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 other great men of the BIG SIX who fought against our colonial masters. Seldom do we hear of the contribution of 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 female heroes who have earned my spotlight today and whose stories I 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 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 works of life. She 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 Peoples Party (CPP) during her days.
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 in the 1950s. Using a women’s column in the times of West Africa Newspaper, she shared her strong feminine stands on colonial dominance in Ghana and enlightened the populace on 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 hero and a strong pillar when it comes to matters of Ghana’s Independence struggle. Ama is no way related to Osagyefo Dr. 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 great African 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 the fiery speech by getting hold of a blade and slashing her face. Then smearing the blood over her body, then 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).
SOPHIA OBOSHIE DOKU was also another devoted lady who contributed to the independence struggle and one of the first female parliamentarians in the first parliament in the first republic of Ghana under Ghana’s first president Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. She was a political activist that served under various capacities.
SUSANNA AL- HASSAN is the first northern female hero who helped in the struggle for independence. She was a Ghanaian author and politician. She was the first African woman to hold a cabinet portfolio and became the first female to be appointed minister. She also served as the Member of Parliament for northern region.
On this day as Ghana celebrates its 60th jubilee anniversary, citizens of this country should recognise these women who have also played a pivotal role in making our nation great and strong. Behind the iconic BIG SIX were also these bold BIG FIVE women who fought relentlessly to write their names in Ghana’s history.