Julius Kambarage Nyerere (13 April 1922 – 14 October 1999) was a Tanzanian anti-colonial activist, politician and political theorist.
He was the “founding father” of Tanganyika and later on Tanzania.
Governing 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.
Ideologically, Nyerere was an African nationalist and African socialist. His own brand of socialism is known as Ujamaa a Swahili term for family hood and brotherhood.
Ujamaa become the official policy of Tanzania in 1967 following the Arusha Declaration.
As a political concept it asserts that a person becomes a person through the people or community
Nyerere believed that Ujamaa differed from other strands of socialism in that the foundation of the philosophy was to be found in African culture and traditions. Ujamaa was opposed to capitalism and scientific socialism or Marxism which legitimizes class conflicts.
Nyerere felt that the practices of Ujamaa was to
First, love – where an African doesn’t regard his brethren as another enemy. An African regards all men as his brethren as members of his extended family.
Second, Nyerere argued that there existed a classless society in Africa. Classes were only brought as a result of the agrarian and industrial revolution. These events produced conditions that brought about a class system. Since these revolutions did not occur in Africa, therefore no classes existed in Africa.
Third, Nyerere believed that in traditional Africa everyone was a worker. Everyone contributed his or her fair share of efforts towards the production of societal wealth. There was no place for laxity or laziness.
Finally, Nyerere maintained that wealth was shared in traditional Africa. No one could hide wealth or amass it for personal selfish reasons. The riches or the poverty of an individual or family were the wealth or poverty of the whole community at large
The concept focused too on collective agriculture as performed under a process called “villagization,” this was meant to overcame the problems of ‘tribalization’—the sectarian plague which beset other newly independent African countries.
Julius Nyerere’s leadership of Tanzania commanded international attention and attracted worldwide respect for his consistent emphasis upon ethical principles as the basis of practical policies. Initially, Tanzania under Nyerere was making great strides in important areas of social development, but it wouldn’t last.
Eventually, a number of things would contribute to the downfall of the development model based on the Ujamaa concept.
Among those factors were that productivity was supposed to have increased through collectivization, instead, it fell to less than 50 percent of what was achieved on independent farms.
Other factors included the oil crisis of the 1970s, the collapse of export commodity prices especially sisal and coffee, a lack of foreign direct investment, two successive droughts, and the onset of the war with Uganda in 1978, which bled the young Tanzanian nation of valuable resources. Tanzania would become one of Africa’s poorest countries and would be dependent on international aid.
By 1985 it was clear that Ujamaa had failed to lift Tanzania out of its poor economic state.
Nyerere announced that he would retire voluntarily.
Despite the failure of the practicality of the policy the impact it had on shaping the mindset of the nation is still evident today with aspects of its principals being spread via music and other aspects of popular culture.
1965: Dr Francis Ibiam, Governor of Eastern Nigeria, President Nnamdi Azikiwe, Julius Nyerere, President of Tanzania and Dr Michael Okpara Eastern Nigerias Premier at Enugu Airport.
A young T.Y Danjuma stands behind the group…. does he appear star struck ? Lol
The Olowo of Owo, Oba Olagbegi II helps Julius Nyerere with his cap which was given as a gift on his visit to Ibadan as the Governor of Western Nigeria, Chief Odeleye Fadahunsi looks on
1965: Mr Dan Ibekwe minister of External Affairs, Prime Minkster Tafawa-Balewa and Dr Julius Nyerere at an event in Lagos.
Kashim Ibrahim, Governor of Northern Nigeria bids farewell to Julius Nyerere, President of Tanzania whilst The Premier of the North, Sir Ahmadu Bello looks on.
Julius Nyerere receives a gift from Chief S.L. Akintola, Premier of Western Nigeria
1976: President Julius Nyerere and Obasanjo, Nigeria’s Head Of State.
1980: President Shehu Shagari gives the President of Tanzania Julius Nyerere a warm embrace at Murtala Muhammed airport.