Why is Kwame Nkrumah's (the Ghanaian politician) ideology named 'consciencism'?

He was a pan-Africanist, what does that mean?


1 Answer 1


Q: Why is Kwame Nkrumah's ideology named 'consciencism'?

In the article, Consciencism, an African World View: Studies in Quantum Philosophical Thought, May 26, 2022, Rafiki Morris writes,

The word Consciencism was coined by President Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana and Co-President of Guinea, in a small book named, ‘Consciencism, Philosophy and Ideology of Decolonization’, first published in 1964. The word Consciencism is a construct of the word conscience and the suffix ism. For our purposes, the root word, conscience, can be defined as, ‘the capacity and urge to distinguish right from wrong as a guide to human activity’. The suffix ism, in this instance is, ‘the theory, practice and philosophy of that to which it pertains’. Accordingly, Consciencism is, “The theory, practice and philosophy of distinguishing right from wrong as a guide to human action.”

As stated in the title of Nkrumah’s book, Consciencism is both philosophy and ideology. As philosophy it explains the world and the principles that govern it. As ideology it directs our actions towards our collective political, economic and social objectives.

Consciencism is more than the sum of its aspects because it is living ideology manifesting in various forms around the world and throughout time. Over the last 117 years alone African Philosophy has been called; Garveyism, Race First, Nkrumahism, Nkrumahism-Tureism, Cabralism, Lumumbaism, The Third Universal Theory, Africanism, Black Consciousness, Black Power, Pan-Africanism, African Internationalism, African Nationalism and Black Nationalism. To us these are but a few of the many expressions of Consciencism. All of these expressions of African philosophy and ideology are partial theories that express connected, entangled and interrelated aspects of Consciencism. Consciencism concerns all aspects of African life.

Q: He was a pan-Africanist, what does that mean?

Pan-Africanism is a worldwide movement that aims to encourage and strengthen bonds of solidarity between all indigenous and diaspora ethnic groups of African ancestry. [Wikipedia - Pan-Africanism]

However, for Kwame Nkrumah it was much more that that.

“The total liberation and unification of Africa under an All-African Socialist Government must be the primary objective of all Black revolutionaries throughout the world. It is an objective which, when achieved, will bring about the fulfillment of the aspirations of Africans and people of African descent everywhere. It will at the same time advance the triumph of the international socialist revolution, and the onward progress towards world communism, under which, every society is ordered on the principle of –from each according to his ability, to each according to his needs.”Osagyefo Kwame Nkrumah

To promote his vision of pan-Africanism, Kwame Nkrumah worked toward the establishment of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) (1963-2002).

One of the main heads for OAU's establishment was Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana.

The OAU was the forerunner of the African Union (AU) (2002-present); both of which were founded with the intent to promote pan-Africanism.

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