A Rhetorical Analysis of Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah’s Independence Speech

Abena Abokoma Asemanyi, Anita Brenda Alofah


The study examines the role of rhetoric in the famous Independence Speech given by the first president of the Republic of Ghana, Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah at Old Polo Grounds, Accra, Ghana on 6th March, 1957 when Ghana won independence from the British rule. Through a rhetorical analysis and specifically using the cannons of rhetoric and the means of persuasion, the study finds that; first, the speech adopts the elements of rhetoric to inform, encourage and persuade its audiences.; second, the speech is endowed with the richness that the five canons of rhetoric afford. The study reveals that the powerful diction and expressions embedded in the speech follow a rather careful arrangement meant to achieve the objective of rhetoric; third, the speaker adopted the three means of persuasion, namely: ethos, pathos and logos, to drive home the objective of his argument. The findings agree with Ghanaian Agenda’s assertion of the speech as one of the greatest ever written and delivered in Ghanaian geo-politics and rhetorical history. The study concludes that the 1957 Independence Speech by Osagyefo Dr. Kwame Nkrumah owes its world-wide garnered attention to the power of rhetoric, owing to the fact that it affords the speech the craft of carefully laid out rhetorical constructions and principles and hence making the speech a powerful work of rhetoric.

Keywords: Rhetoric Analysis, Independence speech, Ghana

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ISSN (Paper)2224-3267 ISSN (Online)2224-3275

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