Volume 13, Issue 4
  • ISSN 1878-9714
  • E-ISSN: 1878-9722
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Employing Wodak’s discourse-historical approach, this paper examines how Ghana’s independence leader – Kwame Nkrumah – in his creation of the Unite or Perish myth constructed ‘the African people’ in a manner in sync with populist performance. It argues that Nkrumah’s discourse, in its focus on the formation of a Union Government of Africa as the only means of Africa’s peace, progress, security and survival in the post-independence era, can be characterized as a form of populist rhetoric that presupposes an antagonistic relationship between two homogeneous social groups. To this end, the paper analyzes three discursive strategies utilized by Nkrumah in promoting anti-establishment sentiments while celebrating or valorizing ‘the ordinary people’: nomination and predication of social actors and actions, the construction of a man of the people image and the exploitation of familiarity and historical memory. It concludes with a discussion on the implications of the study for political discourse analysis in terms of the interrelationship between political myth and populist performance.


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