Fathia Nkrumah, 1931-2007
Fathia Nkrumah, the First Lady of Ghana from 1960 to 1966, died May 31 in Cairo. Her son Gamal Nkrumah (pictured with his mother at left), an editor for the al-Ahram newspaper, has a really touching tribute to his mother here, written seven years ago. The piece details how a 27-year-old school teacher and bank teller, third daughter of a civil servant, came to marry the 49-year-old anti-colonial pioneer:
For a month before the wedding, the young bride could not sleep a wink. She had been summoned by President Nasser, who asked her if she was sure that she wanted to accept Nkrumah's proposal of marriage. Marrying a head of state -- of the first African country to achieve independence from British rule, in fact -- entailed duties and responsibilities, sacrifices and potential risks. Having heard the president's warning, Fathia replied promptly: "I would like to go and marry this anti-colonial leader. I read his autobiography -- I know of his trials and tribulations, of his struggles during his student days in America and Britain, and of his spearheading the anti-colonial struggle upon his return to his homeland. I am deeply impressed." Only her family stood in the way, she informed Nasser. She had little idea of the challenges that lay ahead.