The untold story of Kwame Nkrumah’s ‘long wait’ to gain admission into US university



September 21, 2022, marks 113 years since Ghana’s first president and Prime Minister, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah, was born.

Over the years, there have been debates, tales, misconceptions, and misrepresented facts over what many have known about the founding father of Ghana.

Before Ghana gained independence in 1957, the young Nkrumah, in hopes of preparing himself for the big stage of leadership, applied to Lincoln University in 1934 for further studies.

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The tale of his rather long wait to receive admission from the US-based school has emerged.

According to excerpts of the ordeal in a Facebook post, Dr. Kwame Nkrumah is said to have waited for over a year without receiving any response from the university to commence his studies.

While one may argue that this should have been a norm for people applying for school admission in foreign institutions, a frustrated Dr. Kwame Nkrumah wrote an emergency letter to the Dean of Students at the University in 1935, reminding him of his request for admission to study at the university.

The narration indicated that the university eventually responded. In its response, Kwame Nkrumah was requested to write a brief story on his life, and his reasons for wanting to study at the school: what has become known as cover letters.

The following is the summary of what Dr. Nkrumah wrote to the university as shared by Francis Kennedy Ocloo via Facebook:

“I neither know where to begin nor where to end because I feel the story of my life has not been one of my achievements.

Furthermore, I have not been anxious to tell people what may have been accomplished by me.

In truth, the burden of my life can be summarized into a single line in “The Memoriam,” quoted by Cecil Rhodes; “so much to do, so little done…”

“In all things, I have held myself to but one ambition and that is to make necessary arrangements to continue my education in a university in the United States of America, that I may be better prepared to serve my fellowman…,” Dr. Kwame Nkrumah is quoted to have said.

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