Tanzania Marks 100 Years Since The Birth of Founding President Nyerere

Tanzania Marks 100 Years Since The Birth of Founding Father Nyerere (News Central TV)

Tanzania is commemorating the birth of its founding father, the late Julius Nyerere, who was born 100 years ago.

His ancestral village of Butiama, where he was laid to rest two decades ago, has hosted events in the last one week.

Some attendees regarded him as a modest man who was constantly wary of corruption.

He is also known for his ability to bring Tanzanians of various class and cultural backgrounds together and for declaring Swahili the official language of the country.

Emmanuel Kiondo, director of the Nyerere Museum in Butiama, said during the commemorations that they were bringing new aspects into the school curriculum so that children could learn more about Nyerere.

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Julius Kambarage Nyerere was a Tanzanian anti-colonial activist, politician, and political theorist. He governed Tanganyika as prime minister from 1961 to 1962 and then as president from 1963 to 1964, after which he led its successor state, Tanzania, as president from 1964 to 1985.

Born in Butiama, Mara, then in the British colony of Tanganyika, Nyerere was the son of a Zanaki chief. After completing his schooling, he studied at Makerere College in Uganda and then Edinburgh University in Scotland. In 1952 he returned to Tanganyika, married, and worked as a school teacher. In 1954, he helped form TANU, through which he campaigned for Tanganyikan independence from the British Empire.

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Influenced by the Indian independence leader Mahatma Gandhi, Nyerere preached non-violent protest to achieve this aim. Elected to the Legislative Council in the 1958–1959 elections, Nyerere then led TANU to victory at the 1960 general election, becoming Prime Minister. 

Negotiations with the British authorities resulted in Tanganyikan independence in 1961. In 1962, Tanganyika became a republic, with Nyerere elected its first president. His administration pursued decolonisation and the “Africanisation” of the civil service while promoting unity between indigenous Africans and the country’s Asian and European minorities. He encouraged the formation of a one-party state and unsuccessfully pursued the Pan-Africanist formation of an East African Federation with Uganda and Kenya. A 1963 mutiny within the army was suppressed with British assistance.

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