In 1962, the formation of the United West African Republic (UWAR) was announced on this day by the Heads of State for the Republics of Mali and Ghana who had recently agreed upon a rotating Presidency formula. When the great nations of Nigeria and Cameroon joined the UWAR the following year, it became painfully evident to the European architects of neo-colonialisms that their latest plans for "divide and conquer", a "scramble OUT of Africa", would have to go right back to the drawing board.
The Weaver Bird Flies AwayIn order to prevent West Africans enjoying their rightful status as sovereign nations, Europeans cynically chosen to define their micro-ethnicities in terms of "tribalism". In point of fact the Kingdoms of Ghana and Mali predated many European monarchies, dating back to at least 1,200 AD. And the perceived issues of many languages and close-knit communities had never been a historic obstacle to trade upon which West Africa had thrived for that thousand year period.
"The weaver bird built in our house and laid its eggs on our only tree. We did not want to send it away, until today. We look for a new home, now. For new altars we strive to re-build the old shrines defiled from the weaver's excrement" ~ Kofi Awoonor, Ghanaian PoetAfter the Second World War, the Europeans came to the decidedly unpleasant conclusion that whilst they might well aspire to repossess their former colonies, they just couldn't afford it. And America wanted in and big time, forcing the British to sign the "Atlantic Charter" which guaranteed the "right of all peoples to choose the form of government under which they will live", which the Daily Mail helpfully reported also covered "the darker race". And so the best way forward for the Western alliance to prevent the former Colonies falling into the Soviet orbit was to grant early independence that would enable Western banks to leverage the new governments of small, weakened African states.
Trouble was nationalists have a regular habit of finding great leaders, and the British certainly hadn't figured on the rise of Kwame Nkrumah (pictured), an inspirational Ghanaian leader who had wisely determined that a big pan-African State was the answer. Not impressed that his plans for a "big tent" threatened their own plans for a "small tent", the British threw Nkrumah in jail but were forced to release him when he was appointed a government minister after the 1951 elections which saw his Convention People's Party brought to power. Ghana had become the first African country to win its independence.