On the 6th of March every year, since 1957, we take a break from the struggles of life to remind ourselves of how far we have come as a nation. We remember the late Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, J.B Danquah, Ofori Atta and the other great men of the “Big Six” who fought against our colonial masters. Our founding fathers as we affectionately call them, the gallant men who laid down their lives to grant us independence from colonial rule. Seldom do we hear of the contributions of the women who took part in the emancipation process. The brave women who gave their all to ensure the independence dream was made a reality. It is these forgotten s’heroes’ who have earned our spotlight today and whose stories we will share with you.
She was known as “Convention Hannah” but her biological name is Hannah Cudjoe. Hannah was a strong crusader in the pursuit of Ghana’s independence. When the men were down she was always available to carry the agenda and see it through to the end. In the days of the 1948 riot when the “Big Six” were arrested, Hannah Cudjoe mobilized a mammoth gathering of Ghanaians from all walks of life. She then led them to petition the colonial masters for the release of the “Big Six”. Hannah is credited as the founder of the All African Women’s league in 1960, a strong reflection of her role in the independence struggle. She served as the Party Organizer and Propaganda Secretary of the Convention People’s Party during her days.
Another woman actively involved in the struggle was Mabel Dove Danquah- the first female member of the legislative Assembly in 1954 in Gold Coast. Mabel was an avid writer who used her journalistic skills to challenge colonial supremacy and female rights back in the 1950’s. Using a women’s column in the Times of West Africa newspaper she shared her strong feminine stance on colonial dominance in Ghana and enlightened the populace on certain happenings within the Gold Coast. She was also the editor for the Accra Evening News and wrote for papers like the Nigerian Day Times, African Morning Post, the Daily Echo, and the Daily Graphic among several others.
Ama Nkrumah is our next s’hero’ and a strong pillar when it comes to matters of Ghana’s independence struggle. Ama is no way related to Osagyefo Doctor Kwame Nkrumah, in fact, her real name is unknown but she adopted this name during the colonial era. Ama was a fearless woman who showed great courage just like the late great leader. She gave everyone a reason to still fight on. Nkrumah had this to say about her, “while I was in jail and the party organization was at its most critical period. I learned that at a rally in Kumasi a woman party member adopted the name of Ama Nkrumah (Ama being the female equivalent of “Kwame”) got up on the platform and ended a fiery speech by getting hold of a blade and slashing her face. Then smearing the blood over her body, she challenged the men to do likewise in order to show that no sacrifice was too great in their united struggle for freedom and independence” (The Autobiography of Kwame Nkrumah: Thomas Nelson and Sons, 1957)
Sophie Oboshie Doku and Sussana Al-Hassan are also women who contributed to the independence struggle. These female leaders are seldom celebrated and unrecognized for their efforts. When we celebrate our independence we must also remember their laudable efforts. May God continue to bless our homeland Ghana and make our nation greater, stronger, and bolder to defend forever just as they did.