Did you know Ghana’s Flag was once Red, White and Green and had 3 Black Stars?- Research by Counsellor Daniel Fenyi
Ghana is 63years old on Friday, 6th March, 2020. The first time it fell on Friday was 1959 and the last time it fell on Friday was 2015*. The theme for this year’s Independence is “Consolidating Our Gains” and shall be hosted in Kumasi, Baba Yara Sports Stadium. In history, this is the 2nd time the celebration has been moved from Accra after the 1st was held in Tamale (2019)
Independence Day Declaration
Kwame Nkrumah made the Independence Day Declaration around the midnight (12.00am) of 6th March, 1957 at the Old Polo Grounds. Together with him on the platform stood Komla Gbedemah, Kojo Botsio, Archie Casely-Hayford, Krobo Edusei and N.A. Wellbeck. They all wore smock.
On the Day of Independence Declaration, Kwame Nkrumah was a Prime Minister. In fact, at that same time, Sir Charles Arden-Clarke was sworn in as the first Governor-General (president) of Ghana. Nkrumah only became President on 1st July, 1960 (i.e. Republic Day).
On 18th September 1956, it was decided and announced that the official date for Ghana to be declared Independent was set to be 6th March 1957. Note that Ghana didn’t become Independent on 6th March, 1957, it was just the *Declaration* that was done on this day.
The Big Six
“The Big Six” in Ghana’s history are Dr. Ebenezer Ako-Adjei, Dr. Edward Akuffo Ado, Dr. Joseph Boakye Danquah, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Mr. Emmanuel Obetsebi-Lamptey and Mr. William Ofori Attah.
H.E Nana Addo Danquah Akufo-Addo, the current President of Ghana, is related by blood to three members of “The Big Six”: Edward Akufo-Addo (his biological father), William Ofori Atta (his mother’s brother) and J.B Danquah (his grand uncle).
The Name Ghana
The country Gold Coast was officially approved to be renamed as Ghana on 12th November 1956. The name Ghana was suggested by J.B Danquah. Dr. Nkrumah and Dr. JB Danquah conducted a research and found out that majority of Ghanaians, at that time, were Akans and descended from the “Ancient Empire of Ghana (south east of Mauritania and west of Mali)”. And “Ghana” was the title name of the ruling kings of that empire. Hence, the name.
The Ghana Flag was designed by Mrs. Theodosia Salome Okoh and was first and officially raised/hoisted on Independence Day 6th March 1957. The flag was made up of red, gold and green with a 5-pointed black star dotted on the gold in the middle.
In 1959, Guinea and Mali had no flags. They adopted the flag of Ghana and added two more stars to represent their countries. Hence, Ghana’s flag had three stars representing Ghana, Mali and Guinea (UAS).
The colours of the flag, however, were changed on 1 January 1964. The new colours were red, white and green with a black star in the middle. These colours were to reflect the identity of the CPP, which was the ruling party at the time. However the flag with its original colors was reinstated on 28th February 1966 upon Nkrumah’s overthrow.
The colour red stands for the remembrance of the bloodshed that occurred in the long struggle to get independence. The colour “gold” stands for the riches that our country is blessed with. And “green” stands for the enormous green lands, forest and rich vegetation our land is blessed with.
Now, the black star. Many think it represents the Hope of Africa, it’s not entirely the case! It is believed to have been borrowed from the flag of Marcus Garvey’s (a mentor of Kwame Nkrumah) shipping line which carried a black star. This shipping line brought most of the African freedom fighters and symbolizes Africa’s strong unity in the fight against colonialism.
The National Anthem
The first national anthem was composed by Mr. Phillip Gbeho in 1957 and it has 3 stanzas. The anthem had the following lyrics:
_“Lift high the flag of Ghana: The gay star shining in the sky: Bright with the souls of our fathers: Beneath whose shade we’ll live and die!: Red for the blood of the heroes in the fight: Green for the precious farms of our birth-right: And linked with these the shining golden band: That marks the richness of our Fatherland”_ (for the full original version, send “anthem” to Counsellor Daniel on 0242937017)
However, after the overthrow of Dr. Nkrumah on 24 February 1966, the lyrics was adjusted. A student (back in those days) named Michael Kwame Gbordzoe (Now Dr. Michael Kwame Gbordzoe) supposedly wrote the lyrics of “God Bless Our Homeland Ghana”. And these lyrics have been used ever since the 1970’s.
Before Independence, Ghana’s currency was the British pound, shilling and pence. However, when Ghana gained its independence in 1957, a new monetary currency was implemented: The Ghanaian pounds, pence and shillings. These were used from 1958 till 1965.
After 1965, the government of Ghana introduced a new currency called “Cedi” notes and the “Pesewas” coins.
The word “Cedi” actually means “Cowry Shell” (sea snails) in the Akan language. These cowry shells were actually used as money in our country…way back in the days.
Send your feedback, suggestions and comments to the author, Counsellor Daniel Fenyi (Educationist) on 0242-937-017.
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Happy Independence Day
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