The Accra International Conference Centre (AICC) last Friday came alive when Nkrumah returned to the stage in a premiere that stunned the audience.
Set to tell a story of Africa’s uniqueness and how leaders such as Dr Kwame Nkrumah, Ghana’s first President, led the continent to believe in its people and look inwardly for development and progress, the drama combined other theatrical performances to entertain and educate the audience for well over two hours.
The Second Coming of Nkrumah lived up to its billing, as one scene after another intrigued its patrons and filled the theatre with suspense, comedy, tragedy, love and other literary techniques that Ghanaian playwright and play director, Latif Abubakar, rightly employed.
The play was viewed by celebrities, personalities from UNESCO, diplomats, chief executive officers of relevant institutions, ministers of state and people from the diaspora.
A retired US Naval officer, Sherrie Bumbray, said: “Most of us know about Dr Kwame Nkrumah but this particular play was very educative and well produced by the cast, including the dancers, the choir, the costumes; everything was well thought out.”
“The only challenge I had was that I was very hungry and I would have left to go look for food if I wasn’t well entertained.
In my opinion, it was very well done.
“They need to provide some snack while people are viewing such a play,” she added as she beamed with smiles.
One of the popular quotes of Dr Nkrumah: “The Independence of Ghana is meaningless unless it is linked up with the total liberation of Africa”, was fulfilled in the play which also touched on the stories of how other great African leaders contributed to the struggle leading to the granting of independence to many African countries in the 1960s.
It was the case that all the founding fathers of Africa such as Ghana’s first President, Dr Kwame Nkrumah; Ethiopia’s Emperor Haile Selassie; Kenya’s first President and anti-colonial activist, Jomo Kenyatta; first Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of Congo, Patrice Lumumba, and Tanzanian anti-colonial activist and former President, Julius Nyerere, met to take a decision.
Other Pan-African freedom fighters such as the American Baptist Minister and civil rights activist, Martin Luther King Jnr, and Jamaican political activist, Marcus Garvey, were included in the deliberations.
In the end, the responsibility fell on Dr Nkrumah to go and save the continent although he resisted initially.
The characters are seen and heard extolling their respective virtues, full of education for the audience.
The Second Coming of Nkrumah was full of amusement as patrons watched the sensational comic actor, Macpratt Dadzie, who played “Atongo”, the bodyguard of Nkrumah, and other characters in the play such as the Narrator, the articulate Pearl Korkor Dake, who was superb in guiding the audience through the various scenes of the play.
Richmond Annan, who played the role of Nkrumah, stunned patrons with his deep voice depicting the true character of Ghana’s first President who led the country to independence in 1957.
The premiering was sponsored by Fidelity Bank, with other partners being Graphic NewsPlus, M&C Group Global, UNESCO and the Ministry of Tourism, Arts and Culture, among others.
A teacher, Twinkle Aye, and the 2020 Ghana’s Most Beautiful Winner, Naa Dedei Botchwey, were excited as they said they enjoyed every bit of the play and wished to watch it over again, particularly the cultural performances and the contemporary as well as the old school music introduced in the play.
“The attempt was made to personify the characters, and Atongo was my favourite. Atongo brought everything to life so it’s easy to focus and follow the story and he made it fun,” one of them said.
Highlife musician, Ben Brako, said the production was a great idea, however, “there was too much to imbibe and I think the story is important and so there should be more focus on the actual story than the peripheral stuff”.
“When it is so much it gets a bit lost because in the end, I wasn’t too sure what was the second coming of Nkrumah, what did it mean?
I could also see that people were tired even though there was traditional music, it was too much,” Mr Brako observed.
Explaining the rationale for premiering the play, Mr Abubakar said the aim was to get feedback from patrons and people who would critique the production before the play was open to the general public from December 28 to 30, 2023.
He called on patrons with “critical eyes” for detail to reach out to him on his social media platforms with suggestions to improve the production.
Mr Abubakar, who is also the Chief Executive Officer of Globe Productions, said the 150 cast had been rehearsing for about two months and that means by the end of the month patrons would have another level of experience.
The Second Coming of Nkrumah was also a perfect fusion of contemporary and old school settings, traditional music as well as dance performances such as Agbadza, Borborbor and Bamaya that helped to tell the exciting story.
The play focuses on three thematic areas — selflessness, togetherness and self-reliance based on research which identified selfishness and greed on the part of leaders as the biggest problem facing Africa.
“People are corrupt because they are selfish. People talk about indiscipline because they are selfish.
People talk about going into deals that favour the whites and that’s because they are selfish,” Mr Abubakar said.
“The entire conversation we are having about The Second Coming of Nkrumah is to preach to people not to be selfish, because that is the biggest problem of Africa,” the playwright further posited.
The event is being supported by the Graphic Communications Group Ltd.