The Full Wiki

Julius Nyerere: Wikis


Note: Many of our articles have direct quotes from sources you can cite, within the Wikipedia article! This article doesn't yet, but we're working on it! See more info or our list of citable articles.


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Julius Kambarage Nyerere

In office
October 29, 1964 – November 5, 1985
Preceded by None
Succeeded by Ali Hassan Mwinyi

Born April 13, 1922(1922-04-13)
Butiama, Tanganyika
Died October 14, 1999 (aged 77)
London, United Kingdom
Political party CCM
Spouse(s) Maria Nyerere
Religion Roman Catholicism

Julius Kambarage Nyerere (April 13, 1922 - October 14, 1999) was a Tanzanian politician who served as the first President of Tanzania and previously Tanganyika, from the country's founding in 1961 until his retirement in 1985.

Born in Tanganyika to Nyerere Burito (1860–1942), Chief of the Zanaki,[1] Nyerere is known by the Swahili name Mwalimu or 'teacher', his profession prior to politics.[2] He was also referred to as Baba wa Taifa (Father of the Nation).[3] Nyerere received his higher education at Makerere University in Kampala and the University of Edinburgh. On returning to Tanganyika he worked as a teacher. In 1954 he helped form the Tanganyika African National Union.

In 1961 Nyerere became the first Prime Minister of Tanganyika and following independence in 1962, the country's first President. In 1964, Tanganyika united with Zanzibar and was then renamed as Tanzania. In 1965, a one-party election returned Nyerere to power and two years later he issued the Arusha Declaration, outlining his socialist concept of Ujamaa, which came to dominate his policies.

Nyerere retired in 1985 and was succeeded by Ali Hassan Mwinyi but remained the chairman of the Chama Cha Mapinduzi. He died of leukaemia in London in 1999. In October 2009, Nyerere was named "World Hero of Social Justice" by the United Nations General Assembly.[4]



Kambarage Nyerere was born on April 13, 1922. He began attending Government Primary School in Musoma at the age of 12 where he completed the four year programme in three years and went on to Tabora Government School in 1937. He received a scholarship to attend Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda where he obtained a teaching Diploma. He returned to Tanganyika and worked for 3 years at St. Mary’s Secondary School in Tabora, where he taught Biology and English. In 1949 he got a government scholarship to attend the University of Edinburgh (he was the first Tanganyikan to study at a British university[5][6] and only the second to gain a university degree outside Africa[citation needed]) where he obtained his Masters of Arts degree on Economics and History in 1952. In Edinburgh, partly through his encounter with Fabian thinking, Nyerere began to develop his particular vision of connecting socialism with African communal living.[citation needed]

Political career

On his return to Tanganyika, Nyerere took a position teaching History, English and Kiswahili, at St. Francis' College, near Dar es Salaam. In 1953 he was elected president of Tanganyika African Association (TAA), a civic organisation dominated by civil servants, that he had helped found while a student at Makerere University. In 1954 he transformed TAA into the politically oriented Tanganyika African National Union (TANU). TANU's main objective was to achieve national sovereignty for Tanganyika. A campaign to register new members was launched, and within a year TANU had become the leading political organisation in the country.[7][8]

Nyerere's activities attracted the attention of the Colonial authorities and he was forced to make a choice between his political activities and his teaching. He was reported as saying that he was a schoolmaster by choice and a politician by accident. He resigned from teaching and travelled throughout the country speaking to common people and tribal chiefs, trying to garner support for movement towards independence. He also spoke on behalf of TANU to the Trusteeship Council and Fourth Committee of the United Nations in New York. His oratory skills and integrity helped Nyerere achieve TANU goal for an independent country without war or bloodshed. The cooperative British governor Sir Richard Turnbull was also a factor in the struggle for independence. Nyerere entered the Colonial Legislative council in 1958 and was elected chief minister in 1960. In 1961 Tanganyika was granted self governance and Nyerere became its first Prime Minister on December 9, 1961. A year later Nyerere was elected President of Tanganyika when it became a Republic. Nyerere was instrumental in the union between the islands of Zanzibar and the mainland Tanganyika to form Tanzania, after a coup in Zanzibar on January 12, 1964, toppled Jamshid bin Abdullah, who was the Sultan of Zanzibar. The coup leader, a stonemason from Lira, Uganda, named John Okello, had intended Zanzibar to join Kenya. Nyerere, unnerved by the Tanganyika Army mutiny a few days later, ensured that Okello was barred from returning to Zanzibar after a visit to the mainland.

