© 2018

Nkrumaism and African Nationalism

Ghana’s Pan-African Foreign Policy in the Age of Decolonization


  • Analyzes the influence of Nkrumaism on African politics and liberation movements and on the Ghanaian state

  • Considers Accra as a transnational node for African nationalist parties and the spread of Nkrumaism

  • Appeals to scholars of Ghanaian history, Pan-Africanism, African nationalism, African liberation movements, and Cold War politics


Part of the African Histories and Modernities book series (AHAM)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xvii
  2. Matteo Grilli
    Pages 1-31
  3. Matteo Grilli
    Pages 109-163
  4. Matteo Grilli
    Pages 165-211
  5. Matteo Grilli
    Pages 213-260
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 333-366

About this book


This book examines Ghana’s Pan-African foreign policy during Nkrumah’s rule, investigating how Ghanaians sought to influence the ideologies of African liberation movements through the Bureau of African Affairs, the African Affairs Centre and the Kwame Nkrumah Ideological Institute. In a world of competing ideologies, when African nationalism was taking shape through trial and error, Nkrumah offered Nkrumaism as a truly African answer to colonialism, neo-colonialism and the rapacity of the Cold War powers. Although virtually no liberation movement followed the precepts of Nkrumaism to the letter, many adapted the principles and organizational methods learnt in Ghana to their own struggles. Drawing upon a significant set of primary sources and on oral testimonies from Ghanaian civil servants, politicians and diplomats as well as African freedom fighters, this book offers new angles for understanding the history of the Cold War, national liberation and nation-building in Africa. 


Nkrumah President Kwame Nkrumah history of Ghana socialist policies in West Africa Pan-Africanist foreign policy Ghanaian history Pan-Africanism African nationalism African liberation movements Nkrumah and Padmore 1945 Pan-African conference George Padmore the Bureau of African Affairs the African Affairs Centre Kwame Nkrumah Ideological Institute of Winneba

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.University of the Free StateBloemfonteinSouth Africa

About the authors

Matteo Grilli is Postdoctoral Fellow at the International Studies Group, University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa. 

Bibliographic information

  • Book Title Nkrumaism and African Nationalism
  • Book Subtitle Ghana’s Pan-African Foreign Policy in the Age of Decolonization
  • Authors Matteo Grilli
  • Series Title African Histories and Modernities
  • Series Abbreviated Title African Histories and Modernities
  • DOI
  • Copyright Information The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2018
  • Publisher Name Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
  • eBook Packages History History (R0)
  • Hardcover ISBN 978-3-319-91324-7
  • Softcover ISBN 978-3-030-08225-3
  • eBook ISBN 978-3-319-91325-4
  • Edition Number 1
  • Number of Pages XVII, 366
  • Number of Illustrations 7 b/w illustrations, 0 illustrations in colour
  • Topics History of Sub-Saharan Africa
    African Politics
    Imperialism and Colonialism
  • Buy this book on publisher's site


“Fifty years after the coup that overthrew Kwame Nkrumah, historians are slowly putting together a more considered understanding of the man and his policies. This book adds much that is new to that effort. Closely argued and fluently written, this is a first class contribution to a most timely and important topic.” (Tom McCaskie, Professor of African History, SOAS London University, UK)

“Anyone interested in African liberation movements should read this illuminating study. Though much of what Nkrumah sought was not achieved, Grilli argues convincingly for Nkrumah’s significant influence.” (Christopher Saunders, Professor Emeritus, University of Cape Town, South Africa)

“Anchored in new oral and archival research and a critical rereading of earlier scholarship, this innovative study shows how Nkrumah’s Ghana became a key international player in African decolonization and a hub for liberation movements. An important contribution to our understanding of the recent African past.” (Elizabeth Schmidt, Professor of History, Loyola University Maryland, USA)