A Man of Culture

Sekou Toure first President of Guinea

On October 2, 1958 Ahmed Sékou Touré, proclaimed Guinea's independence from France and became its first president. One year later he gave a speech in Conakry, the capital in which he outlined the role of political leaders in reflecting and developing the culture of their nations. Touré was one of the foremost figures in the struggle for West African independence, the first President of Guinea, and a leading Pan-African. In African affairs he was an ardent supporter of Ghana’s president, Kwame Nkrumah and his program for African political unity, but a union of the two nations proclaimed in 1958 never became effective. When Nkrumah was deposed in 1966, Touré granted him asylum. After an unsuccessful invasion from neighboring Portuguese Guinea (now Guinea-Bissau) in 1971, he undertook a political purge and imposed severe restrictions on opposition forces in his country. He was reelected without opposition in subsequent elections and ruled with an iron hand. Touré died of a heart attack on March 26, 1984 in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S. 

image credit: Bank Note World