The African Independence Movement
TEARS SUDDENLY started to my eyes, but I made no attempt to hide them. It was March 6, 1957; I was attending a reception given by fellow students from the Ivory Coast, Morocco, and Martinique, and we were all celebrating the independence of the new African state of Ghana. We were far from Ghana-- or so it seemed to me for that moment I stood by myself, apart, watching the convivialities of the guests and holding the glass of champagne from which, only moments before, I had drunk a toast to Ghana's future. We were in Tours, France, where I was studying French, as a foreign-service officer; but the music, I remember, was "high life," which had originated in Ghana, spread across West Africa, and eventually given birth to the samba and the calypso in the Caribbean. Everybody was in high spirits, but I simply could not let myself go. On the other hand, neither could I restrain the tears.
For me, as for many others, that day in March, 1957, constituted a landmark in the history of Africa: Ghana had been born. For one reason or another, the rest of the world seemed to be nearly as excited as we were about this black country that had become the first in Sub-Saharan Africa to graduate from a purely colonial status into independent nationhood. Superabundant good will was everywhere, and messages of felicitation and best wishes, I learned later, poured into Ghana from every corner of