The only certain facts about Nkrumah’s birth appear to be that he was born in the village of Nkroful in Nzema around midday on a Saturday in Mid September.
Nzema lies in the extreme South Of Ghana and covers an area of about a thousand square miles stretching from the River Ankobra on the east to the River Tano and its lagoon on the west. Nzema was known to Europeans for many years as apollonian because it was on the feast day of St. Apollo that white man first set foot in Nzema land.
In the outlying areas of the then gold coast, nobody bothered to record the dates of birth, married and deaths, as is the custom of the western world. Such happenings were remarkable only because they provided a cause for celebration. By tribal custom it was enough for a mother to assess the age her child by calculating the number of colonial festivals that had been celebrated since its birth.
The national festival of Nzema is called Kundum. According to Nkrumah’s mother celebrations, forty-five Kundum’s have taken place since he was born, which makes the year of his birth 1912.
On the other hand, the priest who later baptised him into the roman catholic church recorded his birth date as September 21 1909.
In Nkrumah’s autobiographies he writes : although this was a mere guess on his part, i have always used this date on official documents, not so much because I believe in its accuracy, but in so far as officialdom was concerned, it was not until recently that I came to realise how near the mark this guess must have been.
Nkrumah goes on to capture a short holiday spent in Nzema where he had the opportunity to revisit some of his childhood haunts and to recapture the past. As he sat with some friends on the sea shore at Half Assini their eyes were drawn to the rusty brink of the Bakana, a cargo boat owned by the british and African steam navigation company which had been wrecked in 1913 and had come to rest on the sea shore.
The Bakana had been so long that he had never realised how significant a part it could play in throwing light on his age. One of his friends then asked what had happened and whether he could remember it. Although Nkrumah was certainly not older than three or four years at the time, he could well remember being told the story of this disaster.
His mother confirmed the fact that he was a small boy at that time the event occurred some little time after she had brought him from Nkroful to live with his father at Half Assini. Assuming therefore that the year was the 18th. It seems likely, therefore, that he was born on Saturday, 18ht September 1909.