What you need to know:
- Brigadier Nyirenda died on December 20, 2008, around 12:45 p.m. It was reported that he had been battling esophageal cancer from February 2008.
The late Mwalimu Julius Nyerere is the founder of the Freedom Torch, which is popularly known as Mwenge wa Uhuru. When he lit this torch, he said the following; "We light the torch and place it on Mount Kilimanjaro to shine even beyond the borders of our country; bring hope where there is no hope; love where there is hatred and respect where there is contempt."
A Tanzania People’s Defence Forces officer, the late Brigadier Alexander Nyirenda, is the one who fulfilled Mwalimu Nyerere's wish of erecting the uhuru torch at the peak of Mt Kilimanjaro. We all know that Kilimanjaro is the highest mountain in Africa.
Emmanuel-Petro Minja is said to have carried the Mwenge all the way to the top of Africa’s highest peak.
Nyirenda He was given the honour of raising the Tanganyika flag on the top of Mount Kilimanjaro on December 9, 1961; at the same time, the flag was being raised at the national stadium in the capital of the new nation of Tanganyika, Dar-es-Salaam.
Nyirenda did the work with great courage, given that at that time, climbing the highest mountain in Africa was more challenging and dangerous because the mountain top had a lot of ice and technology wasn’t as advanced as it is today. Many people feared climbing the mountain, believing that the possibility of returning safely was low.
The expedition to climb Mount Kilimanjaro consisted of 11 people, including photographers and radio presenters. Their journey started in Dar es Salaam, where they spent 16 days to fulfil the huge responsibility.
"At midnight on December 9, we lit the torch for an event that went hand in hand with the raising of the Tanganyika independence flag at the national stadium in Dar es Salaam," said Nyirenda in an interview during his lifetime.
He was promoted to Full Officer in the national defence force and left the army as a Lieutenant-Colonel in August 1964.
It was the retired President, Ali Hassan Mwinyi, who honoured him by promoting him to the rank of Brigadier.
Brigadier Nyirenda died on December 20, 2008, around 12:45 p.m. It was reported that he had been battling esophageal cancer from February 2008.