© 2023 John Mahama

John Mahama

Our mission will not be complete until poverty is eradicated in our country, Ghana, until every child has access to quality and free education, until Ghanaian girls and women are genuinely empowered, until all Ghanaians are truly equal under the law, and until all of us live a meaningful life within an inclusive community.


John Dramani Mahama was born on the 29th of November 1958 in Damongo, the then capital of the West Gonja District of the Northern Region. His father, Emmanuel Adama Mahama, a prominent rice farmer was a Member of Parliament for the West Gonja Constituency and the first Regional Commissioner of the Northern Region under Ghana’s first leader, President Kwame Nkrumah. 

John Mahama spent the first years of his life with his mother, Abiba Nnaba, in Damongo, before moving to Accra to live with his father, who imbued him with a strong passion for education. He received his basic education at Achimota Basic School, where he began defending other children from bullies, and later moved to the Ghana Secondary School in Tamale.

He will later gain admission into the country’s premier university, the University of Ghana, in Legon, receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in history in 1981. After his BA degree, John Mahama moved back to Tamale, where he taught history at Ghana Secondary School. However, the political and economic situation in Ghana forced him to flee to Nigeria, where he rejoined his father who was in exile. 

In 1983 he came back, with a strong desire to build bridges between people through communication, so he enrolled in a post-graduate programme in Communication Studies at the University of Ghana. He graduated in 1986 and then went to Moscow, in the former Soviet Union, to the Institute of Social Sciences, where he received a post-graduate degree in Social Psychology in 1988. While in Moscow, he noted the imperfections of the Socialist System and came to the realization that each nation had to find it's own transformative way, away from ideological dogmas.

His book, ‘My First Coup d’État and Other True Stories From the Lost Decades of Africa’, published in July 2012, has won international praise for describing a world of love, fear, faith, despair, loss, longing, and hope despite all else. 

He recalls in its first chapter the day in 1966 when he learned of the ousting of Ghana's founding president, Kwame Nkrumah, in a military coup: "When I look back on my life it's clear to me that this moment marked the awakening of my consciousness. It changed my life and influenced all the moments that followed." 

He has also written essays, which have been published in the Ebony, Huffington Post, the New York Times and The Root.

02. The political path

03. The personal pillars

MY HEROES: “First, I must mention Dr. Kwame Nkrumah. Then, I admire Mahatma Ghandi for his calm disposition and his non-violence struggle. Mandela naturally is one of my heroes and President Rawlings for midwifing our 4th Republican democracy and giving me the opportunity to serve the people of Ghana. And then Professor Atta Mills. He is not only my hero but was my mentor.” -John Dramani Mahama

John Mahama, or JM, as he is popularly called, is a Christian, born and raised a Presbyterian but now a member of the Assemblies of God Church. He is a member of a multi-faith family consisting of both Christians and Muslims. 

He is married to Lordina Mahama (née Effah, born on 6th March 1963). 

JM loves afrobeat music, is a passionate reader and a consummate writer, and has a vivid interest in farming, information and communication technology, and environmental issues.