On Founders’ Day, celebrated on August 4, Ghana commemorates its struggle for independence. This wasn’t always the case — earlier, the day was spelled ‘Founder’s Day’ and honored one freedom fighter in particular, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, who eventually became independent Ghana’s first president. Dr. Nkrumah, along with five other members of a political party against British rule, became the founding fathers of Ghana’s freedom movement. They’re all honored on this day.
History of Founder's Day
The first European explorers on African soil were amazed at the amount of gold found on these shores. Word spread, various African kingdoms proved amenable to trade, and traders came here from all over the world, including Portugal, England, Sweden, and other European countries. They used the name ‘Gold Coast’ for this region because of its large gold reserves.
Through purchase or direct capture, Britain colonized much of the land in this region, including the Ghana territory, by the 19th century. Being conscripted to fight in their colonial leader’s army in both the first and second World Wars gave the Gold Coast people a broadened worldview and a higher range of skills, which they could unfortunately not put to use in their rigidly controlled homeland. Because of this, Gold Coast nationalists intensified their fight for more autonomy in their own region. In a bid for self-governance, politician and lawyer J. B. Danquah, along with other educated Africans such as G. A. Grant and R. A. Awoonor-Williams, founded the United Gold Coast Convention, one of the most influential political parties on the Gold Coast. They invited an outspoken and revolutionary African, Kwame Nkrumah, to be the U.G.C.C.’s general secretary.
Then, in 1948, during a World War II veteran protest against non-payment of end-of-service benefits, three veterans were killed by the British. The U.G.C.C. got involved, and six major leaders — Dr. Nkrumah, Edward Akufo-Addo, Joseph Boakye Danquah, Emmanuel Obetsebi-Lamptey, William Ofori Atta, and Ebenezer Ako-Adjei — were arrested. This arrest earned the six men immense public fame, and they soon earned the nickname ‘Bix Six.’
Dr. Nkrumah would eventually break away from the U.G.C.C. and form his own political party, which helped him become then-newly independent Ghana’s first prime minister and later the nation’s first president. Ghana first became an independent state in March 1957, and a republic three years later.
Ghana marked this important event on ‘Founder’s Day’ on September 21 each year, which also doubled as a celebration of Dr. Nkrumah’s birthday. The celebration evolved to include the contribution of the other ‘Bix Six’ members as well, and the day was renamed ‘Founders’ Day.’ The date was also shifted to August 4 to commemorate the date the U.G.C.C. was founded. Ghana continues to honor Dr. Nkrumah on September 21 with the Kwame Nkrumah Memorial Day.
Founder's Day timeline
The United Gold Coast Convention is founded by leading educationists and thinkers, and they help initiate a large-scale push for independence among the Gold Coast's diaspora.
The British Gold Coast territory and the Togoland trust merge to form the Gold Coast, gaining their independence on this day.
A public holiday amendments bill becomes the law, and Founders' Day is now to be celebrated on August 4 each year.
The non-profit organization Open Foundation West Africa launches a Founders' Day Ghana writing contest to encourage more articles and literature to be put up on Wikipedia.
Founder's Day FAQs
What is a Founder's Day celebration?
A ‘founder’s day’ celebrates the founder of a society, organization, or, in this case, a nation.
Is it Founders’ Day or Founder's Day?
Ghana’s celebration has been re-dubbed ‘Founders’ Day’ — with the apostrophe after ‘s’ — to include all the founding fathers who made major contributions to Ghana’s independence fight.
How do you congratulate people on Founders’ Day?
This one’s all up to your personal preference and the person or community you are greeting. However, a wish to celebrate the founders’ hard work and sacrifices will generally be acceptable.
How to Observe Founder's Day
Discover more about Ghana
Take time to learn more about Ghana and its interesting history. Read about the land, why it was so historically important, and how the political system functions today.
Learn about the Big Six
Honor the founding fathers of Ghana by learning all you can about them. Learn about their lives, their influence on Ghanaian politics, and how their actions inspired a nation.
Celebrate Ghana's culture your own way
Listen to the language, explore new music and sounds, and enjoy Ghanaian cuisine. You could even watch a documentary or movie set in Ghana for a better look at the land, the people, and their customs.
5 Cool Facts About Ghana
First to gain independence
Ghana was the first country in sub-Saharan Africa to claim its independence, and the other countries followed suit.
Still a 'gold coast'
Ghana is the second-largest exporter of gold in Africa and the seventh-largest global producer of this yellow metal.
They had an internally famous empire
Called the 'Ashanti Empire,' they occupied the current Ghana region and were extensively studied by England, earning them incredible global recognition.
Afro-jazz was born here
Apart from highlife and hiplife styles of music, Ghana is also the birthplace of afro-beat music, which evolved in the early 20th century.
Snail shells were their early currency
Ghana's present currency is called 'cedi,' which comes from the African name for those early snail shells, the 'cowry.'
Why Founder's Day is Important
We love Ghana
Lush forests, sandy beaches, ancient castles with a tragic history — Ghana is a land of beauty and fascinating heritage. This confluence of beauty, natural resources, and immersive culture keeps us wanting more.
A story of freedom and independence
We cherish the tales of independence and courage coming to us directly from the 'Big Six,' many of whom shared their experiences and tales with the public. Their struggle inspired and uplifted a nation, and we are thankful that we get to hear this story.
It takes us into Ghana's storied past
Ghana’s history is undeniably intriguing. From the famous Ashanti Empire to today's Ghana, Founders' Day is aimed at exploring how Ghana came to be while celebrating the sacrifices of Ghanian forebears.
Founder's Day dates