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Black power by Curtis, Adam

'Black Power' revolves around post-colonial Ghana and President 'Kwame Nkrumah's' efforts to create a modern, industrial state. The construction of a dam (the Volta River Project) was supposed to contribute to that goal. Despite financial contributions from America and the World Bank, the project was plagued by setbacks rooted in disastrous negotiations, opposing interests, corruption and the Cold War. In the end, Nkrumah saw his dream fall prey to internal and external elements beyond his control.

Historic Relevance
Known as the Gold Coast, 'Ghana' was part of the British Empire until 1957. The first post-colonial president Nkrumah launched a series of initiatives aimed a creating both modern industry and create a new society with an emphasis on science. These ambitious goals were never reached and culminated in popular resistance and mistrust. When Nkrumah was replaced in a military coup in 1966, a series of political takeovers and economic malaise followed.

Economic Relevance
The damming of the Volta was key to the creation of modern industry, according to Nkrumah. The foundation of the plan was the 'take off' theory, which dictated that large scale implementation of science and technology would bring developing countries up to speed with the industrialized world. The dam was successfully completed in 1966, but the industrialization and economic growth never materialized, due to a drop in the price of cacao, an important export product, as well as the persistence of corruption and bad 'economic policies'.

Political Relevance
Nkrumah's ambitious plans divided opinions in Ghana's first post-colonial black legislature. Opposition parties protested against the involvement of their former colonial power. The British, however, withdrew due to economic problems. The American government under Kennedy, American investors and the World Bank quickly rushed to fill the vacuum. They subsequently used their leverage to influence'Ghanaian government' policy and ultimately weakened the role of the Ghanaian political elite. Political instability increased at the end of the 60's due to military coups.

About the producer
The British producer, director and documentary maker 'Adam Curtis' has a formidable reputation. According to The Observer, much of Curtis' work is directed at political elites and the negative consequences of the ideology they tried to turn into policy. He has won numerous prizes for his film and television work, including the BAFTA Award for Best Factual Series for Pandora's Box, the series that includes Black Power.

Curtis, Adam
Copyright Holder
46 min.
Year of release

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