Places + Locations | 1950 | Sound | Colour
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Film about Ghana’s independence, 1950s, specifically March 1957.
Map of Africa, showing Ghana’s location. Zoom in to show regions of the country and Accra.
Celebratory street scenes with bunting and flags as Ghana welcomes dignitaries from around the world for its independence ceremony 1957. Locals crowding the streets, people seated in a stadium and getting off a train. Aircraft landing and international representatives arriving – Vice President Nixon from U.S.A and Ivan Benediktov, Soviet Minster of State are two of the politicians filmed arriving. Local crowds line the streets. HRH Duchess of Kent rides in an open top vehicle. Vehicle procession through the city with cheering crowds. Ghana’s new flag flying, the Union Jack behind it.
BOAC plane taxis on the tarmac. Governor General Sir Charles Arden-Clarke stands beside President Kwame Nkrumah. HRH Duchess of Kent disembarks from the aircraft and shakes hands with the Governor and his wife and Dr Nkrumah. They walk from the plane. Lots of cheering and waving locals. The official cars drive off. The Duchess of Kent walks along a red carpet, under a large umbrella, to the ceremonial site.
Traditional speeches and blessings take place to a large assembled crowd. Duchess shakes hands with various people. Speech by a religious leader. Various views of spectators in the crowds. Band plays. Everyone is upstanding and a choir sings a hymn in the centre of the stadium. Catholic religious blessing.
Tribal leaders from around Ghana, dressed in traditional attire and carrying ornate staffs are gathered for the independence ceremony. Traditional dance and musical instrument playing. The Duchess of Kent waves to the gathered people as she is driven around in an open top vehicle with the Governor General. Seated on a podium the Duchess shakes hands with tribal chiefs. Large colourful umbrellas are carried.
A packed stadium. Military band plays entrance as the Duchess’ vehicle parades around the ground. Girls in uniform stand to attention. Brass band. Duchess waves as she is paraded around the stadium. Views of other seated officials. Back to the band. Military marching. Airforce fly past. Traditional tribal dancing, singing and instrument playing in the arena. More marching with people dressed in the red, gold and green of the national flag.
Celebrations after the independence ceremony – canoe racing
Men roll large boats down the beach to shoreline, for canoe racing. They board the boats and row frantically into the sea. The Duchess of Kent watches with binoculars. Lots of jubilant cheering as the winning boat makes it back to shore. Lots of boats and a banner held up, Salute to Ghana.
Horse racing event.
The horses set off. Various views of the race goers, focusing on the colourfully dressed women attending the races. HRH Duchess of Kent is in attendance. Winner crosses the finish line, well in front of the rest of the field.
Miss Ghana Parade.
Crowd of cheering men. Miss Ghana is lifted onto the shoulders of men. She is smiling and wearing her crown and winner’s sash. Young girls wave and look on in a somewhat bemused state. Miss Ghana is paraded along the street sitting on her garlanded float, which resembles a tank. Miss Ghana 1957 is written across the float. Carnival parade and other floats are in the procession. On the back of one truck a band play on nothing but oil drums. A boat float and fruit and vegetable float also go past. Large crowds look on. A group go past on a boat float decorated in a south pacific theme, with Syrian National Club written along the side. Parade is all part of Ghana’s independence celebrations 1957.
Official reception. Ambassador Hotel Accra, brief clip of the hotel exterior at night. Inside the ballroom dignitaries and officials are seated for the country’s independence reception. The Governor General of Ghana Sir Charles Arden-Clarke gives a speech and toasts HRH Duchess of Kent. The guests all stand up and give a toast. God Save the Queen is played. Duchess of Kent gives a speech. President Kwame Nkrumah responds with his speech.
The exterior of the Gold Coast Hospital, Ghana. The staff stand outside. HRH Duchess of Kent visits and shakes hands with a local nurse and receives a posy of flowers. She is cheered as she walks along the corridor in the hospital, which is lined with hospital employees. The Duchess signs a visitors book. The Duchess lays a wreath at a war memorial in Ghana. Exteriors of Government buildings. The Duchess arrives at the Courts of Justice and is greeted by a judge. She shakes hands with a line of legal staff, barristers, judges. University of the Gold Coast and cheering student or young people. The Duchess is led on a tour of the university by professors and seniors wearing academic robes and mortar boards.
Flag raising ceremony.
Brief clip of HRH Duchess of Kent standing at a podium to unveil a national monument. It is dark. The Freedom and Justice Monument is lit up with the date across the top 1957. It is midnight on March 6th 1957. The Union Jack flag is lowered from the flag pole. Crowds of onlookers. Ghana’s flag is raised and the crowds cheer and wave hankies. Fireworks display with rockets and Catherine wheels. Quick views of happy locals enjoying the celebrations.
Opening Ghana’s first independent Parliament, Accra, 1957
Marching bands and parade to the state Parliament building Accra, Ghana, March 1957. HRH Duchess of Kent walks along the red carpet and into the parliament building. She takes her seat on a gold throne in the presence of many dignitaries. Duchess reads the Queen’s message of freedom (the speech is obscured by a narration over the top). She stands and so does everyone else in the chamber. She continues to read (without narration over the top). View of loud speakers mounted on a pole. Footage of a stadium full of people, who are listening to the Duchess’ speech from Parliament. Back to Parliament where the speech continues. Another view of loud speakers and the stadium. The Prime Minister is handed the message by the Duchess. She waves from a balcony at Parliament House. Huge crowds lining the street as her cavalcade of vehicles leaves Parliament. Banner lined long road and views of the crowds from a moving vehicle. View as the cavalcade approaches the Freedom and Justice Memorial. Children waving flag. The royal car drives through an arch. Mounted guards on horses.
President Kwame Nkrumah stands in a convertible 1950s American car and he is driven through the streets of Accra, now President of this new independent nation. Crowds wave and cheer and follow his vehicle along the streets, running alongside.
Ballroom at the State House in Accra, Ghana 1957. Kwame Nkrumah ballroom dances with HRH Duchess of Kent. Other couples join the dancing and the dance floor becomes crowded. Overhead view of the dance floor. People applaud the band when the music finishes.
A large garland and banner reads Au revoir Ghana. HRH Duchess of Kent is bid farewell by Governor General Sir Charles Arden-Clarke and President Kwame Nkrumah. She waves from the door of her plane. Her hosts wave back. The plane taxis off.
Footage returns to the state house ballroom and couples dancing. At another location locals are filmed dancing in traditional manner in colourful outfits. Back at the ballroom event, a white woman tries to dance, but doesn’t look cool at all! Locals dance in a rock n roll style. European Club where a belly dancer entertains. More mixed race couples dancing and band playing. Black Ghanaians dancing with white people, all as part of the independence celebrations.
President addresses crowd. Kwame Nkrumah stands on a podium at night time. He jigs and waves to the massed crowd. His colleagues join him on the podium. An accordion player in the crowd. The cheering crowd quietens and Kwame speaks. “At long last the battle has ended and Ghana, your beloved country is free forever.” Narration talks over his continuing speech for a time. The speech continues and everyone removes their hats as the national anthem is played by a band. The Ghanaian flag flutters in the breeze. View of the band and conductor. The president wipes tears from his eyes when the anthem finishes and shouts “freedom”. His call is repeated by the crowd. Fireworks. END
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