Positions held
  • 1954 A Founder Member of TANU
  • 1958-1960 Member of the Legislative Assembly in the first elections in which Africans were allowed to vote.
  • 1958 Leader of the Opposition in Parliament.
  • 1960 Chief Minister of the first Internal Self-Government Administration.
  • 1961 Prime Minister of the first Government of Independent Tanganyika
  • 1962 Elected President of Tanganyika when it became a Republic.
  • 1963-1970 Chancellor of the University of East Africa.
  • 1964-1985 President of the United Republic of Tanzania.
  • 1970-1985 Chancellor of University of Dar-es-Salaam.
  • 1977-1990 Chairman of Chama Cha Mapinduzi which was formed by a merger between TANU and the Afro-Shiraz Party of Zanzibar. CCM was born in Zanzibar on February 5, 1977.
  • 1984-1985 Chancellor of Sokoine University of Agriculture.
  • 1985: Retired from Presidency.
  • 1999: Died of leukaemia in London and was buried in Butiama (Musoma) - Tanzania.

Economic policies

Symbolic mixing of Soils from Zanzibar and Tanganyika in 1964

When in power, Nyerere implemented a socialist economic programme (announced in the Arusha Declaration), establishing close ties with China, and also introduced a policy of collectivisation in the country's agricultural system, known as Ujamaa or "familyhood."

Although some of his policies can be characterised as socialist, Nyerere was first and foremost an African, and secondly a socialist. He was what is often called an African socialist. Nyerere had tremendous faith in rural African people and their traditional values and ways of life. He believed that life should be structured around the ujamaa, or extended family found in traditional Africa. He believed that in these traditional villages, the state of ujamaa had existed before the arrival of imperialists.

He believed that Africans were already socialists and that all that they needed to do was return to their traditional mode of life and they would recapture it. This would be a true repudiation of capitalism, since his society would not rely on capitalism to exist. Unfortunately for Nyerere and Tanzania, this ujamaa system caused agricultural output to plummet. The deficit in cereal grains was more than 1 million tons between 1974 and 1977. Only loans and grants from the World Bank and the IMF in 1975 prevented Tanzania from going bankrupt. By 1979, ujamaa villages contained 90% of the rural population but only produced 5% of the national agricultural output.[9] Subsequently, the country fell on hard economic times which was excacerbated by a war against Idi Amin and the six year drought. Tanzania went from the largest exporter of agricultural products in Africa to the largest importer of agricultural products. Nyerere announced that he would retire after presidential elections in 1985, leaving the country to enter its free market era — as imposed by structural adjustment under the IMF and World bank — under the leadership of Ali Hassan Mwinyi.

Nyerere was instrumental in putting both Ali Hassan Mwinyi and Benjamin Mkapa in power. He remained the chairman of Chama Cha Mapinduzi (ruling party) for five years following his presidency until 1990, and is still recognised as the Father of the Nation.

Foreign policy

U.S. President Jimmy Carter, Julius Nyerere, and First Lady Rosalynn Carter, 1977

Nyerere's foreign policy emphasised nonalignment in the Cold War and under his leadership Tanzania enjoyed friendly relations with both the Western world and the Eastern bloc.

West German President Richard von Weizsäcker greets Julius Nyerere, 1985

Nyerere, along with several other Pan-Africanist leaders, founded the Organisation of African Unity in 1963. Nyerere supported several militant groups active in African colonies, including the African National Congress (ANC) and the Pan Africanist Congress (PAC) of South Africa, FRELIMO when it sought to overthrow Portuguese rule in Mozambique, and ZANLA in its war with the Smith government of Rhodesia. From the mid 1970s on, along with President Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia, he was one of the leaders of the Front Line States which campaigned in support of black majority rule in southern Africa. In 1978 he led Tanzania in war with Uganda, defeating and exiling the government of Idi Amin.

Nyerere was instrumental in the coup in Seychelles which brought France-Albert René to power. He was however cricitised for his vindictive actions after unsuccessfully appealing to the Pan Africanist Congress to adopt dialogue and détente with Pretoria instead of armed revolution. He supported a leadership coup that installed David Sibeko but after Sibeko's assassination he crushed PAC resistance at Chunya Camp near Mbeya on March 11, 1980, when Tanzanian troops murdered and split up the PAC army into detention camps. Nyerere then pressured the Zimbabwe government to arrest and deport PAC personnel in May 1981. The PAC never recovered and despite rivaling the ANC from 1959-1981 quickly declined. Its Tanzanian controlled remnant gained only 1.2% in the South African freedom election of 1994.

