'Let us Rally Around the Flag': Football, Nation Building and Pan-Africanism in Kwame Nkrumah's Ghana

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The nationalistic fervour that greeted Ghana's performances in the 2010 football World Cup in South Africa powerfully evoked memories of an earlier period in the history of the Ghanaian state that witnessed Kwame Nkrumah, the first president of independent Ghana, draw on the game as a rallying point for nation-building and pan-African unity. This article uncovers this history by analysing Nkrumah's overt politicisation of football in the late colonial and immediate postcolonial periods. This study not only makes a novel contribution to the growing historical and social scientific literature on what is arguably Africa's most pervasive popular cultural form but also deepens our understanding of one of the continent's most significant political figures.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)221-246
JournalJournal of African History
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013


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