Hannah Kudjoe (December 1918 – 9 March 1986), née Hannah Dadson, was a prominent activist for Ghanaian independence in the 1940s and 1950s. She was one of the first high-profile female nationalists in the movement, and was the National Propaganda Secretary for the Convention People’s Party. She was also an active philanthropist and worked to improve women’s lives in Northern Ghana.
Born in Busua, in the Western Region of the Gold Coast (now Ghana) in December 1918, Kudjoe was the youngest of 10 children. After finishing school, she became a popular dressmaker in Tarkwa, where she married J. C. Kudjoe. He was a manager of a gold mine near Tarkwa. The marriage did not last, and she began living with her brother, E. K. Dadson, a prominent United Gold Coast Convention (UGCC) activist. She was inspired to enter into politics when Kwame Nkrumah stayed at their house in June 1947 and convinced her of the importance of women in politics.
After meeting with Nkrumah, Kudjoe began raising support for the UGCC. In March 1948, when the Big Six of the party were arrested, she raised money and led a campaign for their release. She was very involved in the Committee on Youth Organization within the UGCC and followed them when they split from the UGCC to form the CPP, and was the only woman present when the decision to split was made. Kudjoe was heavily involved with Positive Action, a campaign of mass civil disobedience that eventually led to the end of colonial rule, and she inspired massive support for the CPP through this campaign. She then became National Propaganda Secretary for the CPP and was an extremely effective organizer, mobilizing many people, including women, to join the CPP.
After independence was won, Kudjoe founded the All-African Women’s League in 1957, which later became the Ghana Women’s League. She also worked to establish day nurseries and nursery schools throughout the country, and recruited workers and teachers and provided amenities for these establishments. She also championed an anti-nudity campaign in Northern Ghana. This included the free distribution of clothing donated from other countries. She taught women hygiene practices, such as how to boil water to bathe children. She undertook this work largely independently of the new government, leading to disapproval from the government, who minimized her role. She also helped distribute food in times of famine, and encouraged women to farm to grow their own food.