Outside of Africa Nyerere was an inspiration to Walter Lini, Prime Minister of Vanuatu, whose theories on Melanesian socialism owed much to the ideas he found in Tanzania, which he visited. Lecturers inspired by Nyerere also taught at the University of Papua New Guinea in the 1980s, helping educated Melanesians familiarise themselves with his ideas.

Post-presidential activity

After the Presidency, Nyerere remained the Chairman of CCM until 1990 when Ali Hassan Mwinyi took over. Nyerere remained vocal about the extent of corruption and corrupt officials during the Ali Hassan Mwinyi administration. He also blocked Jakaya Kikwete's nomination for the presidency, citing that he was too young to run a country. Nyerere was instrumental in getting Benjamin Mkapa elected (Mkapa had been Minister of Foreign Affairs for a time during Nyerere's administration).

Nyerere's portrait on the Tanzanian 1000 shilling note

In one of his famous speeches during the CCM general assembly, Nyerere said in Swahili "Ninang'atuka", meaning that he was pulling out of politics for good. He kept to his word that Tanzania would be a democratic country. He moved back to his childhood home village of Butiama in northern Tanzania. During his retirement, he continued to travel the world meeting various heads of government as an advocate for poor countries and especially the South Centre institution. Nyerere travelled more widely after retiring than he did when he was president of Tanzania. One of his last high-profile actions was as the chief mediator in the Burundi conflict in 1996. He died in a London hospital of leukaemia on October 14, 1999.

Positions Held after Presidency: Chairman of Chama Cha Mapinduzi (1985–1990), Chairman of the independent International South Commission (1987–1990), and Chairman of the South Centre in the Geneva & Dar es Salaam Offices (1990–1999).

In January 2005 the Catholic diocese of Musoma opened a cause for the beatification of Julius Nyerere. Nyerere was a devout Catholic who attended Mass daily throughout his public life and was known for fasting frequently.

He has received honorary degrees from the University of Edinburgh (UK), University of Duquesne (USA), University of Cairo (Egypt), University of Nigeria (Nigeria), University of Ibadan (Nigeria), University of Liberia (Liberia), University of Toronto (Canada), Howard University (USA), Jawaharlal Nehru University (India), University of Havana (Cuba), University of Lesotho, University of the Philippines, Fort Hare University (South Africa), Sokoine University of Agriculture (Tanzania), and Lincoln University (PA, USA).

He received the Nehru Award for International Understanding in 1976, the Third World Prize in 1982, the Nansen Medal for outstanding services to Refugees in 1983, the Lenin Peace Prize in 1987, the International Simón Bolívar Prize in 1992, and the Gandhi Peace Prize in 1995. President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda awarded Nyerere the Katonga, Uganda's highest military medal, in honour of his opposition to colonialism and Idi Amin's government in 2007.[10]

Cultural Influences

Nyerere has continued to influence the people of Tanzania in the years following his presidency. His broader ideas of socialism live on in the rap and hip hop artists of Tanzania.[11] Nyerere believed socialism was an attitude of mind that barred discrimination and entailed equality of all human beings.[12] Therefore, ujamaa can be said to have created the social environment for the development of hip hop culture. Like in other countries, hip hop emerged in post-colonial Tanzania when divisions among the population were prominent, whether by class, ethnicity or gender. Rappers’ broadcast messages of freedom, unity, and family, topics that are all reminiscent of the spirit Nyerere put forth in ujamaa.[11] In addition, Nyerere supported the presence of foreign cultures in Tanzania saying, "a nation which refuses to learn from foreign cultures is nothing but a nation of idiots and lunatics...[but] to learn from other cultures does not mean we should abandon our own."[11] Under his leadership, the Ministry of National Culture and Youth was created in order to allow Tanzanian popular culture, in this case hip hop, to develop and flower. As a result of Nyerere’s presence in Tanzania, the genre of hip hop was welcomed from overseas in Tanzania and melded with the spirit of ujamaa.


