Julius Nyerere – “Mwalimu” (Teacher)

This is an interesting and informative account of the career of former Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere and his steering of Tanganyika towards independence in 1961. The post touches on the many economic challenges he faced, and the solution he presented in the form of a ‘unique blend of socialism and communal life” – the collectivisation of agriculture, vilification (Ujamaa – which I recommend you Google) and large-scale nationalisation. The vision set out in the Arusha Declaraion of 1967 sounds just beautiful to me, despite the flaws in its execution (more about this in the post below).

Nyerere was pan-Africanist, a socialist, and one of the first post-colonial African leaders to voluntarily concede power – he is widely respected for providing moral leadership to Tanzania, and Africa, in the aftermath of independence. He also led Tanzania to rely heavily on foreign aid and faced criticism on his domestic policies and human rights record. He was a controversial figure and worth reading more about!

“Capitalism means that the masses will work, and a few people — who may not labor at all — will benefit from that work. The few will sit down to a banquet, and the masses will eat whatever is left over.“

World Is Africa

Capitalism means that the masses will work, and a few people — who may not labor at all — will benefit from that work. The few will sit down to a banquet, and the masses will eat whatever is left over.

A man of ascetic and unostentatious personal habits, and instantly recognisable in his Mao tunic, Julius Nyerere was born at Butiama, on the eastern shore of Lake Victoria, into the small Zanaki tribe. He was 12 before he first went to school, but was immediately singled out for his sparkling intelligence by the Roman Catholic priests. After Makerere University, in Kampala, he taught for three years.

In 1949 he became the first Tanzanian to study at a British university, when he went to Edinburgh on a government scholarship. And it was there, under the influence of post-war Fabian socialists, that he developed his own political ideas of…

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