Primary Source

Lord Kitchener, “Birth of Ghana,” 1957

Annotation

On March 6, 1957, the Gold Coast Colony declared its independence from Britain and became Ghana, the first West African nation to break from European colonial rule. The calypso musician Lord Kitchener (birth name Aldwyn Roberts) recorded his song titled “Birth of Ghana” to celebrate independence. “Kitch,” as he was fondly known, was from the British West Indian colony of Trinidad, but had been living and working in London since 1948. His song quickly became immensely popular in Ghana and throughout West Africa, where calypso music enjoyed a robust market. In formal independence ceremonies and informal street parties across Ghana’s capital city of Accra, people danced and sang to Kitch’s catchy tune praising Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. The lyrics contained a nod to the transnational and Pan-Africanist importance of Nkrumah and Ghana’s independence: Haile Selassie, Emperor of Ethiopia, was similarly revered as a symbol of African resistance to European colonialism. “Birth of Ghana” became synonymous with the moment of independence and records of it are still prized as souvenirs in Ghana today.

You can listen to the song here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c-imEGXqHis

This source is part of the teaching module on music and decolonization in the Black Atlantic.  

Text

This day will never be forgotten
The sixth of March 1957
When the Gold Coast successfully
Got their independence officially

Chorus: Ghana, Ghana is the name 
Ghana we wish to proclaim
We will be jolly, merry and gay 
The sixth of March, Independence Day

Dr. Nkrumah went out his way
To make the Gold Coast what it is today
He endeavored continually
To bring us freedom and liberty

Chorus

The doctor began as agitator
Then he became popular leader
He continued to go further
And now he is Ghana's prime minister

Chorus

The national flag is a lovely scene
With beautiful colors red, gold and green
And a black star in the center
Representing the freedom of Africa

Chorus

Congratulations from Haile Selassie
Was proudly received by everybody
He particularly comment
On the Doctor's move to self-government

Chorus

How to Cite This Source

"Lord Kitchener, “Birth of Ghana,” 1957 ," in World History Commons, https://worldhistorycommons.org/lord-kitchener-birth-ghana-1957 [accessed November 30, 2022]