  • Freedom and Socialism. A Selection from Writings & Speeches, 1965-1967 (1968)[13]
    • Includes "The Arusha Declaration"; "Education for self-reliance"; "The varied paths to socialism"; "The purpose is man"; and "Socialism and development."
  • Freedom & Development, Uhuru Na Maendeleo (1974)
    • Includes essays on adult education; freedom and development; relevance; and ten years after independence.
  • Ujamaa — Essays on Socialism' (1977)
  • Crusade for Liberation (1979)
  • Julius Kaisari (a Swahili translation of William Shakespeare's play Julius Caesar)
  • Mabepari wa Venisi (a Swahili translation of William Shakespeare's play - The Merchant of Venice)

See also


  1. ^ The Crisis (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People): 35, 1996 
  2. ^ Blumberg, Arnold. Great Leaders, Great Tyrants?: Contemporary Views of World Rulers Who Made History, 1995. Page 221.
  3. ^ Hopkins, Raymond F. Political Roles In A New State: Tanzania's First Decade, 1971. Page 204.
  4. ^ Morales Named "World Hero of Mother Earth" by UN General Assembly by the Latin American Herald Tribune
  5. ^ Mwakikagile, Godfrey (2006). Nyerere and Africa: End of an Era. Godfrey Mwakikagile. pp. 575. ISBN 0980253411. 
  6. ^ Cross, Colin (1969). The fall of the British Empire, 1918-1968. Coward-McCann. pp. 306. 
  7. ^ Happy Birthday Mwalimu, Daily News (Dar es Salaam), April 13, 2007
  8. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica's Guide to Black History: Julius Nyerere
  9. ^ Meredith, Martin (2005). The Fate of Africa: A History of Fifty Years of Independence. PublicAffairs. ISBN 1-58648-246-7.
  10. ^ Museveni honours Nyerere
  11. ^ a b c Lemelle, Sidney J. (2006). "'Ni wapi Tunakwenda': Hip Hop Culture and the Children of Arusha". in Dipannita, Basu; Sidney J., Lemelle. The vinyl ain't final: hip hop and the globalization of black popular culture. Pluto Press. pp. 230–254. ISBN 0745319408. 
  12. ^ Keregero, Keregero. “Mwalimu Julius Nyerere on Socialism.” IPP Media. October 14, 2005. <>.
  13. ^ Africa in the Cold War: A preliminary bibliography Boston University

External links

Preceded by
Prime Minister of Tanzania
Succeeded by
Rashidi Kawawa
Preceded by
President of Tanzania
Succeeded by
Ali Hassan Mwinyi


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Julius Kambarage Nyerere (April 13, 1922October 14, 1999) served as the first President of Tanzania and previously Tanganyika, from the country's founding in 1964 until his retirement in 1985.


  • Freedom to many means immediate betterment, as if by magic ... Unless I can meet at least some of these aspirations, my support will wane and my head will roll just as surely as the tickbird follows the rhino.
  • Those who receive this privilege therefore, have a duty to repay the sacrifice which others have made. They are like the man who has been given all the food available in a starving village in order that he might have strength to bring supplies back from a distant place. If he takes this food and does not bring help to his brothers, he is a traitor. Similarly, if any of the young men and women who are given an education by the people of this republic adopt attitudes of superiority, or fail to use their knowledge to help the development of this country, then they are betraying our union.
    • On higher education, 1960s. UDSM Alumni Newletter, volume 7. No. 2, November 2007, ISSN 0856 - 8805
  • Democracy is not a bottle of Coca-Cola which you can import. Democracy should develop according to that particular country. I never went to a country, saw many parties and assumed that it is democratic. You cannot define democracy purely in terms of multi-partist parties.
  • I have read and re-read the Arusha Declaration and found nothing wrong with it except perhaps replacing a few commas here and there... it was clear for some of us that it would only be a mad man who would stand up and defend the Arusha Declaration.

About him

External links

Wikipedia has an article about:

Simple English

File:Julius Nyerere
Nyerere in 1977

Julius Kambarage Nyerere (April 13 1922 - October 14 1999), also known as Mwalimu (teacher), was President of Tanzania from 1964 to 1985, though he was still influential in politics until his death in 1999 because of his popularity. He is remembered as an unusually honest leader, especially for Africa, and for helping refugees. When his attempt at using his socialist ideas of Ujamaa failed , he said, "I failed. Let's admit it." He was also responsible for the overthrow of the murderous Idi Amin regime in Uganda.


Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address