Accra, 1966

In 1957 under the leadership of Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana was the first sub-Saharan African country to gain independence from colonial power, as the wave of liberation movements successfully swept across the continent.

Later, in 1965 the white ruling class of Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) declared their freedom from Britain. Ghana criticized the UK for allowing the seizure of power by a white minority, with President Nkrumah calling for military intervention by Ghanaian forces. As Nkrumah pushed for offensive operations, he forced into retirement the army’s most senior officers. Historians argue that this led to the military-police coup that overthrew him on 24 February 1966. Nkrumah’s statue outside Parliament House was battered to the ground during the coup. Today, the damaged statue has risen again and stands in the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Park in Accra.

Sam Durant, Accra, 1966, (2018), Graphite on paper (2018), Graphite on paper, 122.2 x 160 cm. © Sam Durant, Courtesy of the artist and Blum & Poe, Los Angeles/New York/Tokyo. Photo: Makenzie Goodman