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First Stop – Ghana, Home of the Iconic Kente, the Cloth of Royalty

Ghana turns 50 years old on 6th March 2007. This is a momentous milestone for the country. On this occasion we remember the years of the first Republic in Ghana.

Ghana is located at the navel of the Earth, is the first African country south of the Sahara to gain independence from her colonial master, England.

Led by Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana promoted Pan Africanism and brought pride to Blacks everywhere in the world.

Nkrumah’s programs included among other championing the formation of Organization of African Unity (now called the African Union), supporting liberation movements to free other African countries from colonization. He espoused the idea that Neocolonialism was the last stage of Imperialism.  Consequently, he sought to place the commanding heights of the economy into the hands of Ghanaians.

His free education program allowed many Ghanaians to access higher education. It is therefore not surprising that Ghana has one of the highest literacy rates in Africa.  Ghanaian experts and professionals work in many international institution/countries around the world. One of these is Kofi Annan, former Secretary General of the United Nations.

Another of Nkrumah’s legacy is promoting Ghanaian culture on the world stage. He wore the iconic Kente cloth when he addressed the United Nations as the President of Ghana in 1961. Since then the Kente Cloth has been embraced by the Black Diaspora as a symbol of Black Pride and Pan Africanism.

Nkrumah was overthrown in 1966. He died in exile in Guinea in 1972.

In 1998 the first Exhibition of the Kente Cloth was undertaken in the United States. The Kente Cloth is now the attire/or accessory of choice for many people around the world for significant occasions including graduations, weddings, international gatherings and festivals. Annual Kente Festivals are held in cities around the world.

Over the years many dignitaries and international personalities have been seen in the Kente cloth including President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton.

Her Excellency Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada, on a recent visit to Ghana in November 2006, became the latest dignitary to be seen modeling the Kente Cloth.

Ghana's Independence Day
Ghana's Independence Day, March 6, 1957

Governor General Michaëlle Jean on a visit to Ghana
Governor General Michaëlle Jean on a visit to Ghana, November 2006
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