to get an overview of the life of the great man whose burial site is also on the grounds. All of this in an attractive five-acre (two-hectare) park that was once a British polo ground. Guided tours are also available.The mausoleum designed by Don Arthur houses the mortal remains 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.
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 entrance to the site is from the 28th February High Street just along the coast from Independence Square. It is located directly opposite the old Paliarment House now known as the Commission for Human Rights and Administrative Justice(CHRAJ).
It has a total surface area of approximately 5.3 acres. The mausoleum provides a front for the statue of Nkrumah whereas the museum is subterranean and does not compete with the mausoleum for attention. Rhythm, contrast and harmony were the main principles of design used in this building.
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”.
Inside the Nkrumah Mausoleum
The Museum houses the personal effects and publications of Ghana’s first president and pictures showing his life history. Some of these pictures of Dr. Nkrumah with some of the most famous people of his time is an eye opener. Wander through the photos, and you will be stunned at how many of the 20th century’s most iconic people pictured shaking hands with the founder of modern Ghana.
He is pictured with famous people like Jawarharlal Nehru, Mao Zedong, Fidel Castro, Nikita Khrushchev, John F Kennedy of U.S.A, Sir Alec Hume, Queen Elizabeth II of England, Harold Macmillan, Pope Pius XII, President Nasser of Egypt, and countless leaders of countries like Malaya, Sri Lanka, Niger not forgetting Nigeria and many other more.
The body is buried under a catafalque raised in the centre of the park. Symbols which reflect Ghana’s culture and history were used to portray Dr. Nkrumah’s vision to promote the African personality. The full statue of Dr Nkrumah, wearing a cloth, in bronze is sited at the exact location where he proclaimed Ghana’s independence.
As you approach the main way leading to the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum, you’ll see springs on either sides of the walk way. Each spring has seven bare-chested, squatting statuettes of flute blowers, who seem to welcome the arrival of world leaders and other important personalities.
The design of the Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum, which represents swords turned upside down symbolizes peace. It can also be viewed as an uprooted tree to signify the unfinished work of Dr. Nkrumah to totally unite Africa. This is a place you wouldn’t want to miss during your stay in Accra, since the transition of Gold Coast to Ghana happened on this same location. Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum, is what some scholars call the “genesis” of the actual History Of Ghana
Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park and Mausoleum, High Street, Accra, Ghana